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Taiwan's pedestrian crossing men get girlfriends

Taiwan traffic light in Pingtung Image copyright FTV News

The little green and red traffic light men in southern Taiwan have got themselves girlfriends, just in time for Valentine’s Day, it’s reported.

According to the Taiwan News website, the first of some 40 pedestrian signs featuring a new “couple” design has been unveiled today at an official ceremony in southern Pingtung County.

The new street crossings feature the animated red man kneeling down to propose to his girlfriend, and the green man holding his girlfriend’s hand and crossing the road.

Image copyright FTV News

The design plans were given a limited trial in December by the Pingtung County Police Bureau. They confirmed the same month their intentions to roll out the design across the county in 2018 to make the existing 18-year-old traffic lights “more attractive”.

Pingtung’s county mayor Pen Men-an told Taiwan News today that the new design “emphasise Pingtung is a county filled with love”.

Designer Cheng Da-wei adds that the new theme has a safety element. He told Apple Daily in December that he hoped the new theme would “attract attention” and encourage young people to have better transport safety awareness.

Taiwan is not the first region to change its traffic light design – other cities internationally have changed their pedestrian signs, often to raise cultural awareness.

One traffic light in Utrecht, The Netherlands, features the local rabbit cartoon character Miffy as a tribute to local creator, Dick Bruna.

And in Melbourne, Australia, traffic lights featuring female characters were installed in March 2017 as part of a 12-month trial to address unconscious gender bias.

Image copyright Gerry Cantwell

Reporting by Kerry Allen

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