CBD pedestrian only phase crossings

CBD pedestrian only phase crossings

Since September 2023, the City of Hobart in partnership with the Tasmanian Government, has been trialling a new pedestrian-only traffic light signal phase at four key intersections in the Hobart CBD:

  • Elizabeth and Liverpool Street
  • Elizabeth and Collins Street
  • Murray and Liverpool Street
  • Murray and Collins Street

The objective of the trial is to improve safety, amenity and movement for pedestrians in Hobart.

Is a pedestrian only phase crossing the same as a scramble crossing?

While they operate very similarly, scramble crossings require some additional changes to kerbs and line markings to enable people to safely cross diagonally.

If the pedestrian only phase was made permanent, we would work towards making them full scramble crossings in the future.

How do they work?

Pedestrian only phase crossings and scramble crossings have been successfully used for many years in Australian cities and around the world to reduce crashes and increase pedestrian safety in high foot traffic areas.

A pedestrian only phase:

  • stops all vehicles at once and creates a secure pedestrian only space for the duration of the traffic light cycle.
  • eliminates potential collisions between pedestrians and turning vehicles.

It also means that when vehicles get their green light, they can turn freely without waiting for pedestrians also on a green light to finish crossing first.

Best routes for drivers

Cars travelling through the city are encouraged to take Bathurst, Barrack and Melville streets, which are all prioritised for vehicles. Brisbane Street is also a priority route for vehicles but currently closed to eastbound traffic between Murray and Elizabeth streets.

We will be installing additional road signage to help drivers who are travelling through the city to another destination find the fastest route.

Help us create safer city streets

The implementation of pedestrian only crossings in the Hobart CBD is a chance for all road users – drivers, cyclists and pedestrians – to help contribute to a safer city.

  • Please follow traffic signals at each of the four intersections that are now pedestrian only crossings.
  • Do not enter an intersection when traffic lights are turning red, or are red. This sort of behaviour increases the chances of a collision with another road user.
  • The safe functioning of traffic networks relies on all road users being considerate, remaining alert to and respectful of other users.


Why are pedestrian only phase crossings being trialled in the Hobart CBD?

The pedestrian only phase crossings were introduced at key junctions in the CBD to improve the safety and convenience of pedestrians.

Engagement with the Hobart community over a number of years has shown strong support for our transport network to provide safe and convenient options for all users including pedestrians, cyclists, micromobility riders, buses and cars. This is reflected in the Central Hobart Plan and Transport Strategy 2018-2030.

The Inner Hobart Transport Network Operations Plan 2023 developed in collaboration with the Tasmanian Government, identifies where each transport mode should be prioritised through things like traffic signal timings and space allocation.

Why were these intersections chosen for the trial?

The trial intersections were selected as high pedestrian traffic areas close to retail shops and car parks in the CBD.

For example an average of 11 650 pedestrians cross the Elizabeth Street and Liverpool Street Intersection between 7 am-7 pm each day (compared to 7317 cars).

These streets were also already prioritised for pedestrians with 40km/h zones in place.

How do we know pedestrian only crossings work?

There is a huge amount of evidence from cities around the world showing that pedestrian only phase crossings are effective at reducing the number of crashes and increasing pedestrian safety.

In Hobart, significant monitoring and data collection has been carried out during the trial period. It shows:

  • a positive safety benefit for pedestrians by removing the potential interaction between vehicles and pedestrians at four key high volume crossing points in the city
  • There were no significant negative impacts on the road network, with just a small increase in travel time for vehicles travelling on Elizabeth and Murray streets.

What are the impacts on city traffic?

  • The average travel time for those travelling in a vehicle on Elizabeth Street - between Warwick and Liverpool streets - increased by just 35 seconds since the pedestrian only crossing was introduced.
  • Murray Street showed a slightly higher average increase and Liverpool and Barrack streets showed much smaller increases to journey times.
  • For many people travelling outside of peak hour traffic there was little difference to travel time.