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Perth & Kinross Council launches trial of contactless crossings

Perth & Kinross Council is to launch a trial of new contactless crossings at eight crossings and junctions on Monday 26 April.

The SmartCross sensors allow people to activate the Green Man crossing without any physical contact, which will help reduce transmission of Coronavirus.

Users swipe their hand underneath the button to activate the Green Man rather than pressing it.

Designed for users with mobility issues, a special Bluetooth button can also be fitted to wheelchairs, walking canes or carried. These can be used to request a Green Man when the user is within two metres of a crossing.

A SmartTube for Parkinson's sufferers is also available.

Mark Butterworth, Head of Environmental and Consumer Services with Perth & Kinross Council, said: "We have been looking for a solution that allows people to use pedestrian crossings without having to touch the button and risk any spread of Coronavirus.

"Not only do these devices offer that protection, we also hope that they will make it much easier for people with mobility issues to use crossings and enjoy our town and city centres."

VisionPK and the Centre for Inclusive LivingPK are supporting the trial.

A spokesperson for VisionPK said: "As we move out of restrictions, it is likely that many people, especially individuals who are visually impaired, will feel slightly cautious moving about once familiar areas.

"Lifestyle requirements from being visually impaired could potentially increase the exposure to Covid-19 due to the need to frequently touch surfaces to identify things, help with orientation and to locate controls such as pedestrian crossings.

"VisionPK is delighted therefore that Perth and Kinross Council are trialling technologies to allow the activation of these crossings without the need to touch the control button. Working with the council, VisionPK will be supporting individuals who are visually impaired to trial this exciting new technology to evaluate how it can assist them to move about safely and with confidence. "

A spokesperson for the Centre for Inclusive LivingPK added: "Pedestrian Crossings have been an issue for disabled people for a long time, particularly if they have a walking aid, have impaired vision or are a wheelchair user trying to manoeuvre and negotiate the button. 

"Often the camber of the pavement is steep or the crossing itself too far away and the green man is gone by the time they are in a position to cross. 

"Members reported to CILPK that when the crossings were made automatic during lockdown it was much easier for them and were disappointed when that option was taken away, though they understood the frustrations of the drivers having to stop at so many crossings. 

"CILPK fully supports the work that PKC are carrying out with Smart Cross to find solutions and avoid annoyance for others and will be involved in the trials to ensure any complications are picked up from the outset".

The new devices will be trialled at the following locations from Monday 26 April.

Trial Sites

  • North Methven / Mill Street.
  • Atholl Street / Methven
  • Methven / High Street
  • Caledonian Road / The Lade
  • South Street / King Edward
  • Dunkeld Road / Bannatyne Place
  • Glover Street at Medical Centre, Perth
  • Muirs, Kinross