Caught red handed

On the 19th October 2015 I noticed something quite alarming on my drive into University ( and don’t worry I was in the passenger seat). This is the busy intersection at the bottom entrance of the University of New South Wales (UNSW) on Anzac Parade.

12116016_10153029809705044_2915957560525502218_n copy

(Click photo to enlarge) 

Note the elderly female in the bottom right hand side of the frame who began to cross the road as soon as the Green Man walking signal turned, along with numerous other pedestrians.

To my horror I watched as the Red Man (DON’T WALK) signal switched as the elderly lady, probably in her late 70’s and with a walking aid only just reached half way across the long stretch of main road.A handful of cars on the opposite side of the road heading towards the city moved slightly forward as they impatiently waited for their GO signal. At this point the elderly pedestrian was still crossing the road, clearly agitated and anxious at the pile up of revving cars beside her.

The elderly female you will be happy to know, made it to the other side, but only just. The big truck in the far lane was only inches away from the pedestrian as she leaped onto the footpath almost simultaneously as the cars where given the GO ahead. This is the kind of situation we see too often, were aged pedestrians are left on the road for many seconds after younger pedestrians have made it across.

I want to change this.

I want to give aged pedestrians the best possible care through improved safety measures that allow them to cross safety and without fear or stress.I want to introduce a system that provides seniors with the best possible safety at traffic intersections.

I want the NSW Government and Roads and Maritime Service to consider my Tap and Increase the Gap, Senior Step Card initiative.

Have you ever seen this happen? How do you think we could improve this picture?

Share your experiences below and hashtag #tapandincreasethegap

A click away from change

Nine News- Three pedestrians killed in 24 hours

The death toll this year in New South Wales has risen to 49, 17 higher than the same time last year. Between Sunday night and Monday morning on October 11th 2015, less than 24 hours, 3 pedestrians were hit and killed in our state. Here at Tap and Increase and Gap we believe preventative measures can be put in place to ensure these startling statistics do not continue to rise.

We encourage you to sign our petition:

Make our streets senior safe

Our primary goal is to improve the safety of seniors at traffic intersections across New South Wales. We would like to implement a Senior Step Card system that would allow aged pedestrians over 65+ receive up to 10 seconds additional of the green walking man to ensure they have greater chance of crossing safely.

The petition is addressed to the state government and Roads Minister, Mr Duncan Gay.

With your help we can continue to make necessary changes to prevent pedestrian fatalities and injuries.

Sign our Petition!

Be sure to also keep up to date with our Facebook and Twitter accounts. 

words by: Alessi Ilieff

Intersection lights for safety and social around the world


A city in the UK replaced pedestrian signs with figures of gay couples to encourage equality and acceptance


Dancing traffic light encourages pedestrian safety in Spain through entertainment as they wait for the assigned “go” walking signal

Click the link below and watch the dancing man in action:



German green woman introduced to bid redress sexism


Intersection lights in London that cater for Police Horseman


Students in Switzerland create traffic lights that allow pedestrians on the opposite side of the road to verse each other in pingpong in hopes to encourage people wait for designated safe walking signals

Comment below and hashtag #TAPANDINCREASETHEGAP

Which intersection is your favourite? What would you choose to put up if you had the option?

Would you like to see an light for the elderly? 

Don’t forget to sign our petition to the NSW government to help implement the Senior Step Card


A letter to the Roads Minister

6th October, 2015

Dear Mr Duncan Gay,

The New South Wales community shares your concern with the safety of pedestrians on our roads. As recent as August this year your government has taken positive steps forward to improve and increase the safety of those walking our streets. The next step for pedestrian safety is the Senior Step Card.  Here at Tap and Increase the Gap we are concerned for the safety of our increasing ageing population and the rise of senior pedestrian fatalities. The effectiveness of the 40km school zone system has urged us to implement a new system specifically targeted at senior safety.

Of the 47 pedestrians who have been killed in New South Wales this year those aged over 60 account for nearly 35%. With the number of Australian people aged 65 to 84 said to double by 2050 and the number of people 84+ to quadruple, the issue of safe senior mobility must be addressed. The current intersection traffic systems operating across New South Wales does not cater effectively for the older population as they have difficultly crossing in the allocated times. The result is aged Australians are more likely to suffer injuries and accidents than younger pedestrians.

