Longer red lights in Kaohsiung helping seniors cross streets

Reacting to population ageing, Kaohsiung City adjusts traffic lights longer at over 180 intersections to allow its seniors more time to cross streets. (Photo courtesy of CNA, 2018.3.26)

Kaohsiung, March 25 (CNA) Kaohsiung’s traffic lights are staying red longer at over 180 intersections to allow its aging population more time to cross city streets, a Kaohsiung Bureau of Transportation (BOT) official said Sunday.

BOT Intelligent Transportation Center head Wang Chih-kang (王志綱) told CNA that in the past, the time allotted for pedestrians to cross a street was calculated at a speed of one meter per second but the formula has now been adjusted to 80 centimeters per second.

The initiative, which began at the end of last year and has been carried out at 188 intersections, gives people 50 seconds to get across a 40-meter road crossing, compared to 40 seconds in the past, Wang said.

He said the number of seconds it takes to cross streets is regularly reviewed and extended due to the needs of the growing elderly population, and this latest move should provide seniors with a more friendly environment for getting around the city on foot.

Plans have also been implemented to adopt diagonal crossings at intersections with larger numbers of pedestrians and vehicles where vehicular traffic in all directions is stopped at red lights, allowing people to cross in every direction, even diagonally, at the same time, Wang said.

Eight such diagonal crossings have been set up, mainly in commercial areas like the Shinkuchan Commercial District and near public transport stations such as the city’s High Speed Rail and Taiwan Railways Administration stations, Wang said, noting that more such crossings are planned for intersections near schools to convenience students and parents.

According to Kaohsiung’s Statistical Information Network website, the number of people 65 years and over in the city has risen from 263,302 in 2007 to 373,604 in 2016.

(By Wang Shu-fen and William Yen)