Community & Environment On the Move

Noah and Cam talk traffic lights … and spelling

Pedestrian traffic light

We love this exchange between 11 year old Noah – who had an idea about pedestrian crossings and giving more time to some people, but who was apologetic about his spelling. And our School Travel Coordinator Cam – who knows how these are tweaked to give people longer to cross in some situations, and is glad to have spell check!

Read on, and enjoy!

“Dear Hamilton City Council, my name is Noah and I am writing to you because of an idea I have. Every time my mum and I walk somewhere we incounter traffic lights. When the man goes green we get half way and it goes red. This is where my idea comes in. People over 70 or have dissabilities should get a blue card.

A blue card gets tapped on something at crossings and they get an extra 7 seconds. Not only will this be safer but the elderly will feel less worried about getting run over. This can be collected by them emailing, writing or personally visiting you.

I am 11 so don’t have this problem myself but just had this idea. If you would like to respond please send letters to ____, Hamilton, NZ. Thank you for reading this.

Yours sincerly


P.S Sorry for any mistakes, I am not the best speller.

Dear Noah

Thank you very much for your mail, it’s great to see that you and your mum do lots of walking instead of driving like most people do these days so well done…also it’s great to see your interest in traffic lights.

I think your idea of a blue card is a great idea and very well thought out. Traffic lights are a complex system which is run by computers…we have the ability here at Council to tweak the timings/phasing of the lights to allow a longer green man in certain situations.

Some examples of where we do this is outside schools in the afternoons, this is to allow large groups of students to cross in one green man phasing. We also allow more time for the pedestrians outside retirement housing, this allows older people more time to cross.

I understand your concern for older people and disabled people outside of these areas and there is new technology coming in that uses a sensor to work out how fast people are walking and how long they are taking to cross the road, and automatically give them more time to cross. We have already tried it on one of our crossings and it works well and it’s automatic, so people don’t even have to do anything!

We are also trying to help people remember that the flashing red man means that cars still must stop and wait for people to finish walking across the road.

I think with your way of thinking and problem solving that you would make a great engineer when you’re older, so good work and keep it up.


Cam Ward, School Travel Coordinator, Hamilton City Council

P.S – I have never been a great speller either, lucky for me my computer has spell check and helps me out 🙂

P.P.S – I hope in the school holidays you can get to the zoo, I have popped in a free zoo voucher for you.

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