Several pedestrian road crossing signs across London have been updated to replace the walking man with a person using a wheelchair in recognition of the different needs of Londoners.

New green wheelchair user traffic light signals have been installed Earl’s Court, King’s Cross, Liverpool Street, Tower Hill and Whitechapel, and were suggested by three-time Olympian rowing champion Captain Pete Reed OBE to represent disabled people.

Pete Reed OBE crossing the road (c) TfL

Pete Reed approached TfL with his idea of a wheelchair user traffic signal because he wanted to draw attention to the large disabled population in London and beyond, for whom access and ease of travel is essential to make the most of the city, as well as ensuring that traffic signals are representative of disabled people in a diverse and inclusive global city.

The locations for the new wheelchair user traffic signals have been selected based on their proximity to busy tube stations that also offer step-free access and Yunex Traffic installed the signs at no cost to TfL.

Pete Reed OBE, said: “As an Olympic athlete and naval officer, I spent my early adult life at the peak of human fitness. In 2019, in one day everything changed for me. My life now as a full-time wheelchair user has a whole range of new demands, which can be dramatically helped by better access and transport for wheelchair users, just as there should also be for the wider disabled community.

“I’m so delighted that the Mayor of London and TfL listened with open ears when I proposed these new wheelchair user traffic signals. What are only five traffic lights to one Londoner represent progress, positivity and possibility to another. The disabled community can and do offer so much value to all parts of society – I hope this visibility in mainstream life makes more people feel comfortable about getting out in the city and raising their voices where they see opportunity for positive change and collaboration.”

The reimagined symbols improve the visibility of disabled people on London’s streets and have been created in line with the safety features of the green man figure, ensuring pedestrians relying on the green signal to cross the road can still recognise the cue, indicating it is safe to do so. TfL also says it engaged with safety experts to minimise any confusion for pedestrians using the crossings and secured technical approvals for wheelchair user signals.

The other traffic signals at the five crossings, including the red stop lights for pedestrians remain unchanged.

London Liverpool Street station new wheelchair user traffic signal (c)

The green wheelchair user traffic signals have been installed at these locations:

  • Earl’s Court station along Warwick Road
  • King’s Cross station along Gray’s Inn Road by King’s Cross Bridge
  • Liverpool Street station along Bishopsgate by New Street
  • Tower Hill by Tower Hill station
  • Whitechapel Road by Whitechapel statio

TfL has previously reflected diversity at pedestrian traffic signals and introduced designs to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community around Trafalgar Square in 2016 and green woman traffic signals at 20 locations across London in 2021.

TfL is also looking at how to make pedestrian crossings more accessible and is currently running a trial at the temporary crossings at Manor Circus, which involves a remote-control button via a mobile app or separate handheld Bluetooth wireless device. This has been developed for people unable to use the push-button on crossings, allowing them to remotely call the pedestrian crossing and safely cross the road.


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  1. Michael H says:

    Does that sign mean its safe to cross only if you are in a wheelchair? Of course, I’m only joking but a stick figure of a person is all that is necessary, its universal.

  2. Paul Stiles says:

    Wouldn’t it have been simpler to just have simple red and green lights
    (not figures)for all pedestrians including those in wheel chairs . Red for stop and green for go. People in wheelchairs would know which one represents stop and go. Just like they have the same simple red and green traffic lights for all types of vehicles. And what about pedestrians with a walking stick?. Are there going to be green men/ woman with crutches? If there are going to be different lights for all types of people then there won’t be enough room on traffic light posts! Just have the same type of red and green lights for traffic and people(including LGBTQ+) This would save a lot of money too.

    • Simon says:

      A solid red circle is an absolute prohibition, and as such is not permitted for pedestrian crossings. A solid green circle could result into motorists being confused (unlike the USA, in the UK greens for motorists and pedestrians are entirely separate).

    • David says:

      But but there’s so much virtue that needs to be signalled!
      Another pointless scheme from TFL and the Mayor.
      If the lights control haven’t been improved for the disabled what is the point?

    • ianVisits says:

      The point is visibility – it’s not a literal change in function, but a reminder to all and sundry that not everyone is the same with two legs/arms etc. It’s about showing people who are in wheelchairs that they are not ignored or forgotten. You might call it virtue signalling, but in all visibility issues, the people affected appreciate it.

  3. Keith says:

    Whilst TFL are trialing more accessible crossings maybe they should take a visit to Canary Wharf. They’ve had at least one contactless crossing in place for years. Not sure if they need bluetooth apps and remote control buttons if they just use the Canary Wharf style crossings.

    • ianVisits says:

      The Canary Wharf crossings are contactless only in the sense you can wave a hand in front to “press” the button but you still need to be next to the button – nothing wrong with improving access over a wider radius by offering options for remote button pressing.

  4. Reaper says:

    What a complete waste of time and taxpayers money. Does it make it safer – no it doesnt, does it allow people to cross roads who otherwise wouldn’t – no it doesnt. Whowever thought of this and whoever approved it should be sacked with immediate effect. TfL compain they are short of funds. This is just one of the many reason why and why they shouldnt get a penny more in furture.

  5. Martin Banham says:

    All these comments complaining about this have too much time on their hands – wheeling out the old Daily Mail cliches and the usual dip into LGBTQ + territory. They need to get out more. Clowns.

    • JohnC says:

      So you call anyone who disagrees with you a ‘clown’? I can’t see you convincing anyone with that level of argument.

    • Reaper says:

      So you can only sling mud at those who disagree with you, how sad. What a pity that you cannot think of any posative points in support of your views – says it all really.
      PS I have never read or bought a copy of the Daily Mail in my life nor the Grauniad.

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