Smart-crossing trial makes busy intersection safer

smart crossing trial
A smart-crossing trial at the Bourbong-Maryborough Street intersection proved successful.

The success of a smart-crossing trial at the Bourbong-Maryborough Street intersection has prompted the State Government to commit $3 million for an extra 300 installations across Queensland.

“Compared with standard signalised crossings, which use a timer, these smart crossings use sensors to detect pedestrian movement and adjust the amount of time required to cross,” Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said.

“This means pedestrians can cross safely without having to rush, and for motorists it means less waiting when there are fewer pedestrians using the crossing.

pedestrian sensor
A pedestrian sensor makes smart crossings better for walkers and motorists.

“Importantly, these smart pedestrian crossing detectors can also hold left or right-turn red arrow signals, to protect pedestrians from turning vehicles.”

Mr Bailey said the Bundaberg trial had demonstrated marked improvements in traffic efficiency and pedestrian safety.

He said about one third of all pedestrian fatalities and hospitalisations occurred at intersections.

The rollout of the upgrade program will begin later this year. Locations will be prioritised based on length, high traffic and pedestrian volumes, those used by mobility-impaired pedestrians and cyclists and crossings near hospitals.

Additional Bundaberg locations

  • Intersection of Bourbong Street and Branyan Street
  • Intersection of Takalvan Street, Heidkie Street and Johann Boulevard
  • Intersection of Walker Street and Barolin Street

Bundaberg trial details

  • The trial at Bundaberg’s Bourbong St and Maryborough St intersection operated with very high vehicle and pedestrian volumes. Previous to the trial there were reports of pedestrian near-misses. 
  • Before the trial, the vehicle left-turn red arrow dropped off at the end of the pedestrian green “walk” period.  This was hazardous for pedestrians, particularly those approaching from the far side of the crossing, who were often in the path of left-turning vehicles when the red arrow dropped off.
  • Fixed-time full pedestrian protection (where turning traffic operates in a separate phase) would have caused significant traffic delays, impacting the greater traffic network.
  • The installation of a smart crossing with variable clearance times enabled full pedestrian protection with minimal impact on the network.
  • This occurred by holding left-turning vehicles with the red arrow for the entire period it took pedestrians to complete their crossing. The left-turn red arrow then dropped, enabling vehicles to  move as soon as the crossing cleared of pedestrians.
  • Ongoing monitoring and public feedback found this solution achieved great safety benefits for pedestrians and increased compliance from motorists. It found motorists were no longer waiting unnecessarily when pedestrians completed their crossing – a win-win for all.