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Pedestrian traffic lights have been installed in the footpaths of Melbourne this week, marking the first implementation of the technology in Australia.

Designed to enhance pedestrian safety, the new lights at the intersection of Little Collins Street and Swanston Street change colour between red and green with pedestrian crossing signals, helping people walking at night or looking down at their mobile devices know where the footpath ends.

The lights will be in operation around the clock, and were installed at the Little Collins and Swanston Street intersection due to the large number of people who use those crossings and disobey pedestrian signals.

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“There is growing evidence that using your phone as a pedestrian can lead to serious injuries, so we need everyone to focus on their surroundings and not their mobile phones,” said Luke Donnellan, minister for roads and road safety.

“These lights will remind people to stop at the red light, look up and pay attention to the traffic around them.”

In addition to the lit-up footpaths, TAC has deployed an army of lollipop people and crossing chaperones throughout the city to help pedestrians cross the road safely.

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Victoria’s trial of these strategies will last for 12 months, and following the trial, road safety authorities will assess the footpath infrastructure’s suitability for a wider rollout of the ground-level lights across Melbourne.

This comes after the NSW government announced last year that it would trial similar in-ground light technology in Sydney’s CBD, but it appears Melbourne has raced ahead with the implementation of the pedestrian lights.

MORE: NSW to trial in-ground traffic lights
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