UK
09/05/2014 11:17 BST | Updated 09/05/2014 11:59 BST

Traffic Lights Could Stay Red For Longer To Help Pensioners Cross Roads

Traffic lights are set to stay red for longer as ministers draw up plans to give Britain's ageing population longer to cross the road.

Crossing times are being "urgently" reviewed by ministers following concerns that pedestrians are not given enough time to get across busy roads.

elderly crossing road

The Government's plans for next year will phase out pelican crossings - where a green man is displayed on the opposite side of the road.

These will be replaced by “Puffin” crossings with sensors that extend the time that the “green man” flashes for if it detects someone taking a longer-than-average time to cross the road, the Telegraph reported.

Officials are also considering plans from Transport for London for a new type of crossing that detects how many people are waiting on the pavement in order to determine how long traffic needs to be stopped for.

The time given to cross the road has not been revised since the 1950s despite the nation's ageing population.

But critics of the plan say it will simply hold up traffic for longer, leading to more congestion.

Paul Watters, head of roads policy at the AA, told the Mirror: "I would prefer to see more of the countdowns that are a quite good indicator of your chances of getting across.

"I think it stands to reason that it will cause delays to traffic."

Crossing timings are based on a calculation that says people walk at four feet per second.

But last year researches from University College, London showed people over the age of 65 walked far slower.

The findings showed men over 65 walked at three feet per second and women at 2ft 7ins per second.

The researchers calculated this meant 7.5m people in Britain do not have enough time to cross the road safely.