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Our button has been pressed!

In March 2020 Queensland Walks welcomed automation of some pedestrian buttons at signalised intersections. Many Queensland councils aimed to reduce the spread of COVID through automation, and in Brisbane this included more than 560 crossings where we didn’t need to touch the buttons at traffic lights. In many Australian and international cities, automation was already in place.
 
-negative impacts on traffic flow,
-increased noise complaints, and
-reports of motorists running red lights. 
 
We are unsure how automation would increase noise, or make a driver unlawfully run a red light, and we wonder if it is a positive step for traffic flow in high pedestrian areas to be more important than those people who are walking, wheeling and accessing public transport?
COVID provided us a chance to recognise ways that we can do things better, it reminded us of the joys, the benefits and importance of walking in our cities and suburbs, and how we need to make our cities more suitable and more inclusive for all pedestrians. Simple things like automated buttons or using smart technology are a small and yet important change to a walkable city. 
Pedestrian crossings were automated across Brisbane's CBD and inner suburbs in March 2020.
Image: Lucy Stone, Brisbane Times