Singapore Is Giving Its Senior Citizens the Power To Hold Up Traffic

For centuries, cities have struggled over how to get pedestrians across the street safely. In most parts of the world, that's accomplished through the use of traffic lights that operate at fixed intervals. These lights are often equipped with buttons that pedestrians can push to stop traffic. Unfortunately, studies have shown that many elderly people can’t cross in the allotted time. As a result, they’re more likely than younger pedestrians to avoid busy intersections, and more likely to get killed or injured while crossing the street. In Singapore, where the median age has doubled from 19 to 38 since 1970, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has tried to give elderly and disabled pedestrians the extra time they need. In 2009, LTA started a small pilot program at 5 intersections called Green Man Plus. Singaporeans who are over 60 or have disabilities can apply for a special version of the LTA fare card used on trains and buses. Swiping the card at a sensor at traffic signals gives them an extra 3-13 seconds to walk across, depending on the size of the crossing. Lights, beeps, and a vibration signal that the request has been accepted.