puffin crossing design are a modern type of pedestrian crosswalk. They are a form of ‘smart’ crossing and use sensors to detect when pedestrians are using the crosswalk. This allows the crossing to be more reactive to traffic, so it’s less likely to stop people from being able to cross the road. Pedestrians use puffin crossings by pressing the control box and waiting for the green person symbol to appear. This is similar to how pelican crossings work, however puffin crossings are more reactive and the time it takes to get across the road can vary.
The puffin crossing name derives from the first letters of ‘Pedestrian User-Friendly INtelligent’ (PUFIN). They were introduced in 2016 and are used to replace older pelican crossings, though you will still see both types of crossing in use. Puffin crossings differ from pelican crossings in that their instruction lights are displayed on the near side of the road, rather than across the road.
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They also use two different types of sensors to intelligently control traffic and pedestrian movements, unlike pelican crossings which only change colour based on pre-set intervals. The sensors include pedestrian crossing detectors and pedestrian kerb detectors. This allows them to detect if pedestrians are taking longer than usual to cross the road and can hold the red light for as long as necessary.
As a driver, you must wait for pedestrians to completely clear the crossing before moving off. This is because puffin crossings have a built-in system to make sure all the people who need to cross are able to do so before allowing motor traffic to progress. This is why the signal will sometimes flash to amber – it’s important you don’t move off until there is no more pedestrians on or at the crossing.