Land Transport Authority (LTA), the government body that plans road and rail network in Singapore, relies on some planning parameters to determine how much time to allocate to each phases of the signalised junctions. One of such is walking speed, which is used to determine the minimum time for pedestrians to cross the road at a pedestrian crossing. For example, a dual three-lane road with a central median (i.e. the road separator) is about 25 metres wide. Based on walking speed of of 1.1 metre/second, pedestrians should be given a minimum of 23 seconds to cross the road, excluding the start up lag which usually constitutes another 5 seconds.
Different areas has different parameters, mainly to reflect the local demographics. For road crossings in city area, the walking speed parameter can reach as high as 1.3 m/s. On the other hand, housing estates, especially those with more elderly residents, could see a low of about 0.9 m/s.
In a latest study (refer to news below), Singapore finally earns a number one spot in the otherwise medal-less land transport sector: by having people who walked the fastest in the world! The study reported that Singaporeans took 10.55 seconds to cover 18-metre, which translates to a walking speed of 1.7m/s.
If LTA were to adopt the higher walking speed planning parameter, pedestrians who are walking slower would have to hasten their walking speed by about 25%, in the mean time possibly increasing their blood pressure too. On the other hand, motorcars will have more green time, especially for turning vehicles: this will increase the vehicles throughput at signalised junctions and thereby reducing queues and jams at junctions.
I’m personally against raising the planning parameter. Already I need to face a particular pedestrian crossing near my office which I always fail to cross in time. LTA should consider increasing the green time so I can enjoy a more comfortable work after lunch. I’m pretty sure it’s not due to the additional pounds I gain from the heavy lunch, if you’re asking. 😉