I first saw these traffic lights in Orchard Road, Singapore in 2008. The red seconds count down indicating how long you have to cross before the lights go red. Just over a month ago, I saw similar in Tokyo, where progressive red or green bars were used as an indicator. Both great ideas. Why not in Australia?
We now have such a device in my least favourite place in Melbourne, Camberwell Junction. I dislike the Junction so much that I am not going there to take a photo to show you. A red countdown second indicator has been installed for pedestrians crossing Riversdale and Camberwell Roads on the eastern side of Burke Road. VicRoads must perceive this to be a problem area.
But do VicRoads do it smart? In Singapore once the indicators shows zero seconds, that is it. The traffic light goes red at zero seconds. Oh no, not for Melbourne. Here a good bit of time still follows the display showing zero seconds before the traffic light turns red. Once people realise that there is still time to sprint across after the zero shows, that is exactly what they will do. Still four seconds showing? Still time to walk across after mentally adding the extra time. Zero does not mean zero. It makes the display worthless. VicRoads might argue it adds an extra measure of safety. Not how I see it. More likely a bit of mental game to further restrict pedestrians crossing that interrupts the flow of cars turning left, not that I have any tolerance of pedestrians illegally crossing either when they interfere with turning cars.
Elsewhere, the traffic light has just turned green and you press the button to bring up the walk signal and damn. You must wait until the next cycle. Grrr. Tough. I walk anyway, although not disrupting turning cars. I'll leave that for someone else to