What Is a Pelican Crossing and Its Types?

What is pelican crossing


As we all are aware of zebra crossing because of its remarkable mark as black and white stripes, which signifies zebra itself. Pelican crossing is also one type of crossing used by the pedestrian (the person who has taken walking as a mode of transportation) to cross the road.

Crossing the road in metropolitan cities without any type of crossing is a tough task.

What Is a Pelican Crossing?

Pelican Crossing is a short form Pedestrian Light Controlled crossing mainly used on the roads of the UK and Ireland. We all are well aware of the traffic lights which regulate according to the drivers on the road, i.e., between red, amber, and green.

In contrast, there were no such signals present previously, which signified that now pedestrians can cross the road safely. The help of pelican crossing made it easy for pedestrians to cross the road, including visually impaired people. 

How does the Pelican Crossing work?

How does the Pelican Crossing work

There are yellow and colored boxes on either side of the road with a “WAIT” button. The pedestrians who wish to cross the road must press that button which ultimately will reflect in the traffic light. There are two signals present in the traffic light, which tell when to go and when to stop.

  • A Green still person signifies that now pedestrians can cross the road safely.
  • A Red still person signifies that it is not safe to cross the road.

If the pedestrian who wishes to cross the road press the wait button, then the traffic light will illuminate the green still person and the drivers have to wait until all the pedestrians have crossed the road.

In some parts of the world where pelican crossing is used, it comes with a countdown timer with the traffic lights, which tells the pedestrians to cross the road within that time limit.

Types of Crossing

Crossings are indicators that provide directions to the people crossing the roads it is usually for preventing accidents and creating a smooth flow of road transportation and its further operations.

1. Zebra Crossing

It is the only type of crossing where pedestrians are allowed to cross at any time by seeing on either side of the road, and the drivers have to wait for the pedestrians to cross the road until then they have to wait for the pedestrians to cross.

It is still recommended for pedestrians to cross the road by seeing whether any drivers are coming that way or not. In the United Kingdom, the drivers have to stop in front of the crossing even when there are no pedestrians to go through the crossing patrol.

2. Puffin Crossing

Puffin Crossing

It is very similar to that of a pelican crossing. There will be no traffic light in this type, which signifies a red and green still person, which illuminates when we press the wait button. Instead, there will be a yellow and black colored box on either side of the road.

There will be a green and red still person in the box with a button in it. In this, the pedestrians who wish to cross the road press the button, and when the green still person illuminates then, only the pedestrians are allowed to cross the road until then.

With the help of the sensors, the traffic light signals red till all the pedestrians have crossed the road.

It is extremely helpful for both the pedestrians and the drivers as it decreases the risk of accidents and traffic jams.

 3. Toucan Crossing

Toucan crossing

It is remarkably similar to puffin crossing as it also comes with sensors to detect whether all the pedestrians have crossed the road or are yet to do so. Still, in this case, apart from pedestrians, cyclists are also allowed to cross the road.

The word toucan itself signifies that “two-can” cross the road. The Toucan crossing is signified by the person standing and holding the cycle with the hand on the control panel. These are mainly used in the UK and Peru.

The area for this is much broader than other types of crossings. In this, the zig-zag lines are marked on the crossing area stating that the parking is prohibited in that area, and if someone does so, it will be against the government rules and will be charged with a punishable offense.

 4. Pegasus Crossing

Pegasus Crossing

It is remarkably similar to that of toucan crossing. In this case, the horse riders are also allowed to cross the road along with the pedestrians. It is also known as equestrian crossing; it is signified by the symbol of a horse displayed on the control panel.

In this case, there are two sets of buttons present at different levels of height, one is present at a normal height like that of in pelican crossing,

And the other one is two meters above the ground where a horse rider can easily reach and press the button for crossing the road without him getting down from the horse to cross the road.

It works similar to that of pelican and toucan crossing. It is advisable not to blow the horn aggressively while the equestrians are across the roads.

Control Panel sensors while crossing

Control pannel sensor while crossing

The control panel consists of two sensors one is PCD (Pedestrian Crossing Detector), and the other is PKD (Pedestrian Kerb Detector); if the pedestrians are crossing the road slowly, then the red signal will be on hold for a longer time, and if someone presses the button and walks off without crossing the road, then the PKD sensor will detect it and cancels the request made by the pedestrian.


All the pedestrians and drivers must follow the rules for different crossings according to the traffic rules to avoid accidents and traffic jams. It will be extremely helpful for the safety of everyone.

Some of these crossings are not available in every part of the world. The installation and awareness regarding all these crossings will help the people minimize the hazardous situations worldwide.

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