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Extra 'button' on Melbourne pedestrian crossing causes confusion

A "second button" seen at a pedestrian crossing in Melbourne has caused some confusion, however it's not a button at all.

A pedestrian spotted the smaller button-like feature to the top right of the larger centre button at a crossing in Flemington and asked what it was.

"What's this button on the right?" they asked people on Reddit. Quite a few people were able to correctly identify what it was.

The "button", the pedestrian is seen pointing to in the picture is actually an infra-red sensor, so all pedestrians have to do is wave at it.

People crossing and street in Melbourne, and right, a crossing with infra-red sensors. Source: Getty Images/Reddit
Some pedestrian crossings in Melbourne now have sensors, so there's no need to hit the button. Source: Getty Images/Reddit

"The sensor looks similar to a normal push button, but instead of pressing it, pedestrians wave their hand across the front of the touchless device, triggering the pedestrian crossing," the state's Department of Transport said in a press release.

"An illuminated ring changes from red to green to reassure pedestrians that their request has been actioned."

The sensors were first installed by Victoria's Department of Transport in June 2020 and has all the features as the traditional push buttons, but you don't need to actually press the button.

Starting as a trial in Melbourne's CBD they were first installed outside the Royal Melbourne Hospital at Grattan Street and Flemington Road, and on McArthur Street at Parliament House.

Now, all of the pedestrian crossings in Melbourne's CBD are automated and run on a cycle.

Though there is no need, you can still press the big button if you feel the need or you're just a little impatient.

A sign indicates that a pedestrian crossing is automatic in Melbourne, Australia, on Wednesday, Oct 28, 2020.
Melbourne's CBD now has automated pedestrian crossings 24-hours a day. Source: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg (Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Victoria introduces 'dynamic pedestrian crossing'

Victoria also rolled out "dynamic pedestrian crossings" to enhance safety, particularly among students.

Dynamic pedestrian crossings use both sensors and cameras to detect how many people are waiting at a crossing. The crossing time is then adjusted to ensure everyone gets to the other side.

"As the rollout continues, priority is given to locations with the greatest risk and where there are large numbers of pedestrians, particularly near schools and train stations, or where there is a history of incidents," a release from 2021 said.

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