Centre for Road Safety

Making intersections safer

Our trial of pedestrian countdown timers at six busy Sydney locations found that the timers work best at intersections where pedestrians are the only people on the road with a green light.

Pedestrian countdown timers have been installed across NSW at busy intersections to improve pedestrian safety. The timers are designed to help encourage pedestrians to clear the intersection before there is any chance of danger.

Crossing in time

There were 266 pedestrians killed and 9023 injured on NSW roads between 2009 and 2013. Almost a quarter of these crashes were at signalised intersections. Managing safety around intersections is critical for pedestrian safety.

Pedestrian countdown timers encourage pedestrians to cross within the allotted time to reduce the risk of them being hit by a vehicle. Currently, pedestrians are not aware of how much time they have to cross the road when the flashing red signal appears and may try to cross when there is not enough time.

Our video explains how the trial assessed pedestrian countdown timers. Read a transcript.


How the timers work

A yellow countdown timer replaces the flashing red signal and displays the number of seconds left for pedestrians to cross before the red don’t walk signal appears.

Knowing how many seconds are left on the timer helps pedestrians to better judge if they should start to cross the road. This decreases the number of pedestrians on the crossing after the red signal appears, reducing the chances of pedestrians being hit by vehicles.

For visually impaired pedestrians, the audio-tactile facilities at crossings will operate as usual.

Information collected

During the trial, cameras monitored pedestrian, driver and other road user activity and measured whether pedestrian safety was improved at the selected locations.

Trial locations

Sydney CBD

  • Pitt and Goulburn streets
  • Park and Pitt streets
  • Elizabeth and Market streets


  • Victoria Avenue and Archer Street


  • Campbell and Marsden streets
  • Parkes and Station streets