Crossings can be upgraded to increase their safety. Upgrading a crossing may be significantly cheaper than installing an entirely different type of crossing. Adding a vertical traffic calming feature to a crossing is likely to improve safety for example.
Zebra crossing upgrades
Zebra crossing beacons (or, 'Belisha Beacons') can be upgraded using flashing LED lights to increase their visibility to drivers. The LED lights automatically become darker at night, so that vehicle drivers are not dazzled, and people in any nearby houses are not disturbed.
In direct sunlight, the flashing effect of traditional style beacons can be very difficult to see, however the flashing LED lights should be clearly visible at all times.
In some locations, local people complain that drivers do not give way to pedestrians waiting at zebra crossings. Increasing the visibility of zebra beacons will help drivers to see the crossing, which may mean they are more likely to give way to pedestrians waiting to cross the road.
It is important to note that this upgrade may only be useful for drivers who did not recognise the crossing because:
- it wasn't obvious enough amongst other lamp posts or signs in the street
- they were not paying proper attention to the road – more obvious beacons may attract their attention
Other drivers might see a pedestrian waiting at a crossing, and deliberately fail to stop. A zebra crossing with a raised top (like a speed table) may be more effective at getting drivers to give way to pedestrians.
Advantages of zebra crossing upgrades
- Increases visibility of the crossing beacon to vehicle drivers
- Probably the cheapest way to increase the safety of a crossing, compared to other options
- Requires very little maintenance
Disadvantages of zebra crossing upgrades
- Not a traditional style Balisha beacon, which is very familiar to road users
- Upgrade is subject to the approval of Cambridgeshire County Council
Cost of installation
Equipment = £3,000 - £5,000
Works = £1,500 - £2,500
Ongoing maintenance costs = £1,000 - £1,500
Total costs = £5,500 - £9,000
Raised crossings can increase safety for pedestrians because most drivers feel they have to slow down for these type of features.
Raised crossings have a flat top which is usually level with the footway, and tactile paving is used at each end of the crossing. If a zebra crossing is raised, the white stripes are painted across the flat top. There is a ramp leading up and down each side of the crossing for motor vehicles.
Raised crossings combine traffic calming treatments with pedestrian crossings. This encourages drivers to travel at their slowest at the same point where pedestrians are crossing. It is one of the best ways to maximise crossing safety for pedestrians.
Raised crossings are very similar to speed tables. Speed tables are more effective than road narrowing at slowing motor vehicle traffic. Speed tables are, in fact, the most effective way to slow down motor vehicle traffic.
Advantages of raised crossings
- Encourages drivers to reduce speed at the same point where pedestrians are crossing the road
- Safer and easier for pedestrians with mobility issues
- Highlights the location of the crossing point
Disadvantages of raised crossings
- Raised crossings can cause discomfort for bus passengers
- Managing water drainage could be complex and costly
- Emergency vehicles will need to reduce their speed for a raised crossing
- Can encourage drivers to change route to avoid traffic calming, possibly ‘rat running’ through residential streets
- May be unacceptable on a busy bus route
- Highways Engineers must check if other roads in the area are suitable to carry extra traffic
- Requires Traffic Regulation Order and a Road Safety Audit
- A six metre raised table is required for roads that are bus routes or known HGV routes (due to the length of the vehicles). This will be more expensive to install.
Cost of installation
Equipment = £4,000 - £8,000
Works = £2,500 - £3,500
Traffic Regulation Order = £1,000
Road Safety Audit = £1,500
Total cost = £9,000 - £14,000
Please note that the costs above are to supply and install a raised crossing table including associated signing and lining. Costs vary depending on the location and condition of the existing road surface. Costs assume that a zebra crossing is already in place.