'Green man' pedestrian crossings at key London locations replaced with wheelchair-user lights

Going green: Olympic champion Pete Reed at Tower Hill (TfL)
Going green: Olympic champion Pete Reed at Tower Hill (TfL)

“Green man” pedestrian crossing lights have been replaced with signals showing wheelchair users to mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

The initiative, which is being introduced at five key crossings in central London, follows the use of “green women” and LGBTQ+ signals in previous campaigns.

Transport for London says it has “engaged with safety experts to minimise any confusion to pedestrians using the crossings”. The “red man” signal that warns pedestrians not to cross the road will remain unchanged.

The wheelchair signals – one of a person using a manual wheelchair and the other a woman using an electric wheelchair – are being used at traffic lights in Earl’s Court, King’s Cross, Liverpool Street, Tower Hill and Whitechapel.

They were the idea of three-time Olympic rowing champion Captain Pete Reed, who suffered a spinal stroke in 2019 that left him paralysed from his chest down.

They were installed by Yunex Traffic at no cost to TfL, ahead of International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Sunday.

TfL has previously celebrated diversity by introducing lights around Trafalgar Square in 2016 that recognised the LGBTQ+ community, and green woman traffic signals at 20 locations across the capital in 2021.

The 'person with disabilities' green signal at Liverpool Street station (TfL)
The 'person with disabilities' green signal at Liverpool Street station (TfL)

The locations for the wheelchair signals have been chosen due to their proximity to busy Tube stations that provide step-free access.

Mr Reed approached TfL because he wanted to draw attention to the number of people with disabilities who require accessible transport, and to promote diversity.

TfL is considering how to make pedestrian crossings more accessible. It is running a trial at temporary crossings at Manor Circus that can be activated via a mobile app or handheld Bluetooth device.

Mr Reed said: “As an Olympic athlete and naval officer, I spent my early adult life at the peak of human fitness. In 2019, in one day everything changed for me.

“My life now as a full-time wheelchair user has a whole range of new demands, which can be dramatically helped by better access and transport for wheelchair users, just as there should also be for the wider disabled community.

“I'm so delighted that the Mayor of London and TfL listened with open ears when I proposed these new wheelchair user traffic signals. What are 'only' five traffic lights to one Londoner represent progress, positivity and possibility to another.”

The new crossings can be found at:

•Earl's Court station, in Warwick Road

•King’s Cross station, in Gray’s Inn Road

•Liverpool Street station, in Bishopsgate

•Tower Hill by Tower Hill station

•Whitechapel Road by Whitechapel station

Will Norman, London’s walking and cycling commissioner, said: “The introduction of these traffic signals will increase the visibility of disabled people while highlighting the work that the Mayor and TfL are doing to ensure that London’s transport network is accessible for everyone.”