I returned to Australia from a trip to America. Despite the heat, Australia has a lot going for it, including a functioning government (it’s all a matter of degree).

But there is one feature from Washington, DC worth importing, and that’s the Pedestrian Countdown Clock. These often have times in excess of 45 seconds. Yes, pedestrians get the entire phase to cross the street, which prioritizes walking over turning movements.

Pedestrian countdown clock, source: Wikipedia.

The countdown clock does a few things:

  • It lets pedestrians know whether they can expect to make the light.
  • It guarantees the pedestrian the right-of-way as long as the number is greater than 0.
  • It points out the shamefulness of giving pedestrians a 6 second crossing time, which is typical in much of Sydney.

Note, Melbourne is getting these, though they will operate a bit differently. Matt Burke from Queensland reports that they’ve been in use throughout much of the city centre of Brisbane for a few years now.