What are the lights on pedestrian crossings called?


What are the lights on pedestrian crossings called?


Pedestrian crossings play a vital role in ensuring the safety of pedestrians on busy roads. These crossings are equipped with a variety of lights that serve different purposes. In this article, we will explore the various types of lights used on pedestrian crossings, their functions, and how they contribute to ensuring pedestrian safety.

1. Standard Crossing Lights:

Standard crossing lights, also known as traffic signal lights or pedestrian signal heads, are the most common type of lights used on pedestrian crossings. Positioned above the crossing, these lights are designed to regulate traffic flow and provide visual cues to pedestrians. The standard crossing lights typically consist of three lights: red, amber, and green.

- Red light: When the red light is illuminated, it indicates that pedestrians must not enter the road and must wait for the signal to change. This light corresponds to the "stop" signal for vehicles.

- Amber light: The amber light serves as a warning signal, indicating that the signal is about to change. Pedestrians are advised to avoid starting to cross the road during this phase.

- Green light: When the green light is illuminated, it signifies that pedestrians can safely cross the road. They should ensure that all vehicles have come to a complete stop before proceeding.

2. Pedestrian Countdown Signals:

In addition to the standard crossing lights, many pedestrian crossings are equipped with pedestrian countdown signals. These countdown signals provide pedestrians with an accurate measure of the time remaining to safely cross the road before the signal changes.

Pedestrian countdown signals typically consist of a numerical display indicating the remaining seconds or a symbol such as a flashing pedestrian icon. This feature helps pedestrians determine if they have sufficient time to cross the road or if they should wait for the next signal cycle.

3. Audible Signals for Visually Impaired Individuals:

To ensure the safety and accessibility of pedestrian crossings for visually impaired individuals, some crossings incorporate audible signals. These signals emit distinct sounds to alert pedestrians when it is safe to cross.

One common type of audible signal is the audible pedestrian locator tone (APLT), also known as the "chirper." It emits a repeated ticking sound to guide visually impaired pedestrians to the crosswalk. At the crossing point, a more distinct audible signal, such as a voice message or a beeping tone, is triggered to notify pedestrians when the green signal is illuminated.

4. Bi-Directional Lights:

Bi-directional lights are a type of crossing lights that are installed on large intersections or multiple-lane roads. Unlike standard crossing lights, which are positioned only on one side of the road, bi-directional lights provide signals on both sides of the crossing. This design allows pedestrians to clearly see the signal, regardless of their location.

Bi-directional lights are typically placed on a pole in the center of the pedestrian island or on separate poles on each side of the road. These lights ensure that pedestrians on either side of the road can easily determine when it is safe to cross.

5. Halo Lights:

Halo lights, also known as crosswalk beacons or pedestrian-activated warning signals, are additional lights installed at some pedestrian crossings. These lights are designed to enhance the visibility of pedestrians, especially during low light conditions or when traffic conditions are challenging.

Halo lights are activated by pedestrians pressing a button or using a motion sensor. Once activated, the lights emit a series of flashing or steady-burning lights, drawing the attention of drivers and alerting them to the presence of pedestrians. These lights help reduce the risk of accidents and increase pedestrian safety in areas with high pedestrian activity.


The lights used on pedestrian crossings serve a crucial role in ensuring the safe and orderly movement of both pedestrians and vehicles. From standard crossing lights to countdown signals, audible signals for visually impaired individuals, bi-directional lights, and halo lights, each type of light plays a specific role in enhancing pedestrian safety.

By providing clear visual cues, audible indications, and increased visibility, these lights contribute to minimizing accidents and creating a safer environment for pedestrians. It is essential for both pedestrians and drivers to understand and follow the signals provided by these lights to prevent any mishaps and facilitate smooth traffic flow at pedestrian crossings.


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