As more cities embrace countdown signals at intersections, Toronto study casts doubt on their safety

National Post | News

They are the latest in crosswalk safety and have been installed across Canada and the U.S. at a cost of thousands of dollars each.

Walk-5

But the pedestrian-countdown signals in this country’s biggest city seem to have actually increased crashes between people and cars, a detailed new study suggests.

After a second analysis of data that they had studied and reported on earlier, researchers at the Hospital for Sick Children concluded that the signals at almost 2,000 Toronto intersections were linked to a 26% increase in the rate of collisions.

The rate of serious or fatal pedestrian-automobile crashes jumped even more — by 50%, they reported in the journal Injury Prevention.

The authors theorize that the descending numerals at intersections — rather than injecting added caution — may be encouraging some drivers and pedestrians to hurry through too late.

“It doesn’t look like a magic bullet thing for injury reduction,”…

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