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Published: July 19th 2017
Little green men
In the last few years we have been taking photos of traffic lights for pedestrians, also known as "the Green Man", in the various countries we have visited. We started taking these photos just because we thought it was fun. Eventually we decided to publish these photos, and the result is what you are looking at ow . We think this turned out interesting and we hope you think so too.
This is not the first time we publish a blog entry based on a theme rather than on a sight, place or region. We have previously published one on Marie Biscuits
, one with photos of various instalments of the sculpture Non Violence
and one of us running in various places
. We have maybe three more blog entries which might be argued that they are theme blogs but Marie Biscuits, Non Violence and us running are the three best examples.
Our original plan was to take a photo of only one "green man" in each country. But as we started to look around we noticed that in many countries they have more than one version of symbol in the lights in the pedestrian crossings. We have
With countdown timer
decided to publish every different version we find because we think that is what makes a collection like this interesting.
We have up until now uploaded photos from 29 countries, two so called special administrative regions (Hong Kong and Macau) and one British Oversees Territory (Gibraltar). We have listed photos of the traffic lights in alphabetical order of the country/region/territory they are in. We have no intention of quitting travelling so when we visit more countries we will take more photos of traffic lights and add those photos. The latest addition, Malawi, was made in May 2019. It's a slow process but if you return every now and then you will hopefully notice that photos from more countries have been added.
Some traffic lights are a bit special and we could mention those here in the text.
The "green man" at the pedestrian crossings in Guatemala City in Guatemala was shifting shape so it actually looked like he was walking. We have added a video of that
They had done the same thing with the lights at the pedestrian crossings in Havana in Cuba. We have added
a video here too.
The same thing could be seen in Nairobi, Kenya. Here is a video of that one too
I Zanzibar City in Tanzania the light was also shifting to produce the illusion of a walking man. We don't have any movie showing that but we have uploaded a composite photo with the two different shapes that were shifting.
In Malaga in Spain some of the street lights were shifting shape so it looked like the man is walking. But the ones in Spain have an added feature we saw for the first time there. When there is little time left for the pedestrians to make it over the street the animation is speeded up so that it looks like the "green man" is walking fast or even running.
Later we saw a similar feature on the pedestrian light in Bangkok, Thailand. If you look carefully you can see that it is moving faster in the end than it does in the beginning
At another pedestrian light in Bangkok, Thailand the animation is made so that there is a
difference between the left and right leg/arm forward
Here is a walking "green man" filmed in Pattaya, Thailand
In Mexico they seemed to be lacking a standard for how the walking "green man" should look. They there very different in style.
First out from Mexico is a very handsome and stylish "green man" who is walking slightly turned towards the viewer.
The second one from Mexico is a sporty man running in slow motion. He is by the way white, not green.
The third Mexican we have filmed is sort of robotic and stiff.
So far all of the traffic lights, with the exception of a few specially created non-official ones, we have seen have showed men walking, not a single female character have been used to indicate when it is safe to cross a road. A message to all traffic planners who reads this: it is about time to change that. We want to see a "green woman" soon.
Some countries have different versions of the "green man".
• In Berlin the two versions come from the fact
LED lighted version
that Berlin used to be divided by a wall and for several were in two different countries. In East Berlin/east Germany they had one version and in West Berlin/West Germany they had another. After the unification of east and west they decided to keep both.
• In UK, the US, Greece and in Italy we have found more than one version. They are similar in style but differ either because the design has changed slightly over time or they have introduced energy saving diods as a light source and were forced to make changes because of that.
• In Utrecht in Netherlands they have one in the shape of the cartoon character Miffy. Dick Bruna, the artist who created Miffy, used to live in Utrecht.
• In Gothenburg in Sweden they have on a pedestrian crossing outside Liseberg Amusement Park one in the shape of the rabbit which is the amusement park's mascot.
We published this blog entry in 2017. But as we said above we plan to keep on travelling for many more years and will add more pictures from more countries as we visit them. Hope you return every now and then
and have another look.
We have visited two countries where it seems like there do not have a single pedestrian crossings with traffic lights in the entire country. They are The Gambia and Belize. If you who read this know for a fact that we are mistaken, don't hesitate to tell us.
We might as well mention that in Malawi they have very few pedestrian crossings with lights. It might be that the one we found is the only one in the entire country. What makes it even more special is where it was - outside the university. To us that street didn't look very busy.
We named this blog post "Little green men". We hope you weren't expecting to see photos of Yoda or ET or even actual extraterrestrial beings because then you are probably a bit annoyed with us now...
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