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Pedestrian crossings

Details of pedestrian crossing facilities provided in Dorset and how to request a new crossing to be considered.

Signalled crossings

All signalled crossings are operated by pushing a button and waiting for signals to stop the vehicular traffic and then informing the pedestrian by way of lit (and when appropriate, audible or tactile) signals when it should be safe to cross.

The controlled types of crossing are:

  • PELICAN crossing - standard signalled crossing.  Pedestrians push a button to trigger the crossing facility A red signal is shown to pedestrians when a green signal is shown to traffic and vice-versa.  A certain amount of crossing time is provided

  • PUFFIN crossing - a more intelligent version of the standard signalled crossing.  The pushbutton box also houses the crossing symbols for pedestrians and is set at the side of the crossing so pedestrians are facing the direction of approaching traffic.  Motion detectors monitor the movement of pedestrians in the roadway and so a green signal for vehicles does not show until all pedestrians have safely reached the pavement.  Detectors on the pavement monitor pedestrians waiting to cross, so if a pedestrian pushes the button to cross - but then walks away, the crossing trigger is cancelled

  • TOUCAN crossing - a crossing designed for use by both pedestrians and cyclists.  Cyclists need not dismount to cross the road at these crossings.  They work in the same way as PUFFIN crossings, but the signals also display a cycle, as well as a pedestrian

  • Pegasus crossing - a crossing suited for horse riders as well as pedestrians.  Found frequently in rural locations at bridleway/road intersections, there are pushbutton facilities raised higher off the ground to allow horse riders to trigger the crossing facility

  • Zebra crossing - a crossing which is highlighted by flashing amber signals.  Drivers must give way to pedestrians when they move onto the crossing

Other pedestrian crossings can be found at traffic signal controlled junctions - where the phasing of the lights allow pedestrians to cross in between stages of traffic flow.

Facilities for pedestrians with a disability

All signalled crossings have facilities for partially sighted or hearing impaired pedestrians.

Audible signals

Audible 'bleeping' will sound at a crossing when the green man is shown and it should be safe to cross.

Important: audible signals will not sound at staggered crossings, or crossings in close proximity to other crossings. Dangerous situations can arise if a visually impaired pedestrian listens to an audible sound from a nearby crossing and crosses the road while the red man is displayed.

Rotating tactile cones

A cone (located underneath all push-button boxes) begins to turn when the green man is displayed. When it is not rotating, it is not safe to cross.


Most crossings have red tactile paving installed, which is laid in an approved pattern to 'lead' those who are blind or partially sighted to the position of the push button unit.

Crossing detection

At certain newer and upgraded crossings, detectors overlooking the road, monitor the progress of pedestrians from one side to the other. An ongoing revamp of crossings over time will eventually see all crossings in Dorset upgraded with this facility.

Mobility impaired pedestrians benefit from detectors holding a red light to vehicle traffic, until they are safely on the pavement, reducing the need to rush.

Uncontrolled crossings 

  • Pedestrian islands - pedestrian islands are constructed in the middle of the carriageway at points where pedestrians are likely to and are therefore encouraged to cross - where visibility is good.  They provide a safe refuge point for pedestrians because the road can be crossed in two stages

Request a pedestrian crossing

Learn more about how to request a pedestrian crossing

Report and track road issues and enquiries

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