Back in 2004, it was reported in U.S. national media that the “push-to-cross” buttons at most of New York City’s crosswalks were disconnected to prevent pedestrians from interrupting traffic flow, and it has just been revealed that now, in 2018, an even greater proportion of the City’s crosswalks have non-functional buttons.
The stated purpose of delaying pedestrians in this manner is to keep vehicles moving and reduce traffic jams. This may be all well and good when traffic is busy but this approach, when used around the clock, inevitably will annoy pedestrians.
It is too easy for so-called experts to claim that only four or five key problems cause the majority of road crashes. That claim is indeed true — and of course we teach trainees all about those issues — but to act as though these are the only dangers that drivers will ever face is incompetent and is asking for trouble. There are many seemingly minor problems that collectively still cause hundreds of thousands of crashes and far too many deaths and injuries in the USA every year. In whatever training time we have available to us, we teach our trainees how to comprehend and deal with many of these additional dangers, too.