THE Land Transport Authority (LTA) will introduce new safety zones in five housing estates by the end of this year, in a bid to make the roads safer for elderly pedestrians.
To enhance safety for all road users, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has implemented various road engineering measures over the years, especially with vulnerable road users such as school children and the elderly in mind. Please refer to the Annex for photographs and more details of these measures.
I) School Zone and Enhanced School Zone Schemes
LTA has introduced the School Zone and Enhanced School Zone schemes to enhance road safety for school children along roads near primary schools and special schools.
School Zones are areas around schools, identified by “School Zone” signs (at the start and end of the zone), where additional road safety measures such as pedestrian crossings, parking restriction lines and “SLOW” road markings are introduced. Since 2004, the Enhanced School Zone scheme has been implemented along roads fronting all 181 primary schools where there are relatively high interactions between students and vehicular traffic. In addition to measures under the School Zone scheme, the Enhanced School Zone scheme also includes “SLOW SCHOOL” road markings and red-textured road surfaces to increase visibility and awareness of the special demarcated area. These features alert motorists that they are approaching a school zone and to slow down and exercise caution.
To further enhance road safety for school children, LTA will implement a series of new road safety initiatives at ten primary schools as a pilot this year. First, the speed limit along roads fronting these primary schools will be reduced to 40 km/h during certain hours of school activity. Second, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Traffic Police (TP), LTA has developed a comprehensive toolkit of School Zone safety initiatives. The toolkit will include different traffic calming measures and reminder messages, such as “LOOK” markings to remind pedestrians to check for traffic at zebra crossings and road markings to remind motorists to slow down.
In addition, starting from the second quarter of 2014, LTA will extend the existing “School Zone” signs to secondary school frontages to further raise the awareness of motorists when they approach secondary schools. This will be completed by end-2015.
II) Silver Zone Pilot
LTA will also improve road safety for the elderly by introducing a new concept called “Silver Zone” in residential areas with a high elderly population and relatively high accident rates involving the elderly. This is based on best practices overseas, such as in South Korea and New York, where similar zones have been established to enhance road safety for the elderly.
Under the Silver Zone scheme, LTA will apply a series of road safety enhancements to make the zone a safer environment for elderly pedestrians. These include signs to demarcate the zone, speed humps to slow down vehicles, centre dividers with railings to deter jaywalking, special markings on footpaths to guide the elderly to the nearest pedestrian crossings and transport amenities, as well as installing lifts at pedestrian overhead bridges where needed and feasible.
LTA will pilot Silver Zones at five locations in the following towns – Bedok North, Bukit Merah, Jurong West, Marine Parade and Yishun.
III) Cyclist Safety
LTA, the Singapore Cycling Federation and the Safe Cycling Taskforce have worked together to install 190 “Cyclists Ahead” signs along popular cycling routes in areas such as Upper Thomson, Mandai, Upper Changi, Kranji and Tanjong Rhu to alert motorists to the presence of cyclists on the roads. To further enhance the effectiveness of these signs, LTA is progressively refreshing these signs with a new design that has more vibrant and contrasting colours to enhance their prominence. 120 of these signs have already been upgraded.
LTA has also implemented 13 mid-block bicycle crossings in towns such as Tampines, Simei and Sembawang. These crossings allow cyclists to ride safely across roads separately from pedestrians without the need to dismount. LTA will complete six new ones at Taman Jurong and Changi-Simei by 2015.
IV) “LOOK” Markings and “Give Way to Pedestrians” Signs
To further enhance pedestrian safety, LTA has introduced “LOOK” markings at selected zebra crossings to remind pedestrians to watch out for traffic before crossing the roads. Besides serving as a visual reminder, these markings also complement the kerb drill taught to students in all primary schools to help them cross the road safely. LTA will paint the “LOOK” markings at another 150 zebra crossings this year.
Besides new road markings targeting pedestrians, LTA is also piloting a new design of the “Give Way to Pedestrians” signs at three selected signalised junctions – Rivervale Lane/ Rivervale Drive, Hougang Avenue 4/ Upper Serangoon Road and Punggol Road/ Punggol Central to provide better contrast and visibility to motorists, so that they will be more vigilant of crossing pedestrians when making right turns.
V) Black Spot Programme
The Black Spot Programme is LTA’s overall initiative to monitor and treat locations with a high incidence of traffic accidents. Similar road safety engineering programmes have been adopted in countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. Through a systematic method of identifying and analysing past accidents, the programme helps to prioritise and customise engineering treatments to reduce the number of accidents and severities of these accidents.
A black spot is delisted when it has shown consistent improvements, with the number of accidents falling below the threshold level. Since the introduction of the programme in 2005, an average of five to 10 locations are removed from the black spot list each year. An example where this programme has yielded positive results is at the Upper Serangoon Road/Upper Paya Lebar Road/ Boundary Road junction where there was a 75 per cent drop in the number of accidents, from 31 to seven accidents, over a three-year period.
There are currently about 90 locations under the Black Spot Programme. Starting from April 2014, LTA will expand the Black Spot Programme by tightening the threshold from more than 15 accidents over three years, to 12 or more accidents over three years. This will bring more accident-prone locations under the programme.