There’s a method to the madness of the United Kingdom’s complex hierarchy of pedestrian crossings. Can Taiwan learn from it?
The News Lens
By: Songshan Charles
This is Part 1 of a two-part series. Read Part 2 here.
Here are three related news stories, listed in order of occurrence:
- August 2014: Taipei City introduces new road markings for pedestrian crossings
- July 2016: American professor fatally injured by a bus on a crossing in Taiwan
- April 2017: First crossing to have road markings reminding pedestrians to look both ways reduces accident rates in Northern Taiwan
In the first story, Taiwan’s Department of Transportation (DOT) tested new zig-zag road markings for crossings, intended to be more visible to drivers and cause them to reduce their speeds. In the second, American neuroscience professor Bruce Bridgeman was killed after being struck by a bus in a dedicated bus lane on Ren’ai Road in front of the Howard Hotel.
Ren’ai Road has one-way traffic, except for the central divided highway contraflow for buses; the bus which struck Bridgeman was traveling in the contraflow opposite automobile traffic. The third story was likely a response to the accident that killed Bridgeman, testing whether reminding pedestrians to look both ways for oncoming traffic at crossings would improve safety.
Both zig-zag road markings and Look Left/Right signs are borrowed from the United Kingdom’s Highway Code. These traffic measures are common place in both the UK, Hong Kong, and many commonwealth countries, but do they keep pedestrians safe?