Lyttelton gets a safety-driven, ‘smart’ pedestrian crossing


A ‘smart’ pedestrian crossing that uses radar technology to sense people and adjust crossing time is set to be installed in Lyttelton.

The high-tech crossing is one of just a handful like it in the South Island. “It can tell if a person is taking a longer or shorter time to cross the road and it will adjust the cross time accordingly,” says Colin Knaggs, NZ Transport Agency Highway Manager.

“And it can do other helpful things. If a pedestrian crosses prematurely, before the Cross signal shows, or walks away from the crossing, the pedestrian's request to cross is automatically cancelled so traffic is not held up unnecessarily.”

The new crossing is being installed on Norwich Quay, State Highway 74, between Sutton Quay and Canterbury Street, as part of a Transport Agency-led project in the Lyttelton Port Recovery Plan.(external link)

Colin Knaggs says the project is all about improving safety for pedestrians while maintaining freight efficiency to and from the Lyttelton Port. 

“This project will make it easier and safer for people to walk around their community. It will be safer for children to walk to school, and older people will have the time they need to cross,” he says.

“The smart technology also means traffic will not get held up if people finish crossing early or decide not to cross. If no-one is waiting or on the crossing, drivers will be able to continue without delay.

“This is a big advantage on roads like this which are used to access the Port.”

The crossing is also different from other crossings because the signal display – the red and green figures - is on the same side of the road as the pedestrians. This ensures people look at the oncoming traffic, reducing the chance of pedestrian fatalities.

Along with the new signals, the project will see new tactile paving installed along with new footpaths. The road will also be repaired and improved and a new bus stop will be installed at a safer location adjacent to Fisherman’s Wharf restaurant, at the corner of Sutton Quay.

Work starts during the week of February 27 and the project is expected to be complete by the end of April, weather dependent.  

Motorists are advised to expect short delays during the work.