Assembly tells TfL – six seconds is not long enough

15 January 2014

The London Assembly today passed a motion[[1]] calling on the Mayor and Transport for London (TfL) to increase the crossing time at major pedestrian junctions in the capital. The decision is based on recent evidence from University College London, which revealed that the 1.2 metres per second assumed by TfL, when setting timings on pedestrian crossings, is too fast for many people over 65.

Darren Johnson AM, who proposed the motion, said: “London has a very vocal cycling lobby but a less vocal pedestrian lobby. It’s time we spoke up as loudly for pedestrian safety, as we do for cycle safety here in the capital. TfL’s re-phasing of pedestrian lights appears to be based on the pace of a sprint, rather than a casual stroll.”

Valerie Shawcross AM, who seconded the motion, said: “We do have a growing problem with pedestrian safety in London. The impression we get is that TfL are in denial about pedestrian safety. It’s time they woke up to the worrying trend of increased pedestrian casualties on London roads. The statutory minimum crossing time is quite often not long enough to encourage people to walk in the capital.”

The full text of the motion agreed at today’s meeting reads as follows:

"This Assembly notes recent evidence from University College London, which revealed that 76% of men and 85% of women over the age of 65 have a walking speed which is slower than the 1.2 metres per second assumed by Transport for London when setting the timings on pedestrian crossings. On an average road width, applying a slower walking speed of 0.8 metres per second would increase the pedestrian crossing time by around three seconds, enabling older Londoners to safely cross the road.

This Assembly therefore calls on the Mayor of London, as Chair of Transport for London, and Transport for London to:

· amend guidance for pedestrian crossing timings to assume a walking speed of 0.8 metres per second,

· immediately start trialling extended crossing times at specific times of the day at TfL controlled crossings, and

· bring forward plans to ensure all TfL controlled crossings at least meet the DfT minimum standard relating to blind and partially sighted people, so that they are able to safely cross TfL roads.

Notes to editors:

1. The motion was passed 13 votes cast in favour of the motion and 7 against at a meeting of the full Assembly today. Watch the webcast.

2. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.