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Pedestrian Crossing Cancellation Button

No, I don't need to cross the road after all...
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(+10, -4)
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Have you ever pressed the button on a pedestrian crossing, and then crossed the road on the "don't walk" or "red man" symbol as soon as the traffic has cleared?

Perfectly reasonable behaviour, but annoying both to the car drivers who have to subsequently stop on a red light when noone is crossing, and to the you, who must soak up the accusatory glares of drivers who spot you sauntering down the sidewalk and assume you pressed the button for the fun of it on the way past.

Easily solved with the Pedestrian Crossing Cancellation Button. Turns the "wait" light off again. Not only used for cancelling the request in the above circumstance, but also for when you remember you didn't want to cross the road after all.

Lemon, Jun 11 2001

Further Pedestrian Crossing Discussion http://www.halfbake...0Crossing_20Cameras
Removing the buttons entirely... [Lemon, Jun 11 2001, last modified Oct 05 2004]


       Your pedestrian crossing buttons actually do something?
bookworm, Jun 11 2001

       Bookworm is right, the crossing button is like the 'close door' on an elevator, or the 'ignore' button on a Windows error message, it's only there to give you the feeling that you have some control over your life, it doesn't really do anything...
StarChaser, Jun 11 2001

       It's been my experience that these buttons work quite well and I have no doubt that when I press one a light changes... only it's somewhere other than where I happen to be.
phoenix, Jun 11 2001

       I'm with waugs. I live in a city in which an alarming number of pedestrians are struck and killed by speeding motorists every year -- so much so that the city has launched a public service campaign directed at red-light runners.   

       Most intersections in San Francisco don't even have pedestrian buttons. You cross when the traffic light indicates that you can, and you hope for the best. Our biggest problem is not the fact that motorists have to wait for the lights to change -- it's that they rarely do. The biggest dangers for those of us on foot are the three or four "my-turn" motorists who speed through in the first seconds of every red light, regardless of who might already be in the crosswalk.   

       In those rare cases when I can force motorists to wait, I will. The worst that can happen to them is their arrival at their destination two minutes late. The worst thing that can happen to us pedestrians is considerably more serious.
1percent, Jun 11 2001

       in my time in the US i have found that NONE OF THE BUTTONS WORK and i just ran across at a break in traffic. Here in the UK where the buttons actually work, that's a good idea cos i tend to take any opportunity to cross and quite often cross on a red man only to leave the traffic to stop for no-one. This could cause a problem with troublemakers cancelling legit crossers' button presses to leave the waiting pedestrian waiting forever (maybe) for the lights to change
dekoi, Jun 11 2001

       Eugene, Oregon, USA has both timed and untimed crosswalks. In general the untimed crosswalks have functioning buttons, though the delay is weighted to allow a reasonable flow of traffic before the crosswalk light can be retriggered. Some timed intersections also have pedestrian buttons which seem to allow an extra-long cycle so slow walkers can make it across in safety. But this little burg could be considered a remote location by some sophisticated cosmopolitan Ozzies, I guess. Heh, heh.
Dog Ed, Jun 12 2001

       Britain and France are like [Dog Ed] describes. The crossings with buttons ensure that there is always a decent period between crossings but this also can mean that if you approach a neglected, lonely crossing you can generally cross straight away.   

       I think the cancel feature is a pretty good idea.
Aristotle, Jun 12 2001

       Anything which reduces the annoyance of drivers, who in my experience are mostly inconsiderate toward pedestrians, gets a fishbone from me I'm afraid.
-alx, Jun 12 2001

       Tsk. And this a comment from someone who wants to make mobile phones even noisier? You really shouldn't assume that drivers and pedestrians are mutually exclusive groups of people. Many (if not most) of us fit into both categories.
Lemon, Jun 29 2001

       I don't assume that they are separate groups, though one thing I have noticed is that the people who are frequent pedestrians are often just as inconsiderate toward pedestrians once they get behind the wheel as other drivers. They seem to want the best of both worlds. Me, I just want a life unhindered by heavy traffic.   

       Incidentally, I thought of a problem with this idea, which is that many people cross the road as soon as the opportunity arises, i.e. when there's a gap in the traffic. They're not going to think to press the cancel button before they leg it...   

