Traffic lights will automatically be set to red for motorists to prioritise pedestrians under a scheme being rolled out by Sadiq Khan, the recently re-elected Mayor of London.
Transport for London (TfL) has announced that pedestrian crossings would be left on the green man setting to make the capital more “walkable” in a move that's likely to enrage drivers. But if cities anywhere and everywhere are going to prioritise pedestrians and cyclists over drivers, which they surely must if we all want to breathe cleaner air, then drivers are going to have to lump it.
Initially, just 18 signals will be reprogrammed only to allow cars a temporary right of way if and when traffic is detected. It's a complete reversal of the way such crossings normally operate, as now motorists will have to wait now for pedestrians to be told to let them pass.
TfL says it intends to “increase their number over the coming years”, suggesting that so-called ‘green person authority’ pedestrian crossings will soon become the norm rather than the exception.
Mr Khan, who was re-elected earlier this month, has pledged to be “the greenest Mayor London has ever had”, underlining his commitment to “put the environment and climate” at the heart of his policies.
Not so far away, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has just set an audacious new benchmark in her ongoing campaign to reduce car use across the French capital: a ban on most vehicle traffic crossing the city center in 2022.