Pedestrian fatalities are a cause for concern in South Africa and other middle and lower-income countries. According to Arrive Alive, they account for 35%-40% of road deaths. A chief contributory factor is that pedestrians ignore or disobey traffic signals.
Some of the measures that have been taken to address pedestrian safety include improving road safety education, awareness and law enforcement. Another way to improve safety for pedestrians is to think about their needs when roads are being designed. With this in mind, many cities now have signals that feature a visible countdown timer to show drivers and pedestrians how much time remains before the light will change.
Although the efficacy of countdown timers for road crossings seems to vary (there are positive and sceptical reports in different cities), this seems like an idea worth considering for the safety of pedestrians in South Africa.
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