       ...and yes, I realise that pedestrians can be inconsiderate too, especially when legging it in small gaps in the traffic...
-alx, Jun 29 2001

       If there is a cancell button on both sides then that would work...
RobertKidney, Jun 29 2001

       It would work in principle, but how many pedestrians would actually use it? Once they're across the road, will they really care if they inconvenience a few drivers?   

       Besides, imagine the fun to be had by people on opposing sides of the road. I press the button to cross the road - some comic genius on the other side cancels my request.   

       Maybe I'm just in a pessimistic mood, but this whole idea needs a bit too much altruism to work.
-alx, Jun 29 2001

       Too much altruism to work? Well maybe, but you could say the same about the use of litter bins, it won't stop some (most?) of us using them though. There will always be inconsiderate people around, and persuading them to behave in a considerate manner is a difficulty soceiety has to address, not something that needs to be "built in" to every individual invention (litter bins that photograph miscreants littering nearby perhaps? Well, that's another idea entirely).   

       Same thing goes for the juvenile idiots you have pressing the cancel button on the other side of the road. Yes it's going to happen. I suppose I'd rather have them do that than tagging walls or dropping bricks from bridges.
Lemon, Jul 02 2001

       I agree - especially where the crossing is not at a junction. I'm always pressing the button, finding there's no traffic, and crossing the road, delaying hundreds of angry commuters.
simonrose, Jul 06 2001

       I think most places already have them. In the UK we get a "wait" light that comes on (on both sides of the road). Very useful, but of course you feel guilty when you don't wait.
Lemon, Jul 06 2001

       In the UK, signalised junctions generally work on an 88 second cycle time. Depending on how busy the junction is, it can be double-cycled, to allow for a more frequent pedestrian stage, or else there will be more than one pedestrian stage within the cycle. Often the pedestrian stage will be skipped if it has not been requested (by pushing the button). The problem with a cancellation button would be that nasty little children would run up and press it when you're not looking, especially if you're a blind pensioner.
stupop, Sep 19 2001

       Hey! Who pressed the cancel button? My point is that these buttons can be used for amusement too.
andrewm, Jun 11 2002

       // Aren't pedestrian crossing signals just on a timer, like other traffic signals, unless they're in remote locations? //   

       Not in the UK, where we don't use the grid system as much and often use roundabouts rather than crossroads. This means pedestrian crossings often get their own traffic light, instead of pedestrians getting the chance to cross during some phases of a traffic-light controlled junction.   

       But I don't think you need a cancel button to be considerate: I usually check the road to see if there's a safe gap in traffic approaching before pressing the button. Often I can cross perfectly safely without needing to halt traffic at all.
JKew, Jun 11 2002

       What about the troublemakers who will press the traffic stop cancel button while a small child is crossing? It could mean a serious accident.
friendless-person, Dec 10 2003

       The buttons only activate the "Green walking guy" when the traffic lights change, all this means is that if you don't press the button the "Red not walking guy" stays lit when the lights change, in Adelaide, where I live the crossings make a pleasing Chicken clucking noise when the "Green walking guy" is lit.
Micky Dread, Dec 10 2003

       Your right stopup, I'd definitely make use of this with my mother-in-law...while she was half way across that is.   

       Generally tho, there must be zillions of these things worldwide. You would think by now they would have some more functionality by now....maybe we should be thinking of upgrading. Any other suggestions/improvements?   

       You'd think they should be able to detect pedestrians/cars etc by now with wireless detection of some sort and interact accordingly.
rumbletumbler, Dec 10 2003

       Here in New Zealand the buttons do work, amazing yes :D but we also have pressure pads in the footpath at the waiting point to cross. Hence no-one there waiting no cross light.
Saraquin, Dec 10 2003

       Would'nt it be great to synchronise all the traffic lights and pedestrian crossings in the whole world...
Micky Dread, Dec 10 2003

       Dangerous talk Micky D.   

       If this continuous in this vein, eventually we'll end up having all the chinese run west at the same time and time would stand still.
rumbletumbler, Dec 10 2003

       I read somewhere that if all the Chinese jumped off their chairs at the same time the ensuing tidal wave would swamp the west coast of the U.S.A...
Micky Dread, Dec 11 2003


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