Crossing Guard

Over the past several years street-crossing signals featuring countdown lights have slowly appeared at intersections in various cities, informing pedestrians how much time they have to cross. In Taipei this idea received a new twist with the addition of a green man that runs increasingly faster as time runs out. The LED figure’s motion is animated in a sequence of seven different positions. The cue to stop is a red standing figure. Due to the signals’ overwhelming success, full implementation of the lights at each of the city’s 1,364 crosswalks—originally scheduled for 2010—has been moved up to 2006. Conceived by Taipei’s office of traffic engineering in an effort to address aggressive street traffic, the idea is catching on elsewhere: similar running-man lights have been spotted in Japan and Hong Kong.