Liverpool to pilot new ‘life saving’ pedestrian crossings

Liverpool to pilot new ‘life saving’ pedestrian crossings

Liverpool City Council is set to trial a new style of potentially life-saving pedestrian crossings.

A report to Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet, recommending the trials, has been approved and will see innovative pedestrian crossings installed at two collision hot-spots – Hanover Street/ Bold Street in the city centre and another, on a busy high street located on the outskirts of the city, (final location is yet to be confirmed).

Liverpool has the highest rate of adult deaths or serious injuries (KSIs) for pedestrian collisions in the UK Metropolitan Boroughs – at 99 per 100,000 people – and these trials form part of a wider strategy devised by the council and road safety partners to help bring down that number, which has been steadily falling since 2012.

Bold Street, one of the UK’s most dangerous pedestrian crossings, will see the introduction of a “Gold Standard” crossing, which looks to encourage more pedestrians to use it through embedded nudges. The second site will see the use of a “faster boarding” system – which will reduce wait times for pedestrians giving them priority over cars.

The innovative designs, created by So-Mo, a behavioural science company based in the city’s Baltic Triangle, will be assessed and analysed over a two year period. The company created them following an in-depth insight study into pedestrian behaviours in the urban environment.

The trials have been funded by the Road Safety Trust, with the support of the Department of Transport and the Merseyside Road Safety Partnership.

The specific aims of the pilot are to determine if the interventions change pedestrians unsafe crossing behaviour by encouraging them to adopt safe crossing behaviours, measured by :

•             An increase in the number of crossings made inside the crossing area

•             An increase in the number of pedestrians using the crossing correctly

The two test sites are:

1. Bold Street / Hanover Street

This location is within the central city area where collisions are high in the evening and throughout the night with casualties made up of pedestrians enjoying a night out.  The location chosen for testing, the junctions of Bold Street / Hanover Street and Church Street, has the highest number of pedestrian casualties within the city centre, most of which occur during weekend evenings. 

2. Second site tbc

A number of sites are under consideration, all of the sites have high pedestrian casualty figures and are sited along main arterial routes into the city. Collisions mainly occur during the day with casualties made up of pedestrians accessing the local amenities. 

It is hoped the crossings will be ready in early 2021.

Councillor Sharon Connor, Cabinet member for Highways, said: “Far too many people lose their lives or are seriously injured as pedestrians in Liverpool. It’s a problem we’ve been tackling and have had some success with over the past decade but we need to be radical to make the progress we all want.

“I like the fact that these crossings So-Mo have developed are looking at the whole picture – the environment, the location, behaviour – and am encouraged by the level of work that has gone into their designs, as are the Department of Transport and our road safety partners.

“It’s pleasing that a Liverpool company has looked to develop a solution to such an important issue and I look forward to seeing the results of the trials and hopefully looking at how we can roll them out once they are completed.”

Nicola Wass, Chief Executive of So-Mo, said: “Liverpool should be proud of the fact that they are taking an imaginative, intelligent approach to road safety.  These crossings have been informed by the science but designed with a deeper understanding of the people who use them. 

The point of doing a trial before launching any new crossing designs is that it allows us to know with certainty whether these new elements work or not”.

Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet has also approved a report to look at reviewing the city’s 20mph speed limit scheme, which was completed in 2015.

Results based over a three year survey show the speed limit, which on some roads is mandatory and others advisory, has helped cut collisions by an average of 191 per year.

The review, which will cost £300,000, will be undertaken over the next 18 months. This will involve a city-wide consultation to look at which roads could be adopted for a wider roll-out of the scheme.

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