The government has begun trialing a smart device aimed at enhancing road safety for the elderly and disabled people.
The device is among the proposals the then chief executive Leung Chun-ying made in his 2016 policy address.
From Thursday, pedestrians who hold an Elder Octopus Card or are registered as a person with a disability are entitled to a few more seconds at traffic crossings on Java Road in North Point by tapping their card on the device, hk01.com reports.
It was the first location chosen for the device that can extend the green light signal for pedestrians by about four seconds from the usual 12 to 16 seconds.
According to the Transport Department, eight more crossings will be installed with the device in the first quarter for a six-month trial period: Main Street in Ap Lei Chau, near Lotus Tower on Ngau Tau Kok Road, Winslow Street in Hung Hom, and streets in Tuen Mun, Sham Shui Po, Wong Tai Sin and To Kwa Wan.
All of the chosen locations are close to centers for the elderly and the disabled as well as old housing estates to make it more convenient for seniors and the disabled to cross roads but not at busy junctions so as to avoid traffic congestion, said Wong Chi-hung, chief engineer of traffic control of the Transport Department.
The devices, costing about HK$500,000 each, will be removed after the trial period ends, Wong said, adding that whether they will be re-installed depends on the results of a review of data regarding the use of the device during the trial.
While the device allows more time for the elderly to cross a street, some senior citizens think using it is a bit inconvenient.
A 77-year-old woman said not all seniors always carry an Octopus card with them, and suggested that pressing a button to extend the pedestrian crossing time may be better.
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