You’ll face me: an investigation into improving puffin crossing safety by controlling PDU placement

Ibrahim Aliouche


The main aim of this project is to analyse and possibly alter a puffin crossing in order to increase pedestrian comfort and safety by making the pedestrian display unit (PDU), the box with the red and green man lights, more visible and the pushbutton easy to reach and press. A literature review was carried out to determine pedestrian field of view and standard puffin crossing component sizes and two zones were determined; the visible and blind zone. As the names would suggest, the visible zone at the puffin crossing is the area in which the pedestrian can see the PDU in their field of view and the blind zone is where the pedestrian has to twist beyond their comfortable range of motion in order to see the PDU. Surveys were carried out at two different sites that had placed the PDU at slightly different distances from the edge of the road. The two sites had different sized blind zones and data was collected, recording where a pedestrian would stand and whether or not they looked at the PDU before crossing. It was determined through statistical analysis that Site 2, with the smaller blind zone, had more people looking at the PDU and therefore was safer. An exact distance for the PDU to be placed 0.26m back from the kerb face was recommended and guidelines on how to achieve this without infringing on current regulations for the placement of the signal head were provided. This outlines the use of brackets, cranked poles or completely separate poles for the puffin crossing PDU, pushbutton and signal head.

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