IF YOU have ever hit the pedestrian crossing button repeatedly and have expected the lights to change shortly afterwards and take you safely to your destination, you may have barked the wrong tree for 24 years.
Whether striking the button has any effect on the lights has been the subject of powerful debate in the province for many years.
But the answer varies depending on in which state or city you cross the road.
Unfortunately for Sydneysiders, if you pressed the button in an attempt to change the signal between 7 am and 7 pm Monday to Thursday and 7 am to 9 pm on Friday – you are for a while fooled.
That's because in many parts of the city the signals during these times are set to & # 39; automatic pedestrian phases & # 39 ;, meaning that the button becomes unusable with large clicks. And so it is since 1994.
It changes slightly on Saturday when the automated phase is moved from 8.30 to 21.00. However, serial button bashers will be happy to discover that Sunday is a day when you can really make a difference.
For this special day of the week, the automatic phases are disabled and your button-press skills for the whole day will have a direct impact on stopping traffic.
A Transport spokeswoman for NSW said that these automated phases are carried out in areas with a "high level of pedestrian activity, at specific times of the day".
"These phases are constantly being revised on the basis of demand profiles from road users and other changes that may affect the network," said the spokesperson.
"Shorter waiting times have kept pedestrians moving and may potentially reduce the risk of pedestrian and falls."
The system also adjusts automatic times to accommodate larger volumes of pedestrians during events such as major sporting events.
It comes as the port city seems to be cutting back on waiting times for pedestrians.
Numerous studies have shown that if pedestrians are forced to wait more than a minute to cross the road, this leads to more illegal crossings.
In January, the waiting time for cars, bicycles and pedestrians in Sydney was limited for the first time.
Waiting times have dropped from about two minutes to 90 seconds – this should be the absolute maximum time you have to wait to cross the road all over the city.
At many intersections in the CBD there are now "double-phased" lights that shorten the waiting times for pedestrians to approximately 45-55 seconds.
A Transport spokesman for NSW told news.com.au that these automatic phasing crossings were all centered in the CBD, North Sydney and Parramatta. For everywhere else in the state, the general rule is: pressing the button makes a difference.
However, there is still a long way to go for Sydney, because studies show 30 seconds is the optimal time that both children and adults are prepared to wait before they surrender to risky crosswise behavior.
Many large cities around the world are also looking for waiting times for pedestrians. For example, London has successfully shortened its waiting times at 200 intersections to a maximum of 40 seconds.
HOW DOES IT WORK IN OTHER STATES?
It's all about timing in Queensland.
A Transport and Main Roads spokesman said that during busy pedestrian moments the signals are timed automatically, so that pressing the button makes no difference.
"Outside these hours, all pedestrian traffic lights require that the pedestrian presses the button to activate the zebra crossing," he said.
Pressing the button makes a difference.
A spokesman for the Main Road Roads said that pedestrian crossings are not on an automatic timer.
"When a person activates the pedestrian signal button that interrupts the traffic phase of the signals, in which the pedestrian request is recorded to exceed the signal phasing," said a spokesman.
At the top, crossings show green as part of an automatic cycle, but it is good to push them for safety.
"By pressing the button at the junction, a request is registered with the signal management system and priority is given to the zebra crossing", according to a spokesperson for the Ministry of Transport.
Pedestrians in Victoria get the same deal as the Northern Territory.
VicRoads, director of road operations, Dean Zabrieszach said that pressing the button sends a signal that people are waiting to cross, but it will not let it turn green faster.
"The timing of the activation of the green hiking sign depends on the flow of traffic of vehicles and the status of signaling in adjacent intersections."
The ACT has the same system, where pressing the button registers that someone is waiting and the green man appears at the next point in the cycle.
How long you wait depends on where the intersection is. Some work in a linked network while others are independent.
"Where the intersection is part of a coordinated network, the waiting time varies, sometimes pedestrians have to wait for the intersection to perform other requested phases before returning to the stage where pedestrians can cross the intersection," said a spokesman.
Waiting times at independent intersections depend on the traffic volume.
The short answer is yes, pressing the button does matter how long you wait, said a State Growth spokeswoman.
But it depends where you are. If the traffic light is part of a fixed plan, the green man appears on the basis of an automatic cycle.
During off-peak hours and non-working days, the green man is only displayed when you press the button. Waiting times depend on how busy the intersection is.
But most importantly, State Growth confirmed: "The myth that you quickly press the button to call the pedestrian green is only a myth."
In South Australia, an automated system performs pedestrian crossings.
"In the CBD, some traffic lights automatically change to the pedestrian phase, at busier intersections between 6 am and 10 pm, seven days a week", according to a spokesperson for the Planning, Transport and Infrastructure Department.
The waiting time depends on how busy the road is and when the button is pressed. Some places, such as pedestrian areas or shopping areas, have fewer waiting times outside peak hours to give hikers priority.