Pedestrian crosswalk counter lights are at times overly optimistic for even the most agile pedestrians, but for many senior citizens and people with disabilities, those counters provide a laughable amount of time to safely cross busy intersections. Instead of leaving elders and people with disabilities stuck mid-way through busy intersections as the counter reaches zero, Singapore’s city planners developed Green Man Plus – a system to give certain pedestrians more time to cross.

Photo by Shutterstock

Photo by Shutterstock

The Green Man Plus system lets qualified individuals use a specially activated card to request additional time at pedestrian crossings. The card holder taps a card–one that generally also holds transit funds–on a special sensor on a light pole, located above the normal button to request a cross signal.

The timing system recognizes the request and adds about 6 seconds to the crosswalk counter. The card reader alerts the card user that the next cycle will have additional green man time with a lit LED indicator and by emitting a sound and a vibration. The range of extra time is between 3 and 13 seconds, depending on the intersection.

Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) first launched the program with a pilot of five intersections in 2009.Since then the government has added several hundred new green man plus crossings, targeting them near housing complexes with many elderly or people with disabilities.

Demand from residents is one factor in choosing new locations, but LTA also needs to consider the effect on other road users–vehicular traffic. The agency evaluates intersections for Green Man Plus, choosing those where “the impact on traffic is manageable,” Sarah Lua, a spokeswoman for the LTA, told Quartz.

By the end of 2015 the goal is to have the Green Man Plus feature at 495 pedestrian crossings in 30 housing estates.

“We have received positive feedback and suggestions since the implementation of the Green Man+ scheme. We will expand this scheme to more locations. When the second phase is completed in 2015, more elderly and pedestrians with disabilities will benefit from  a comprehensive coverage of Green Man +,” said Dr Chin Kian Keong, LTA’s Group Director for Road Operations and Community Partnership and Group Director, Transportation and Ticketing Technology, in a press release announcing the expansion.

August 18, 2014
By: Shaun Courtney