The City’s Urban Mobility Directorate recently installed in-road warning lights at two pedestrian crossings along Buitengracht in Cape Town. These intersections form part of major pedestrian routes between the CBD and Green Point, and are frequented by locals and tourists.

During the preparation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, there was a need to provide pedestrians with a safe passage over Buitengracht when walking between the CBD and the V&A Waterfront. One of the safety feature solutions decided on at the time was to install ‘In-road warning lights’ that operate in sync with the red traffic signals indicating to vehicular traffic to stop.

The in-road warning lights were installed to reduce the occurrence of drivers stopping beyond the stop line and within the pedestrian crossing, and forcing pedestrians to divert around the stopped vehicles, sometimes outside of the crossing itself.

‘The purpose of the red in-road warning lights is to create a visual barrier ahead of the pedestrian crossing line so that drivers get the message that stopping beyond the lights is not allowed.

‘We intend to motivate to the Minister of Transport for this inclusion of these lights in the Southern African Development Community Road Traffic Signs Manual (SADC-RTSM) in the current financial year. The adoption of lane lights within the national Road Traffic Signs Manual will allow us to implement this light system at other major intersections where this problem exists.

‘Reinstalling these lights forms part of our efforts to renew City infrastructure that has worked effectively in the past and to incorporate innovative transport nudging techniques which is a popular way of encouraging better driver behaviour across major international cities worldwide,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Mobility, Councillor Rob Quintas.

The original installation was undertaken as a pilot project with the consent of the National Minister of Transport, who is required to approve the testing of new road traffic signs and markings that are not provided for in the Southern African Development Community Road Traffic Signs Manual (SADC-RTSM).

The SADC-RTSM is a standardised set of signs and markings to which countries within the SADC region subscribe. It is also enforced by law in South Africa.

The City of Cape Town intends to motivate for the In Road Warning Lights system to be adopted in the SADC-RTSM and rolled out at other major intersections within the Cape Town CBD.