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New signals give pedestrians a head start at crosswalks

Tuesday, January 7, 2020 by Tai Moses

With the installation of new signals called “leading pedestrian intervals,” the Austin Transportation Department hopes to move closer to the city’s goal of reducing traffic deaths to zero. The new signals display the walk symbol for five to seven seconds for people crossing the street at a crosswalk before motorists get the green light, giving pedestrians a head start. This makes pedestrians more visible to motorists, encouraging drivers to yield the right of way. Austin Transportation Department Director Robert Spillar said, “LPIs provide enhanced safety for our most vulnerable neighbors who may be slower in crossing an intersection.” Other cities that have implemented LPIs, such as New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, have witnessed a reduction in collisions involving motorists and pedestrians. The Transportation Department has doubled the number of LPIs downtown. “Downtown makes up less than one percent of Austin’s road network, but more than 10 percent of crashes affecting pedestrians occur in this part of our city,” said Arterial Management Division Manager Jen Duthie. “We strongly believe more LPIs on the highest-risk traffic corridors will increase safety for everyone.”

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