London Pedestrians Cross at New Japanese-style "Scramble Crossing"

oxford circusphoto

Image from Metro

In a bid to make pedestrians' lives easier and safer, Oxford Circus, one of the busiest street crossings in London, has been redesigned. Today a copy of the Japanese "scramble crossing" design was unveiled, complete with Japanese drummers.

When the traffic lights turn red, cars in all directions have to stop and let pedestrians go. There is a 30 second window when walkers can cross in any diagonal configuration, not just corner to corner. Studies have shown that an X-shaped crossing is far more efficient. Given that thousands of shoppers cross at this busy intersection every day, it is hoped that this will alleviate congestion and make walking easier in the compact and busy area.


Images from BBC

As part of the £5M renovation all the barriers, curbs, railings and balustrades have also been removed. Now pedestrians will be able to flow across the streets and into subway entrances without bottlenecks. Sidewalk space has been enlarged by two thirds which is a real plus at an intersection where 30,000 people can pass through in peak times.

official oxford street photo

Since the whole concept has been modelled after the Shibuya station in Central Tokyo, the opening ceremonies had a Japanese flavour. Mayor Boris Johnson struck a huge cymbal as Japanese musicians played taiko drums. A giant X, in the form of 196 ft. of red ribbon was also unfurled by devotees of cult Japanese Manga characters dressed in colourful costumes.

As the Mayor said: "This project is a triumph for British engineering, Japanese innovation and good old fashioned common sense. The head scratching frustration caused by the previous design is over and we've brought one of the world's greatest crossroads into the twenty first century. Being able to cross in an oblique rather than a perpendicular fashion will make Oxford Circus incredibly more efficient for the millions of pedestrians and road users that use the crossing every year."

shibuya cross.jpg

Shibuya crossing in Tokyo has to be one of the busiest pedestrian crossings in the world.

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