NYC Expands Pilot Pedestrian “Countdown Signals” Program to Try to Reduce Auto Accidents

The New York City Department of Transportation has announced an expansion of the pilot program which analyzes the impacts on motorist and pedestrian behavior of “countdown signals,” which display the number of seconds pedestrians have to cross the street before the opposing vehicle traffic is given the right of way.

The expanded study will be conducted along busy corridors in all five boroughs. If successful in reducing injuries from motor vehicle accidents, the pilot program will no doubt be expanded. There are currently about 90,000 pedestrian signals citywide. This study will convert about 164 of these signals, at 24 intersections, to those that include the countdown timer.

During this evaluation period the City’s consultant will use visual and video-tape analysis to better understand if the countdown feature encourages safer behavior by both pedestrians and motorists. They will also collect data on vehicular speeds, compliance, accidents and motorist reaction.

Pedestrian countdown signals are currently used in other cities, including San Francisco, Boston, Las Vegas, Washington DC, Detroit, Albany, Baltimore and Toronto. The pedestrian countdown signals are the same size as the existing pedestrian signal head, but feature a dual display (the traditional “Walking Man” and “Hand” display, and a pedestrian interval countdown display). The countdown feature is programmed to start at the beginning of the “flashing hand” cycle and end when the flashing hand becomes steady.

The expanded study will take place along the following corridors:

– In Staten Island along Hylan Boulevard from Tysens Lane to New Dorp Lane
– In Queens along Steinway Street from 30th to 34th Avenues
– In Manhattan along East 14th Street from 3rd to 5th Avenues
– In the Bronx along East Gun Hill Road from Dekalb Avenue to Kings College Place
– In Brooklyn along 86th Street from 3rd to 5th Avenues.

Last fall a study was initiated in New York at 5 intersections, one in each borough. While the signals did not cause additional accidents, the evidence was not conclusive that they led to safer behavior. The expanded and more comprehensive study should be complete by next fall. A cost estimate is not yet available.

The lawyers at Levine & Slavit have decades of experience handling personal injury claims including those involving auto accidents. For 50 years spanning 3 generations, we have obtained results for satisfied clients.

We have offices in Manhattan and Long Island, handling cases in New York City, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and surrounding areas. If you or someone close to you has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact the personal injury lawyers at Levine & Slavit for their help. To learn more, watch our videos.

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