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Pedestrian crossings

Requests for works

We receive many requests each year for new crossings. To help use precious resources to best effect, each site is surveyed and the results compared with national criteria to identify the most needy locations.

The main factors measured are the number of people crossing and the amount of traffic. Other factors include the number of injures on the road near the site and local features such as hospitals, schools and shops. A list is then drawn up in order of priority with the worst site for pedestrians at the top of the list.

Apply for a pedestrian crossing (opens in a new window) 

Types of pedestrian crossings

Pelican crossings (Pedestrian Light Controlled Crossing)

Pelican crossings are controlled by the pedestrian pressing the button on the WAIT box. Pedestrians should only cross when the green man lights up and all the traffic has stopped.

Sometimes there is a bleeper to help blind or partially sighted people know when it is safe to cross. Alternatively there may be a rotating knob underneath the WAIT box, which turns when the green man lights up. Pedestrians should not start to cross if the green man is flashing.

We no longer install pelican crossings as the newer puffin crossings provide a better facility for pedestrians.

Puffin crossings (Pedestrian User Friendly Intelligent Crossing)

Puffin crossings are an updated version of pelican crossing, and they look very similar. The main difference is that the red and green man signals are just above the WAIT box and not on the other side of the road. Pedestrians should press the button on the box.

Puffin crossings have special sensors built in which can detect a pedestrian waiting and make sure that traffic remains stopped until all the pedestrians have crossed the road. Puffins do not have a flashing green man for pedestrians or a flashing amber for drivers.

Zebra crossings

This crossing has black and white stripes (like a zebra) with orange flashing beacons at each end. A zebra crossing gives the pedestrian right of way once their foot is on the crossing. However, pedestrians must make sure that all the traffic has stopped before crossing and they should keep looking and listening as they cross.

Many people ask for zebra crossings to be changed to puffin crossings, believing them to be safer. Recent research has shown that the safety record of both types is very similar and that, in some cases, zebras are safer.

Toucan crossings (Two-Can Cross)

These crossings are provided for pedestrians and cyclists, usually at sites where cycle routes cross busy roads. They are similar to a puffin with the crossing operated by a push button on the WAIT box. On a toucan there is a green and red cycle signal as well as the more familiar red and green man. The main advantage for cyclists is that they do not have to dismount to cross. Toucans also have sensors to detect pedestrians using the crossing. There is no flashing green man signal and drivers must wait for a green light.

Pedestrian refuges

In some locations, where a pedestrian crossing cannot be justified, a pedestrian refuge, or traffic island, may be placed. These narrow the road and allow pedestrians to cross in 2 halves with a safe place to wait in the middle. Pedestrians should cross with care as drivers have priority at traffic islands.


0300 303 8879

Phone: Monday-Friday 8.30am-5.30pm.
Closed for training Monday 11am-11.30am.

Highways and Engineering Service
Number One Riverside
Smith Street
Rochdale OL16 1XU