Our solution to you, is the introduction of a system we have called, Tap and Increase the Gap. New South Wales residents over 65 will be eligable to receive a Senior Step Card in conjunction with their opal travel card. Certain traffic intersections across the state will be fitted with a new system that allows seniors to tap their card and receive up to 10 seconds additional walking time crossing the road. They will be able to tap their special edition opal card, the senior step card on the intersection buzzer. After the Green Man timer is up the red walking man or countdown begins and during this time the green man turns to flashing blue to signal to drivers that a senior is crossing the road.

This system however can be subject to change. We are interested in hearing your feedback.

We pledge to you, a program trial of Senior Step Card scheme at selected traffic intersections across the state.


Alessi Ilieff, Founder of Tap and Increase the Gap. 



Have your say below and hashtag #TAPANDINCREASETHEGAP

What would you like to see the state government do on our roads?


New South Wales receives its second makeover


Flashing Red to Countdown 

The flashing red man will be replaced by a countdown timer at busy intersections across NSW with Sydney receiving a bulk of the new systems.


Don’t Walk Red Man 

will be replaced by a new countdown system


29 busy intersections have received the new system with most in the CBD, Bondi Junction and Darlinghurst. The countdown will soon make its way to Parramatta, Liverpool, Wagga Wagga, Albury and Cessnock.

The improved pedestrian safety system is part of a 1.5 million dollar program set up by the NSW Government and Roads Minister Duncan Gay to improve the states roads.

The red man is taking a walk and allowing for a new system to step in: A yellow countdown timer will follow after the green walk phase and will indicate to pedestrians exactly how long they have to cross. The red man– “don’t walk” will appear again after the countdown has completed and will remain until the next green walk signal.

Similar systems can be seen in operation in some of the busiest cities in the world including New York and London.

Below are a list of new countdown intersections

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 12.46.28 pm

Road Safety Transport

The NSW government is taking important steps to increase pedestrian safety across the state. Is the next step for NSW the Senior Step Card?

Read these articles below to find out more about the NSW countdown systems:

SKY News

Sydney Morning Herald

Have your say below, hashtag #TAPANDINCREASETHEGAP

Do you think this system will be a good change? Would you like to see more of the countdown timer?

Have you ever experienced a countdown timer in another city? Tell us your experience!

But why does the system need to change?

With a growing pedestrian death toll in NSW and an estimated additional 1900+ pedestrians injured yearly, with half of the incidents occurring at signalled intersections (Safe Driver Directory), affirmative action needs to change this alarming reality. The average Green Walking Man signal in NSW is 22-20 seconds (Road Safety NSW Gov). When that timer is complete the Red Man or Do Not Walk signal flashes, on average between 6- 3 seconds.

A person crossing the road at most NSW traffic intersections will have been 28-26 seconds ( Less than half a minute to cross the road safety

Aged pedestrians face greater difficultly crossing the road due to increased risks of physical, visual and mental impairments and disabilities.

The Senior Step Card aims at providing up to 10 additional seconds of Green Walking Man for seniors. If seniors receive the extra walking time they need to safety cross at an intersection then the number of pedestrian fatalities and injuries of over 60’s will improve in NSW.


Is 22-20 seconds enough time to safety cross an intersection?

Have you ever found yourself running or quickly walking just to reach the footpath safely?

Don’t forget to visit our Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates

Sydney Traffic Lights of the Times – From Then to Now


Sydney, Australia 1933. 

The first electric traffic signal in Australia on the corner of Sydney’s Market and Kent Street

(Sydney Morning Herald, Aug 6th 2015)

Four posts, each carrying three sets of three-coloured lights, have been erected at the street corners, and broken “stop” lines have been painted in yellow on the roadway. Signal changes are effected through special “detectors” fitted in the road surface. These register the passage, speed, and direction of every vehicle passing over them, and the appropriate light signals are shown automatically,being exactly adjusted to the traffic flow at the moment.

October 14, 1933, (Fairfax Archives, SMH)


Man installing traffic signals.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Australia received the first traffic intersection signals 19 years after they were first introduced in Cleveland, Ohio, United States 1914.



In 1974, key groups like the Roads and Traffic Authority NSW, introduced what is known as the Sydney Coordinated Adaptive Traffic System (SCATS) which is a computerised traffic light management system designed at reducing delays and improving fuel economy on traffic city streets.

The traffic lights at intersections can adapt quickly to congestion and avoid traffic delays and road blocks, changing the timing of traffic lights in response to traffic. These changes are noticeable during peak hour.

While SCATS was developed to improve traffic flow around busy city streets, how does it effect pedestrians? If traffic flow is constantly increasing and decreasing, what additional measures have been put in place to protect vulnerable pedestrians who are unable to notice traffic changes?




