Pedestrian crossings

We maintain and install pedestrian crossings.

Before we install a crossing we look at peak traffic volumes, pedestrian numbers and whether hospitals, shops, schools and railway stations are nearby.

Types of crossing


At puffin crossings, a red man immediately follows a green man and audible signal to discourage pedestrians from starting to cross, but there is still plenty of time to cross safely. Detectors on the crossing monitor the movement of people and time is extended until everyone has crossed, or cancels the request if someone crosses before the green man lights up.


At pelican crossings, a flashing green man follows the steady green man and audible signal to warn pedestrians waiting to cross the road to wait. Drivers may not proceed while a pedestrian is in the road. At older junctions with far-side signals, the green man signal is extinguished for a short period before the red man is illuminated. During this time, traffic is held on a red light and there will still be enough time for pedestrians already in the road to cross safely.


Toucan crossings are used by both pedestrians and cyclists, and are typically used next to a cycle-path. There is a green bicycle symbol alongside the green man.


Pegasus crossings are designed to be used by pedestrians and horse riders, and are only used at places where horses will need to cross regularly. They have a red/green horse symbol and higher mounted push buttons to allow horse riders to activate the crossing.


Zebra crossings are marked by black and white painted stripes across the road and flashing amber beacons. Motorists must give way when someone has moved onto a crossing, but pedestrians should remain on the kerbside until approaching vehicles have stopped. Zebra crossings are cheaper to build than traffic signal crossings, but their use on roads where traffic speeds are higher than 35mph is not recommended.

Features for disabled people

Audible signals

A bleeping noise sounds when the green man signal is illuminated to indicate that it is safe to start to cross the road for visually impaired people, except where two or more crossings are close together where a sound could give misleading information.

Audible signals may be switched off from 10pm-7am in some residential areas.

Tactile cones

These small cones are fitted on the bottom of the pedestrian push button boxes and rotate when the green man signal is illuminated to indicate that it is safe to start to cross the road for visually impaired people.

It has been a requirement for all new crossings regardless of whether or not they have an audible signal since 2002.

Textured (blister) paving and crossing points

Textured paving – usually red – is installed at controlled crossings where the pavement has been dropped and is flush with the road to warn people with a visual impairment where the edge of the pavement is.

With rows of 5mm high flat-topped blisters, it’s usually laid in an L shape, with the bottom of the L at the crossing point and the stem leading back to the pavement to guide pedestrians with a visual impairment to the pole with the push button.

Tactile paving isn’t normally installed on centre islands in the road unless pedestrians are expected to cross in two stages. The area of pavement near the crossing point is sloped to provide a smooth approach for wheelchair users and the gradient should not be more than 8%.

Poles and push buttons

The red man and green man signals at older crossings are on the opposite side of the road to the pedestrians waiting to cross, at the same height as vehicle signals. At newer crossings, the signals are above the push button units on the pedestrians’ side of the road, designed to encourage pedestrians to watch oncoming traffic.

The push button unit is normally positioned around 1m above the pavement because this height has been found to be the best for everyone who might use the crossing. On narrow pavements it may be positioned at the back of the pavement to make sure there is adequate space for wheelchair users to easily manoeuvre to use the crossing.

Requesting a crossing

We carry out assessments of locations for formal pedestrian crossings at regular times throughout the year.

The assessment involves recording the volume and type of vehicles using the road, and counting the volume and type of pedestrians trying to cross the road at the same location.

The outcome of these assessments will determine the type of crossing facility that is most appropriate. We need to see high numbers of both vehicles and pedestrians to warrant a formal crossing. If there are low numbers of either it is unlikely that a crossing would be proposed.

If you think a location would benefit from a crossing, please contact your local councillor or parish/town council and ask them to investigate the possibility of an assessment.