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More than 100 intersections now give Surrey pedestrians a ‘head start’

In 2019, the city started activating early walk signals ‘to help drivers making turns see them better’
The City of Surrey is giving pedestrians a “head start” at more than 100 intersections, with seven-second “Leading Pedestrian Intervals.” (Photo: City of Surrey)

The City of Surrey is giving pedestrians a “head start” at more than 100 intersections.

The city, according to a news release Monday (June 20), has “recently hit a milestone,” activating its 100th “Leading Pedestrian Interval (LPI) signal, which activates the walk sign prior to the traffic light.

The release adds Surrey “now has the largest LPI network of any city in B.C.,” with 102 intersections equipped with the feature.

“By doing this, pedestrians get a head start into the crosswalk to help drivers making turns see them better and reduce crashes.”

LPIs, a traffic signal timing feature, give pedestrians a head start of about seven seconds.

The city started implementing the early signals in 2019, with the timing initially set at four seconds.

“But through analysis by Engineers and Traffic Management Centre staff that monitor the City’s over 500 intersection cameras, the timing was increased to 7 seconds,” reads the release.

It adds that pedestrian crashes account for roughly 35 per cent of all traffic fatalities and serious injuries, “which is why the City of Surrey is working hard to improve traffic safety for these vulnerable road users.”

LPIs, according to the city, have been shown to reduce vehicle-pedestrian collisions by about 60 per cent and that’s why these signal timing changes are actively implemented as part of the City’s Vision Zero Surrey Safe Mobility Plan.”

In early 2020, the city’s road safety manager and Vision Zero lead told the Now-Leader that LPIs are “one of the tools in the toolbox” of road-safety professionals.

READ ALSO: 70 Surrey intersections give pedestrians ‘head start’ to prevent crashes, Jan. 7, 2020

READ ALSO: Surrey to install 20 ‘enhanced pedestrian crossings’ in 2020, Jan. 11, 2020

“From our experience and our research,” explained Shabnem Afzal, “we’ve been finding on an ongoing basis that if we give them seven seconds head start, we found that it was the most effective in terms of making – ensuring – that pedestrians are visible to drivers as they’re turning.

“Any shorter, there’s a risk that they won’t be visible.”

For more information on LPIs, and where they’re located, visit and search “leading pedestrian intervals.”

READ ALSO: ‘All it takes is one little mistake’: Project Swoop wraps up with traffic enforcement blitz in Surrey, June 4, 2020

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Lauren Collins

About the Author: Lauren Collins

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media's national team, after my journalism career took me across B.C. since I was 19 years old.
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