Countdown crosswalk signals have been installed in various spots downtown and  I find them to be extremely useful whether I'm driving, cycling, or walking.  All road users benefit from signal predictability.

They should be installed at as many intersections as possible and top priority given to any intersection with a known history of auto-pedestrian accidents/deaths.

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Chris Chris over 6 years ago

While I enjoy the countdown meters downtown, I would like to know how much they cost before endorsing there greater use.  The flashing lights are okay, and I'd rather see our limited transportation dollars spent on other things.

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Kelso Kelso over 6 years ago

The cost per light is approximately $150 each, it typically takes 8 per intersection.  The benefits far outweigh the cost, you're talking pennies in comparison to overall road maintenance costs.  The old lights also have to be replaced per routine maintenance.

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Dan Moilanen over 6 years ago

Obviously a traffic study should be performed to determine if there are issues with the lights and traffic flow.  For instance, traffic accidents per cars per hour, in addition to overall pedestrian traffic in the area.  There are ways to determine if they are appropriate intersections/crosswalks with count-down timers.

It doesn't make much sense to put these sort of lights at less used intersections with little pedestrian traffic.  Again, it's something that's pretty subjective on a number of factors.

Don't get me wrong, I think they're very useful, it's just not cost effective to put them at every intersection in the city.

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Kelso Kelso over 6 years ago

They're just as useful to motorists as they are to pedestrians so the reasoning behind installing them doesn't have to revolve around pedestrian safety.  They're also cheaper and more practical than installing additional controversial red-light camera systems.   I'm willing to bet they decrease instances of red-light running because a motorist can anticipate the exact amount of time remaining before the stop light signal will change from green to yellow. 

Variations of these signals are incredibly common and can be found in Canada, Syria, India, Japan, Ukraine, Poland, Thailand, and now they're finally showing up in some US cities.   We don’t really have a choice because they’re mandated per federal code by the FHA in the 2009 MUTCD (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices) for all newly installed pedestrian signals.  They're just so useful they should be installed everywhere ASAP.

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Austin Common Sense over 6 years ago

Don't mean any disrespect Dan, but it is my humble opinion that the last thing this city needs is paying large amounts of taxpayer money to outside consultants telling us what we already know. (especially for small instances like installing these crosswalk signals) The only consultants this city needs is the people on this forum and other fellow Austinites who live and work in this city every day.

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COA Transportation admin over 6 years ago

Thank you all for your comments. The Countdown Pedestrian Crossings are now considered standard practice by the National Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices. Within the year, roughly 50 intersections will either be equipped or retrofitted with the new countdown timers in order to comply with this new requirement. Current funding comes from both 2006 and 2010 Capital Improvement Project money, roughly $157,000 and $120,000. Each unit costs roughly $190, and 8 units are typically used per intersection. To compare, the current units without the countdown timer cost roughly $40 less per unit.

 Moving forward, all intersections with crosswalks will be retrofitted with countdown timers through regular maintenance work. The City will focus first in higher pedestrians areas like downtown and the University of Texas, then address outlying areas.

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Kelso Kelso over 6 years ago

That it great news.  Thanks for the response.

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