Transport Department explores expanding pedestrian countdown timers after successful trial

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Picture for illustration purpose only.

10th July 2024 – (Hong Kong) The Transport Department is considering the broader implementation of pedestrian countdown timers at crossing lights following a promising HK$1.14 million trial. The initiative, aimed at enhancing pedestrian safety, showed encouraging results in reducing risky crossings, according to Lam Sai-hung, the Secretary for Transport and Logistics.

In a recent evaluation presented to the Legislative Council, Lam detailed that the installation of these timers at a crossing in Tung Chung significantly improved how pedestrians adhered to crossing signals. Unlike previous tests conducted in 2006 and 2018, the latest trial featured timers that began counting down as soon as the green signal appeared, rather than when it began to flash. This adjustment led to a higher number of pedestrians completing their crossing before the signal changed to red.

The trial, which has been running since December last year at the intersection of Tat Tung Road and Mei Tung Street, will undergo further analysis by university experts. The findings will determine the effectiveness and potential for future expansions to other parts of the city.

The government has invested approximately HK$573,000 in the development, design, and installation of the timer system, with an additional HK$571,000 allocated for comprehensive analysis by academic partners.

While the pedestrian timer initiative has shown potential, Lam expressed reservations about introducing similar countdown systems for vehicular traffic lights. He cited potential safety risks, such as drivers speeding up to beat the red light, which could counteract the benefits.