Giving Pedestrians a Head Start on Safety
Part of New York City's Vision Zero program, an effort to eliminate pedestrian deaths by 2024, are the use of pedestrian head starts. Retiming traffic signals so weak signals illuminate as much as seven seconds before the green light for cars appears is a quiet but effective tool for pedestrian safety.
'Polly Trottenberg, the city’s transportation commissioner, said the head starts “truly are the unsung heroes of Vision Zero.”'
Pedestrian head starts have been installed at more than 2,300 intersections across the city, with an additional 800 being added in 2017, in a system of nearly 13,000 traffic signals. The National Association of City Transportation Officials calls pedestrian head starts, or "leading pedestrian intervals," a best practice.