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Do crosswalk buttons at traffic intersections really work?
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Do crosswalk buttons at traffic intersections really work?

Why is it there and why do people press it? The walk / don't walk sign will change with the traffic light. And it's not like pressing the button would speed up the traffic light. So why bother? Whoever sold the government this idea is one great salesman.


They do work but they don't all work immediately. When you push the button you signal the light control box that you are a ped. ready to cross, but you are just one factor in the overall traffic grid.

The whole traffic grid is (supposedly) choreographed to move traffic smoothly and keep vehicle backups from occurring, so don't expect the whole system to cater to your needs. When the opportunity becomes available (say after a minimum of 40 seconds for traffic) , the light will change and let you cross. This is opposed to the light normally remaining red for 2 minutes, for example.

Sometimes it lets you cross a few seconds faster, but sometimes it lets you cross a lot sooner. New lights are programmed to only change when there is a vehicle waiting to enter at a red during off-peak times of the day. In other words, that light is programmed from 11 pm to 5 am to stay red until a car activates the light by stopping at the intersection.

If you're not in a car, that light would never change since you can't activate the road sensors, but pushing the button will let the system know you are there. In this case, when a car or you arrives at the intersection and alerts the system, the light will change immediately.

Of course, during off-peak times, there might not be any traffic to stop, but at least you'll get the light.

Old grump is exactly right.
When you press the button it signal the cross walk that someone is crossing. In busy intersections you don't need to press it, but in more quiet intersections, press the button because if you don't it may not change.
Did you ever notice when you're the only car at a red light and you take a look at the cross walk wondering when your light is going to change. The cross walk light starts to flash and then out of the sudden switches back to walk. Call me crazy but once you go out to press that cross walk button your light will eventually turn green.

Try it out it may surprise you one day.

They do still work... In many towns, in especially busy intersections, the walk signal will come on after pushing the button... BUT all directions of traffic will be red "stopped".... so it's much safer to cross.
Don't you hate crossing a street, only to have cars turning right... or even left potentially hit you ... even though you have a "walk" signal? The button eliminates this problem.

The button does work. It signals the computer to cycle the crossing light at the next change of the signal. You only need to press it once. Pressing the button several times won't make it change any faster.

There is one in Princeton, NJ that actually works.

Find a quiet intersection without any pedestrian traffic and don't press the button. You will find you won't get a walk signal. Some of the ones in Las Vegas actually stop traffic in both directions and give pedestrians the chance to cross both ways and diagonally.

Also, The most popular hack, which works on most models, is the "Instant Walk." Three short clicks, followed by two long, one short, two long, and three short; turn any crosswalk signal from "don't walk" to "walk" with a matching change in the traffic signals.
(A long click is holding the button down almost 2 full seconds)

Note that the government doesn't want this information out there, because they don't want terrorists crossing streets at will. lol.

They still work here in Los Angeles

Tyler T
they dont work anymore. they used to, but its a pretty fd up idea so they canceled them and disabled them.

yes they do. where i live if they didnt work then we'd be dead or waiting for a long time

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