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An innovative new road crossing solution has been developed in a bid to improve pedestrian safety in Liverpool.

The experimental and potentially life-saving crossing solution, known as the “Compli Crossing”, features a series of pop-art inspired shapes and “nudges”. It offers pedestrians a quicker road boarding experience, allowing them to get from A to B in the fastest way possible.

As well as reducing crossing times, this ultimately hands the road priority over to the pedestrian rather than the driver. It’s hoped that these abstract characteristics will help commuters navigate the city in a safer, yet prioritised manner.

The design is the result of a Liverpool-based group called Smiling Wolf and a behavioural science company located in Northern England named So-Mo.

So-Mo specialises in the studies of pedestrian behaviour in urban and city-based environments, with a desire to provide commuters with a safe and efficient city-nav experience.

Currently, the new type of crossing is on trial at two locations in Liverpool. This is due to the city’s infamous “collision hotspots”, some of which hold the UK’s highest rates for adult deaths and/or serious injuries. The first iteration can be found at Hanover Street (one of the most dangerous crossing points in the UK), while another has been introduced in the Old Swan area.

Funding came from the Road Safety Trust (RST) and the Merseyside Road Safety Partnership (MRSP), who are working to reduce Liverpool’s alarming rate of casualties at road crossings.

Within Liverpool, 1 out of 5 adult pedestrian casualties occur at pedestrian crossings. With previous attempts to address this proving unsuccessful, the RST and MRSP have decided to try a more radical solution.

The crossings have been introduced alongside the easing of lockdown restrictions, which is expected to bring a substantial increase in city footfall. Along with the rise in footpath occupancy comes the increased utilisation of pedestrian crossings. This is said to raise the risk of a crossing-related collision up to a staggering potential of 99 per 100,000 people.

Councillor Dan Barrington from Liverpool City Council said: “These colourful crossings So-Mo have developed are looking at the whole picture – the environment, the location, behaviour.

“A huge amount of work has gone into their designs and I look forward to seeing the results of the trials and whether they will change the public’s approach to the crossings.”

The crossing solution will be monitored throughout the two-week trial stage, with unique engagement sessions planned for different groups of users. This includes dedicated sessions for users with disabilities, too. If the trial is successful we could see the implementation of this art-based crossing across the country.

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