Nugget of Knowledge: Timing on a walk/don’t walk sign


You’re about to step off the curb and walk across the street. The light is showing “Walk.” How long before it changes to “Don’t Walk?”

Most cities go by what’s called the Traffic Engineer’s Handbook. It says people walk at an average speed of six feet per second.

The handbook uses a formula.

It works like this: Take the total number of feet across the street and divide by six. Subtract that figure from the total amount of time that the light will be green. That’s how long your Walk signal should last.

So if the street is 42 feet wide and your green light in that direction is 30 seconds long, divide 42 by six. The answer is seven, and subtract seven from those 30 seconds.

The “Don’t Walk” signal should start flashing at about 23 seconds.

The Handbook says that if many senior citizens live in the area, lower the crossing speed to four feet per second.

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