Fast forward over eighty years to the standard Australian traffic intersection lights.



Have you ever noticed the SCATS system taking place?

The first step


The NSW government has taken preventative measures by improving the current traffic intersection system.


Around an eighth, 560,  of NSW traffic intersection lights will be adjusted from August 2015 to make pedestrian crossings safer. The changes effect motorists turning through an intersection where pedestrians are also entitled to cross.  The problem was highlighted as when the lights are both green for pedestrians and motorists to turn.The scheme includes delaying motorists by up for four seconds and in some cases a flashing orange light to warn motorists to be alert to pedestrians.

The incentive comes after a coronial recommendation in response to two fatalities in 2012 and 2009. The number of pedestrian fatalities are on the rise having increased by 8 to 35 this year compared to the same time last year.  (Sydney Morning Herald, Aug 5th 2015) .These alarming statistics were named a “dire warning” by Roads Minister Duncan Gay.

With half of the states fatalities and road crashes occurring at signalled intersections (Roads and Maritime), it is to no surprise that improved safety measures are being installed. The issue can be linked both to people disobeying the controls and the system itself.

Some of the streets with the traffic light overhaul already installed including Pitt Street, Park Street, King Street, Market Street, Sussex Street, York Street and Castlereagh Street.

This initiative is a good start to improving pedestrian safety in NSW.
‪#‎TAPANDINCREASETHEGAP‬ we believe, is the next step in providing increased protection to pedestrians, especially to those at the greatest risk.

Have your say below and  hashtag #TAPANDINCREASETHEGAP

Is the NSW government doing enough to protect pedestrians?

Will these new measures work?

Plans that protect our youth and seniors

Protecting our young and old

Protecting our young and old

Our goal at Tap and Increase the Gap is to create a safety initiative using

the Senior Step Card system that, like 40km school zones,

improve the safety of pedestrians who are at the greatest risk.

The 40km school zone is a case study that has been closely analysed by us, in our mission to further improve pedestrian safety for vulnerable groups of the community who face the highest risks on the road. Among children, aged adults are one of the most susceptible groups.

The success of the NSW 40km school zones is an indication to us at Tap and Increase the Gap that the Senior Step Card system will work to benefit a group of the community who face increased danger as pedestrians. We believe that with an aged focused safety system reductions in pedestrian casualties, fatalities and injuries will be seen.

The Road and Traffic Authority (RTA) , NSW Police and the Department of Education and Training worked together to introduce 40km school zones. Tap and Increase the Gap hopes to work with these organisations to implement the next stage of NSW road and pedestrian safety measures.

We have used the basis of the school zone initiative to formulate our findings that with specific aged target pedestrian safety measures, the number of casualties decreases over time. Tap and Increase the Gap is the next step in NSW pedestrian safety.


Do you think #TAPANDINCREASETHEGAP could have the same success? Why, why not?

Comment below- Share your thoughts and concerns 

Pedestrian Safety Systems in NSW – 40km school zones

To formulate a successful safety initiative for senior pedestrians, Tap and Increase the Gap studied the effectiveness of pedestrian safety systems internationally and locally.

The graph below shows the decline in the number of fatalities of NSW school aged pedestrians over the space of 10 years since the introduction of 40km school zones.

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 9.06.49 pm

Figure 1.

NSW Centre of Road, Safety and Traffic Authority 2010

The initiative shows the steady decline of casualties due to increased safety precautions and systems specifically targeted at reducing the likely hood of collisions with younger pedestrians. The NSW 40km school zone includes a reduced speed limit to 40km with all roads with direct access to schools.

  • 1992  –   Reduced speed limits were introduced across NSW schools and the likely presence of younger pedestrians
  • 2001  –   Minister for Roads announced 40km school zones
  • 2003  –  10, 000 school zones were installed at 3,154 NSW schools.
Many schools in NSW are fitted with this signage

Many schools in NSW are fitted with this signage

The 40km school zones apply on NSW school days. The signs indicate operating hours and speed limit. The initiative received an overwhelming support from motorists.

The system was introduced to reduce speed and minimise the risk and impact of collisions and lower casualties. The last NSW fatality at a school zone was in 2006.

Flashing light signs are now the preferred measure

Flashing light signs are now the preferred measure

Since the initial initiative 1, 350 schools in NSW have been fitted with flashing light signs. These, increase visibility and awareness to drivers. There are a further 1, 500 that are expected to be installed by the end of 2015.

For more information on 40km school zones in NSW visit : Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) Report 2010

Are the 40km school zones effective? What would you improve about the system?

Have your say online, comment below.