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Town's streetlight timing change eliminates pedestrian accidents

When the topic of pedestrian accidents comes up, many people consider some of the same possibilities. First, drivers should pay more attention to pedestrians when they approach intersections. Second, pedestrians should look up from their cellphones when they approach an intersection, and they shouldn't jaywalk. And third, crosswalks should be clearly defined and, possibly, made bigger so that everyone can travel safely.

It is rare that you hear an idea that breaks outside of the box. But today, there is an interesting news story about a change to traffic flow in a small town that has completely eliminated pedestrian accidents at a once-troublesome intersection.

The town is located in New Jersey, and before their new approach to traffic at the intersection, they saw seven accidents at the intersection in a two-year period. That's a fairly large number for a smaller town. But in the year since the change, they have had zero pedestrian accidents.

So what changed? The town experimented with a new approach to their traffic light cycles. Now every other light cycle, all directions at the intersection see red for 26 seconds. This gives pedestrians in all directions the chance to walk across the street without fear of cars going through the intersection.

It will be interesting to see if this tactic catches on in bigger cities and areas, where traffic flow is a greater concern than in a smaller town. However, the result are undeniable: a simple change to traffic lights eradicated pedestrian accidents.

Source: USA Today, "Town reduces pedestrian-vehicle accidents at dangerous crosswalk to zero using this one simple move," Michael W. Curley Jr., July 14, 2017

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