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Tampa is expanding its pedestrian safety tech to the rest of the city

pedestrian walking signal on a traffic light, next to the county courthouse in the background
Sky Lebron
/
WUSF Public Media
Campbell says they plan for the Leading Pedestrian Interval system to be at every intersection in the city by this time next year.

The city's smart mobility manager says the system should result in a 10-20% reduction in pedestrian and car traffic crashes where the system is installed.

The city of Tampa is expanding a program that aims to improve pedestrian safety along local roadways.

Tampa's Leading Pedestrian Interval system gives pedestrians an extra three to seven seconds to walk across crosswalks before cars adjacent to them are given the green light to turn.

Brandon Campbell, the city's smart mobility manager, says based on safety studies from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the system should result in a 10-20% reduction in pedestrian and car traffic crashes where the system is installed.

He says this is just another way to make the roadways safer for foot traffic.

"As we make our system safer, the natural consequences is that we would expect more people to walk,” Campbell said. “As congestion builds and as our connectivity builds, as options are made more clear to people that walking is a great way to go, we expect pedestrian volume to build."

Person walking across a street
Sky Lebron
/
WUSF Public Media
Tampa's Leading Pedestrian Interval system gives pedestrians an extra three to seven seconds to walk across crosswalks before cars adjacent to them are given the green light to turn.

He says the new system accomplishes three goals: It emphasizes that vehicles must yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk; it gives pedestrians more time to clearly demonstrate their intent to use the crosswalk and make themselves more visible; and it serves as a cue that the city prioritizes pedestrian safety and access.

The city has already implemented the Leading Pedestrian Interval System at 263 intersections in the city, including all of downtown. It started the process a couple of years ago, but need to have a more advanced software installed at the intersections before the implementing the system at those locations is possible.

“Which is significant because we're the first major city in Florida to have done so in a downtown area system-wide," Campbell said.

Campbell says plans call for the system to be at every intersection in the city by this time next year.

And, largely, Campbell says, pedestrians and people in motor vehicles won’t notice the difference.

“You're going to have the same ‘walk’ indication, the same countdown or flashing ‘don't walk’ indication,” Campbell said. “And for vehicles, the traffic signals are still the same.”

And overall, Campbell said these types of safety measures are needed to accommodate Tampa's growth.

“As part of the activation of our downtown network, whether it's the building up of Water Street or Gas Worx, or other standalone developments, there's a natural need to address pedestrian challenges in a more comprehensive way,” Campbell said. “And so the Leading Pedestrian Interval is one of those tools in our toolbox that we are implementing to help toward that end.”

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