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A pelican crossing (previously pelicon crossing, which stood for "pedestrian light controlled crossing") is the UK and Irish name for a type of pedestrian crossing, which features a pair of poles each with a standard set of traffic lights facing oncoming traffic, a push button and two illuminated, coloured pictograms facing the pedestrian from across the road. These are a red, stationary person to indicate that it is not safe to cross, and a green, walking person to indicate that it is safe to do so. Pelican crossings also provide non-visual indication that it is safe to cross, such as a beep, vibrating button or tactile rotating cone in order to assist visually impaired pedestrians.
Apart from the United Kingdom, this term for a zebra crossing with traffic lights is also used in Australia.[ citation needed ]
Pelican crossings are ubiquitous in many countries, but usage of the phrase "pelican crossing" is confined mainly to the UK, where they were invented, and to Ireland. A comparable system called the HAWK beacon is used in the United States.
The name is derived from PELICON, a portmanteau of pedestrian light controlled. The term pelican crossing originated in the United Kingdom, Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories, but similar traffic control devices are in use throughout the world. The term is also used in the Republic of Ireland.
The pelican crossing was a relatively minor development of the "x–way" crossing. This earlier crossing was largely identical to the pelican crossing, but instead of a green light for motorists, featured a white diagonal cross. The intention of this was to distinguish the crossing lights from any nearby junction (standard) traffic lights. The white cross was widely criticised and users and motoring organisations alike called for the white cross to be replaced by a green light. With some changes to the light timings and road markings, the "x–way" crossing became the pelican crossing.
In the United Kingdom, the pelican crossing was the first definitive light-controlled crossing for pedestrians, introduced in 1969. This was after the earlier failed experiment of the panda crossing. Previously only zebra crossings had been used, which have warning signals (Belisha beacons), but no control signals. The pedestrian lights are situated on the far side of the road to the pedestrian. A puffin crossing has the lights on the same side as the pedestrian; a toucan crossing is a crossing for pedestrians and bicycles; a pegasus crossing allows horse riders to cross as well.
Additionally, a pelican crossing, as distinct from a puffin crossing, has the special feature that while the green man flashes to indicate that pedestrians may continue crossing but may not start to cross, the red light changes to an amber flashing light permitting cars to pass if there are no further pedestrians. This reduces the delay to traffic.
Under UK law,pelican crossings that go straight across the road are defined as a single crossing, even when there is a central island. Therefore, traffic in both directions must wait until pedestrians have finished crossing and the signal is green or flashing amber. This rule is different from similar standard pedestrian crossings where each portion of the crossing is treated as a separate crossing. However, at installations where the crossings that cross each carriageway are separate crossings, the crossing is staggered.
In 1974, cast from Dad's Army performed a public information film to explain the pelican crossing, and how it works.In 1976, Paul Greenwood sung "The Pelican Crossing Song", again explaining how a pelican crossing works. In 2000, Shooglenifty incorporated samples of a pelican crossing into their album Solar Shears .
Statutory authority for pelican crossings was removed in the 2016 update of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions. After 22 October 2016, no new pelican crossings can be installed on public highways in the UK, except work in progress where there was a six-month saving. Puffin crossings are to be installed instead.
Traffic on roads consists of road users including pedestrians, ridden or herded animals, vehicles, streetcars, buses and other conveyances, either singly or together, while using the public way for purposes of travel.
An intersection is an at-grade junction where two or more roads or streets meet or cross. Intersections may be classified by number of road segments, traffic controls or lane design. In general, there are two types of intersections including signalized and unsignalized intersections.
A zebra crossing is a type of pedestrian crossing used in many places around the world. Its distinguishing feature is that it gives priority to pedestrians; once someone has indicated their intent to cross by stepping onto the crossing, motorists are obliged to stop. These were introduced to the UK in the 1930s as a road safety measure and were marked by a pair of striped poles, each supporting a flashing orange light, known as Belisha Beacons. In the 1940s road markings were added to the crossing design: These were alternating dark and light stripes on the road surface. These stripes, resembling the coat of a zebra, give rise to the common name.
A pedestrian crossing or crosswalk is a place designated for pedestrians to cross a road, street or avenue. The term "pedestrian crossing" is also used in some international treaties that pertain to road traffic and road signs, such as the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic and the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals.
