Walk Tall!

X Crossings: Will India ever see them?

The X Crossing or pedestrian scramble as it is called is required in India to give preference to pedestrians at major intersections in the country

At the ITO intersection in Delhi situated a few hundred metres from the city police headquarters, crossing the road is a nightmare for pedestrians, who are forced to literally run to escape from menacing motor traffic. The story is repeated in all the major intersections in cities across the country where vehicles are more important than human beings. Traffic signals seldom stop for motor vehicles allowing ‘pedestrian only’ movement so that walkers can navigate a crossing in peace. Almost always, the light turns green for the pedestrians on one side while the vehicular traffic continues on the other. In a scenario where the volume of pedestrian traffic is high, X crossing is favoured in major cities across the world.

Typical Indian Junction

Typical Indian Junction

X crossing works like this: pedestrians are allowed to cross diagonally instead of taking several turns at an intersection to reach the other side of the road. Meanwhile, the lights turn red for all motor vehicles from all sides. Introduced first in the United States, it has been a major success in Japan and the United Kingdom. At the busy Oxford Circus in London, the X crossing has turned out to be a success story for pedestrian movement ever since it was introduced four years ago. “Instead of going up and down at an intersection to cross the road, it is always better to allow pedestrians to cross diagonally,” says Ms Mukti Advani, a scientist at the Central Road Research Institute in New Delhi.

 Chicago

Figure 2 A view of an X crossing in Chicago[1]

 According to Ms Advani, motorized traffic always gets the priority in India. “If you want to promote sustainable promote, first priority should be given to non-motorised transport, next comes public transport like buses and the last should be cars,” she adds. “We always talk in favour of non-motorised transport, but we fail when it comes to the implementation stage.”


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