We all know how Zebra crossings got their name, but how did Pelican, Puffin, Toucan, Wombat and Chicken Crossings get their names?
A pelican crossing is a formal pedestrian crossing consisting of midblock traffic signals that are activated by a pedestrian pushing a button. The name is derived from Pedestrian Light Controlled Crossing.
A puffin crossing is the same as a pelican crossing except that it is either activated automatically by sensors or pressure pads that knows when a pedestrian wants to cross the road and/ or has sensors to keep the traffic light red for traffic until there are no more pedestrians crossing the road. The name is derived from Pedestrian User Friendly Crossing.
A toucan crossing is the same as a pelican crossing except that in addition to red and green person symbols there are also red and green bicycle symbols that allow cyclists to cross without dismounting. The name is derived from the fact that ‘two can’ cross at the same time. I’m serious. Engineers do have a sense of humour.
A wombat crossing is a zebra crossing on top of a wide flat and elevated ‘road hump’. They might have been called humped zebras in the early days. My guess is that someone decided that naming them after images of roadkill wombats was more politically correct than humping zebras. I’d like to hear if anyone knows for sure.
There is no such thing as a chicken crossing but there should be so that they can cross the road and we will all know why they did.
David Wilkins, Principal & Senior Traffic Engineer.