A Belisha beacon is an amber-coloured globe lamp atop a tall black and white pole, marking pedestrian crossings of roads in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and in other countries historically influenced by Britain such as Hong Kong, Malta, and Singapore. The beacons were named after Leslie Hore-Belisha (1893–1957), the Minister of Transport who, in 1934, added beacons to pedestrian crossings, marked by large metal studs in the road surface. These crossings were later painted in black and white stripes, thus are known as zebra crossings. Legally, pedestrians have priority on such crossings. In December 1941 a study was made into the cost effectiveness of melting down the 64000 Belisha beacon posts, to make munitions: a plan which threatened to “deprive the right hon. Member for Devonport of his last hope of immortality?”
A toucan crossing is the British term for a type of pedestrian crossing that also allows bicycles to be ridden across. Since two can, both pedestrians and cyclists, cross together, the name “toucan” was chosen. In the United Kingdom, toucan crossings are normally four metres (13 feet) wide, instead of the 2.8 metre (9 feet) width of any pelican crossing or puffin crossing.
Traffic lights, traffic signals, stoplights or robots are signalling devices positioned at road intersections, pedestrian crossings, and other locations to control flows of traffic.
A level crossing is an intersection where a railway line crosses a road or path, or in rare situations an airport runway, at the same level, as opposed to the railway line crossing over or under using an overpass or tunnel. The term also applies when a light rail line with separate right-of-way or reserved track crosses a road in the same fashion. Other names include railway level crossing, grade crossing,road through railroad, criss-cross, railroad crossing, train crossing, and RXR (abbreviated).
A puffin crossing is a type of pedestrian crossing in use in the United Kingdom.
A pegasus crossing is a type of signalised pedestrian crossing, with special consideration for horse riders. This type of crossing is named after the mythical winged horse, Pegasus. They are primarily used in the United Kingdom and Peru.
A warning sign is a type of sign which indicates a potential hazard, obstacle, or condition requiring special attention. Some are traffic signs that indicate hazards on roads that may not be readily apparent to a driver.
Jaywalking occurs when a pedestrian walks in or crosses a roadway that has traffic, other than at a suitable crossing point, or otherwise in disregard of traffic rules. The term originated with jay-drivers, people who drove horse-drawn carriages and automobiles on the wrong side of the road, before taking its current meaning.
The panda crossing was a type of signal-controlled pedestrian crossing used in the United Kingdom from 1962 to 1967.
Road signs in Sweden are regulated in Vägmärkesförordningen, VMF (2007:90), and are to be placed 2 metres from the road with the sign 1.6 m from the base for motorized roads. Except for route numbers, there are a maximum of three signs on a pole, with the most important sign at the top. All signs have a reflective layer added on selected parts of the sign as is custom in European countries; most larger signs also have their own illumination.
Road signs in Singapore closely follow those laid down in the traffic sign regulations used in the United Kingdom, although a number of changes over the years have introduced some slight deviations that suit local road conditions. Road signs in Singapore conform to the local Highway Code under the authority of the Singapore Traffic Police.
The use of traffic lights to control the movement of traffic differs regionally and internationally in certain respects. This article describes some of these non-universal features. Note that the color phase commonly known as "yellow" is often referred to, especially in official usage, as "amber"; for consistency this article uses "yellow" throughout.
Driving in the United Kingdom is governed by various legal powers and in some cases is subject to the passing of a driving test. The government produces a Highway Code that details the requirements for all road users, including drivers. Unlike most other countries in the world, UK traffic drives on the left.
An all-way stop – also known as a four-way stop – is a traffic management system which requires vehicles on all the approaches to a road intersection to stop at the intersection before proceeding through it. Designed for use at low traffic-volume locations, the arrangement is common in the United States, Canada, South Africa, Liberia, and Mexico, as well as in a number of, usually rural, locations in Australia where visibility on the junction approaches is particularly poor. The stop signs at such intersections may be supplemented with additional plates stating the number of approaches.
A HAWK beacon is a traffic control device used to stop road traffic and allow pedestrians to cross safely. It is officially known as a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (PHB). The purpose of a HAWK beacon is to allow protected pedestrian crossings, stopping road traffic only as needed. Where standard traffic signal 'warrants' prevent the installation of standard three-color traffic signals, the HAWK beacon provides an alternative.
The normal function of traffic lights requires more than slight control and coordination to ensure that traffic and pedestrians move as smoothly, and safely as possible. A variety of different control systems are used to accomplish this, ranging from simple clockwork mechanisms to sophisticated computerized control and coordination systems that self-adjust to minimize delay to people using the junction.