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Cardiff Council

Simple zebra crossing trial

​​​​​Welsh Government have commissioned a trial of non-prescribed simple zebra crossings at three locations in Cardiff. The locations are:

  • Station Road/ Evansfield Road 
  • Station Road/ Hawthorn Road East
  • Bishops Road/Merthyr Road

The aim of the trial is to understand the impacts and user perceptions of these simplified zebra crossings and to decide on their potential further use.

Welsh Government has commissioned VivaCity to collect anonymised data by using AI-based video analytics sensors and TRL to analyse the data for them and to conduct user perception research, including with disability groups.

What is the difference between the zebra crossings in the trial and a normal “prescribed” zebra crossing?

A “prescribed” zebra crossing must have a series of alternate black and white stripes with give way lines on either side, a Belisha beacon at each end of the crossing, a line of studs marking the crossing area and zigzag markings.

The simplified “non-prescribed” zebra crossings in this trial use the black and white zebra markings and give way lines, but do not have all the other features of the prescribed crossing.

Why is this trial happening?

Both the Welsh Government and Cardiff Council want to encourage more people to travel more actively and sustainably, and recognise the importance of walking for local communities.

The simplified design of non-prescribed zebras, in particular not including illuminated beacons, significantly reduces the cost of implementing and maintaining new crossings.  

The simplified design means they can be installed more quickly and with minimal disruption.

Furthermore, without the zigzag markings, the crossings can be installed on pedestrians’ desired walking line, directly across the mouth of the junction.

YouGov polling data published on 8 November 2021 and commissioned by Living Streets has found that:

  • 83% of adults would feel more confident crossing the road with zebra markings
  • 29% of adults have been hit or had a near miss at a side road
  • 65% of adults think the UK government should authorise zebra markings on side roads.
  • 76% of parents said that zebra markings at side roads would mean they would be more likely to walk their children walk to school.

Greater Manchester commissioned the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) to conduct research into the impact of using zebra markings on side roads.  

Observations at two trial sites over a two-week period found that:

  • A majority of drivers gave way to pedestrians with the crossing markings compared with less than half with no crossing.
  • There was no increase in conflict between people in cars and those crossing.
  • User surveys found that there is near universal public understanding of side road zebra markings.

Current regulations do not provide a standard for simplified zebras to be installed at side roads in Wales. 

The evidence collected in this trial will help to establish whether it is appropriate to change these regulations to make it easier for local authorities to install more simplified zebra crossings at side roads in future.

What happens if I park on a Zebra crossing?

It is currently an offence to park in front of a dropped kerbs, and any motorist doing this could receive a parking ticket.

Do pedestrians have priority on Zebra crossings?

Changes made to the Highway Code on 29th January 2022 provide clearer and stronger priorities for pedestrians.  

The highway code now clearly states that at a junction drivers should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road that you are turning into.  

Drivers should also give way to pedestrians waiting to cross a zebra crossing.   

Failing to stop once a pedestrian has moved on to a crossing could result in you getting a fixed penalty notice and 3 points on your licence.

Why have these locations been chosen for the trial?

The locations have been chosen because they have high pedestrian footfall and already have existing infrastructure in place in terms of dropped kerbs, tactile paving, parking restrictions and 20mph speed limits.  

Therefore, the installation of the simplified zebras will only require changes to road markings.

How will the trial be monitored?

Sensors have been installed at the trial locations to collect anonymised data on pedestrian and vehicle interactions both before and after the crossings are installed. 

User surveys will also be undertaken.

Who is funding the trial?

The trial is funded by Welsh Government.

What will happen after the trial?

Once sufficient data has been collected following the installation of the crossings, the data will be analysed and a report will be published setting out the results early next year.

The results of the trial will help to decide whether regulations should be changed to allow simplified zebras to be installed in other locations.

A decision on whether to retain the crossings at the three trial locations in Cardiff will depend on the outcome of the trial.
© 2022 Cardiff Council