‘Red Carpet’ Crosswalks on Trial in UK to Reduce Pedestrian Accidents

Not only they'll, hopefully, reduce pedestrian accidents, they'll make you feel like a Hollywood star.
Derya Ozdemir

At some point during the day, almost everyone roams the city as a pedestrian, and sadly, pedestrian fatalities remain high. 2019 was the worst year for U.S. pedestrian deaths in decades, according to GHSA, with 6590 pedestrians killed, the highest number since 1988. This translates to 2.0 deaths per 100,000 people, making it the highest since 1997.

In order to reduce such accidents, the cities of Liverpool and Hull in the UK are starting to trial new pedestrian crossings. These new "red carpet" crossings are designed with data from behavioral insights and are expected to reduce road accidents and deaths. 

The new system will include a "blinged-up" crossing and a speedy-boarding system, akin to airports. 


Liverpool has the highest rate in pedestrian collisions in the UK, following London

The new design comes as a necessity since Liverpool has the highest adult deaths or serious injuries rate in pedestrian collisions in the UK outside London at 99 per 100,000 people. The council is working with a local behavioral science company So-Mo that has designed the new crosswalks after studying pedestrian behavior. 

According to the study, there was a high rate of evening collisions in the city center, which was a popular destination. Moreover, busy arterial roads were problematic too.

Hotspots to test out the new crosswalks

Such strategic locations such as a central accident hotspot on Hanover Street/Bold Street and a yet-to-be-confirmed high street on the outskirts of the city will be used to test out the new crosswalks.

According to, Nicola Wass, Chief Executive at So-Mo, the crossings "have been informed by science but designed with a deeper understanding of the people who use them," Cities Today reports

Goal is the key

Since people can be easily distracted and focused on a goal that might override their safety, such as having fun on a night out, such insights can be used to direct their attention.

The glamourous crossing in the Liverpool city center will include a red carpet and lights. According to Wass, "When people are processing and scanning the environment, they’ll be far more likely to see something like that and be attracted to it."

While the planned high street crossing is stated to be a very different design that is closely based on the faster boarding at an airport to reduce the waiting for pedestrians, no further details have been released yet.

Underway in early 2021

The crosswalks will get underway in early 2021 and will measure will be taken regarding the results of the trials. While it hasn't been made clear how, over two years of metrics will include the measurement of the increase in the number of crossings made inside the designated area and the increase in pedestrians using the crossing correctly. 

Ruth Stephenson, Head of Highways, Transport, Strategy, and Design at Hull City Council, says: "If we want to reduce casualties then we need to consider doing something different. This is a trial to understand how we can influence pedestrian behavior. If the trial is successful, we would want to consider if it is something we could introduce on a permanent basis."

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