Recent Innovations in Pedestrian Safety within Australia

26 Apr, 2024
In the realm of traffic engineering, pedestrian safety stands as a critical focus area, especially in metropolitan areas. Recent initiatives underscore the commitment of professionals in the broader sector to enhance safety for pedestrians through targeted measures, technological advancements, and infrastructure enhancements.

As our cities get denser, these initiatives highlight the increasing importance of a pedestrian-centric approach to design rather than the traditional car-centric approach. One notable example is the introduction of “smart” pedestrian crossings across Queensland [1]. Equipped with sensors and real-time data analytics capabilities, these crossings dynamically adjust signal timings based on pedestrian activity, ensuring safer crossings and minimising wait times. If there is greater pedestrian activity, the crossing time increases and vice versa. Intersections with this technology can also hold left or right-turn red arrow signals to protect pedestrians from turning vehicles. This innovation not only prioritises pedestrian safety but also optimises traffic flow, exemplifying the synergy between technology and safety.

Another example is the adoption of virtual reality (VR) technology to enhance safety awareness, particularly among older Australians who are overrepresented in road accidents [2]. In a groundbreaking initiative led by the University of South Australia, VR simulations are being utilised to simulate real-world pedestrian scenarios, allowing older individuals to experience potential hazards in a controlled environment. By immersing participants in lifelike scenarios, such as crossing busy streets or navigating complex intersections, this technology aims to test road designs virtually with vulnerable pedestrians while still in the planning stages, aiding in the overall design conversation.

In addition to technological advancements, strategic infrastructure upgrades are reshaping urban environments to better accommodate pedestrians. The recent installation of raised pedestrian crossings, also known as wombat crossings, along key thoroughfares in Sydney’s CBD is a prime example [3]. By elevating pedestrian crossings, these upgrades enhance visibility and encourage drivers to slow down while emphasising priority for pedestrians. This is just one example of a handful of treatment types that enhance pedestrian safety. Another trial in Sydney includes the implementation of 3D crossings, which create an optical illusion of a pedestrian crossing rising from the pavement for approaching motorists, slowing them down [4].

In conclusion, recent innovations in pedestrian safety reflect the industry’s ongoing commitment to creating safer urban environments in Australia. From smart technology implementations to targeted infrastructure upgrades, these initiatives are instrumental in reducing pedestrian accidents and fatalities.







Written by Rico Kobelt

Written by Rico Kobelt

As a Traffic Engineer for Amber, I’m passionate about the opportunities I get to improve urban design and facilitate positive outcomes for communities. I’m a lifelong learner and enjoy utilising my background in sustainability and engineering to help improve safety and efficiency outcomes in the traffic and transport landscape.
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Amber Organisation acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present.

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