Rhondda Cynon Taf Council is set to trial touchless pedestrian crossing technology at six sites across the area.
The trial is funded by Welsh Government as part of its support for sustainable transport measures in response to COVID-19.
The new setup will allow pedestrians to activate each of the signal controlled crossings by moving their hand under a sensor, instead of pushing a button. This detection technology is more reliable and efficient than the current button activation, and will help reduce the spread of coronavirus during the pandemic.
The technology will be trialled over four weeks, with installations and has begun this week. Stickers and signage will be placed at each crossing to inform pedestrians. If no issues arise during the trial, the technology could be implemented at all signal-controlled crossings in Rhondda Cynon Taf.
The trial is funded via support provided to councils by Welsh Government, announced by the Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport in June 2020 to improve safety and encourage sustainable and Active Travel. This is in response to the pandemic, but also to achieve longer-term improvements.
Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Cabinet Member with responsibility for Highways and Transportation, said: “The Council has welcomed funding from Welsh Government to carry out a trial for touchless technology at six well-used pedestrian crossings in Pontypridd, Talbot Green, Tonypandy, Ferndale, Mountain Ash and Aberdare. Installations will shortly get underway, with the trial lasting for four weeks.
“The technology will help reduce the spread of the virus during the COVID-19 pandemic, as we know it can live on surfaces for some time. But it also has other important advantages for the future – including that it is more reliable, and also provides a solution for people who experience difficulty with mobility and may find it difficult to reach a button in order to cross the road safely.
“This scheme is part of the Council’s commitment to increasing local walking and cycling provision and making it more accessible to everyone. The Council is hosting a public consultation about Active Travel in Rhondda Cynon Taf, as we invite residents’ views up until February 12. This will help us update our Integrated Network Map, outlining the proposed Active Travel routes to be created in the next 15 years, to be submitted to Welsh Government this year.”