Safe driving and walking behavior guided by good road design

“Education” is often over rated for it’s usefulness to inculcate safe driving behaviour. The facts is everyone responses to environment more profoundly than what they are aware of. Drivers and pedestrians in the following video did not received any special education or training on how to use the road crossing device, but they all behave naturally in a safe manner, contrary to many believe that Singapore drivers are dangerous, or pedestrians are careless.

Here are two very short video showing how good road design makes drivers and pedestrians to behave safe naturally. This is a very good example seen in different part of Singapore. The video is taken in front of the National Library along Geylang East Avenue 1.

With pedestrians: This video shows how car drivers slows down, and than stop, to give ways to pedestrian who is about to cross the road. Pedestrian checked the car, confirmed it stopped, before crossing the road.

Without pedestrian: The second video shows how cars go through the crossing, without needing to slow down significantly.

Compared to more expensive signal light crossing, this “hump platform crossing” design is more effective for safety and more efficient for through put speed, for both cars and pedestrians. How does it work? Why does it work?

Driver’s perspective:
On approaching the raised hump, the driver naturally slow down (foot on the brake) to slow down in order to avoid unpleasant “bump”. While slowing down, the driver gain more time to observe the surrounding, checking if there is pedestrian about to cross the road. This simple gesture prepare the driver to slow down further, stop, when it is needed. Compared this to a signal crossing, some drivers has a tendency to speed up in order to “beat the light”.

Pedestrian’s perspective:
On approaching the crossing, pedestrian has an unblocked open view to monitor cars approaching the crossing. As cars slows down, it give them more confident to start crossing the road. As pedestrian body’s language shows he/she is about to step on the crossing, the driver further slows down and stopped the car. Now the pedestrian feels very safe to cross the road since the car has completely stopped.
In the case of signalled crossing, the pedestrian has to press a button, wait for the signal to change, and than make sure the car is not moving before crossing. There is a lot of time wasted to trigger and wait for the signal to change, and even when the signal is in pedestrian’s favour, it is still not totally safe for the pedestrian to cross, because some drivers may want to beat to light and rush through the crossing quickly.

The beauty of this “raised hump crossing” design is that it doesn’t slow down cars very much when there is no need, but it create enough attention for the drivers to check the pedestrians, and naturally stop (since they are yielding anyway) when it is needed. As a crossing device it is safer and more time efficient for both drivers and pedestrians. This is much better and more elegant solution than signalled crossing.

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Note: issue of dangerous traffic junction design was feedback to LTA in a feedback meeting in 2012, 2nd of July with a team lead by Mr. Teo Kwang Liak. The feedback was documented in an online google doc (click here to view). We are still waiting for a response from LTA regarding any improvement possibility.

Related articles:
Unsafe driving behaviour due to bad junction design

2 thoughts on “Safe driving and walking behavior guided by good road design

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