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Pedestrian crossings


Contact us about another pedestrian crossing issue

New pedestrian crossings

We receive many requests to install or upgrade pedestrian crossings or facilities each year. We consider the following factors to reach a decision:

  • Traffic speed and volumes and difficulties faced by pedestrians crossing the road.
  • The number and nature of personal injury accidents, particularly those involving pedestrians
  • The volume of traffic throughout a given day compared to the frequency a crossing is used within a specific area.
  • Site conditions/nature of the road and constraints.
  • Funding and available resources.

The criteria for pedestrian crossings are set down by the Department for Transport (DfT).

Types of crossing

There are two different types of pedestrian crossing facilities – controlled and uncontrolled.

  • Uncontrolled Crossing - The most basic form of crossing is a pedestrian island in the centre of the road, often at junctions. Although these are subject to site constraints, they can be introduced without any informal or formal consultation.
  • Controlled Crossing - There are currently five types of controlled pedestrian crossings in the United Kingdom: Zebra, Pelican, Puffin, Toucan and Pegasus crossings. They are subject to a formal (statutory) consultation.

All these crossings comprise tactile paving; road markings to prevent stopping at any time and features to assist those with visual disabilities. The local authority is responsible for funding the crossing (introduction and maintenance), identifying the site, consultation, issue of Traffic Management Notices and all civil works.

If approved, the works must be programmed with TfL who are responsible for the introduction of the actual signal equipment and its maintenance. There is currently a 9 month lead time and TfL are currently operating a policy not to introduce any more signals in London and for boroughs to seek alternative options.


Zebra crossings accommodate flashing amber beacons and zigzag markings on approach and exit. Parking is not permitted within this area. The Highway Code states that motorists MUST give way when someone has moved onto the crossing. Zebra crossings are cheaper to build than traffic signal crossings, although their use on roads where traffic speeds are higher than 35mph is not recommended. Zebra crossings can be introduced with or without pedestrian refuges or can be staggered.


Pelican crossings have red/amber/green signals facing drivers and red man/green man signal heads on the opposite sides of the road facing pedestrians waiting to cross. These often operate with a push button.

The Highway Code says that when the steady red signal to traffic is lit then drivers must stop. Pedestrians should cross when the green man then lights, having checked it is safe to do so. When the green man begins to flash, pedestrians should not start to cross although there is still enough time for those on the crossing to finish their journey safely.

At all Pelican crossings (apart from 'staggered' crossings) there is a bleeping sound to indicate to the visually impaired when the green man is lit and a tactile cone rotates under the button panel.


Unlike Pelican crossings, Puffin crossings do not have the flashing green man/flashing amber signal. Kerbside pedestrian detectors are fitted to the push button unit to cancel demands that are no longer required (when a person crosses before the green man). The red man/green man signals are above the push button unit on the pedestrians' side of the road to encourage waiting pedestrians to also look at the approaching traffic. Puffins also offer the same facilities for the blind and the visually impaired.


Toucan crossings are designed for both pedestrians and cyclists and are typically used adjacent to a cycle-path (Cyclists are not allowed to cross the road using Zebra, Pelican or Puffin crossings whilst riding a bike). There is a green cycle symbol alongside the green man. At Toucan crossings the crossing time is established each time by on-crossing detectors in the same way as Puffins. The cost of a Toucan is similar to that of a Puffin.


The only Pegasus crossing in this borough is located in High Street Wimbledon. Pegasus crossings are similar to Toucan crossings but have a red/green horse symbol and higher mounted push buttons to allow horse riders to cross. This type of crossing is only used where many crossing movements are made across a busy main road.

Staggered pelican, puffin and toucan crossings

These crossings are often introduced across a wide and busy roads and are located on each side of a central island, not in line with each other. Pedestrians cross the road in two stages by pressing the push button for the green man to light at each crossing. To avoid confusion for blind/visually impaired people there is no bleeper.

Every attempt is made to incorporate a pedestrian phase within signalised junctions. In some instances these work on demand and in most they form part of the overall cycle.