Lack of safe crossings top concern for walkers

20 Jun 2017

New research finds that a lack of pedestrian crossings is the top concern for pedestrians in Melbourne.

Victoria Walks, CrowdSpot and government partners asked the people of Melbourne to record their walking safety concerns through an interactive online WalkSpot map. There was an overwhelming response to the project with over 1,650 people recording their perception of walking safety and generating close to 9,000 ‘engagements’ overall.

“There was an amazing response – a record number for a CrowdSpot project,” said Ben Rossiter, Executive Officer of Victoria Walks.

The top five issues/concerns used to describe unsafe spots recorded on the map were:

  1.  No pedestrian crossing (20.6%)
  2. Drivers failing to give way when turning (14.2%)
  3. Traffic light issues eg. long wait for green man (12.2%)
  4. Poor footpath eg. narrow, uneven or too crowded (11.8%)
  5. Traffic moving too fast (9.0%).

“Our research compared the spots with the most concern against official crash statistics,” says Anthony Aisenberg, Director of CrowdSpot.  “Some unsafe WalkSpot locations have a crash history, but many don’t. This demonstrates that the places of concern to people aren’t necessarily showing up in the crash statistics that government agencies tend to rely on.”

In addition to identifying particular spots, participants were also surveyed on their general concerns while walking in Melbourne. This produced similar but slightly different responses to the description of unsafe spots. The highest rating responses were:

  1. Lack of pedestrian crossings (16%)
  2. Traffic moving too fast (15%)
  3. Drivers failing to give way when turning (14%)
  4. Too much traffic (12%)
  5. Traffic light issues eg. long wait for green man (12%)

“The top rated ‘safe’ spots were a ringing endorsement for places where pedestrians are given priority over cars,” Dr Rossiter says. “The research found that walkers clearly want to see more intersections like Flinders and Elizabeth Street, where traffic lights stop all vehicles and people can cross in any direction, and places like the Bourke Street Mall.”

VicRoads, the City of Melbourne and 13 other metropolitan councils supported the project.  They have received the data relevant to their area, to help them decide on road safety improvements and prioritise investment.

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WalkSpot is funded primarily by a Community Road Safety Grant from the Transport Accident Commission (TAC). Victoria Walks is supported by VicHealth.