British Columbia

How Surrey is making dangerous intersections safer for pedestrians

For about a year, Surrey has been experimenting with new technology called Leading Pedestrian Intervals, or PDIs, to make its intersections safer.

The city is implementing new technology at dozens of intersections to reduce pedestrian collisions

Surrey is home to four of the most dangerous intersections for pedestrian collisions, according to data from ICBC. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

For about a year, Surrey has been experimenting with new technology called Leading Pedestrian Intervals, or PDIs, to make its intersections safer.

 At about 70 crossings in the city, when pedestrians get a walk signal they are given a seven-second head start to cross the street while the light remains red for drivers.

Surrey Road Safety Manager Shabnem Afzal says this allows pedestrians to establish their right of way in the crosswalk.

"It puts pedestrians into the crosswalk far enough to make them more visible to drivers," she said.

"We normally implement them around T-intersections where there may be a potential for conflict between a vehicle and a pedestrian."

Surrey is home to four of the most dangerous intersections for pedestrian collisions, according to data from ICBC.

Afzal says that by simply delaying the turn signal for drivers, crashes involving pedestrians will decrease.

In New York, there was a 56 percent drop in left turn pedestrian and cyclist collisions at intersections where LPIs were installed.

"It is a no-brainer really that we have to try and protect those most vulnerable road users," she said.

"Especially given that it's low cost and we can implement LPIs anywhere where there's actually a signal."

Several other municipalities in Metro Vancouver are also implementing LPIs, but Surrey has more of them than any other city in the region.

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