A pedestrian crossing (or crosswalk in American English) is a place designated for pedestrians to cross a road, street or avenue. The term “pedestrian crossing” is also used in the Vienna and Geneva Conventions, both of which pertain to road signs and road traffic.
Marked pedestrian crossings are often found at intersections, but may also be at other points on busy roads that would otherwise be too unsafe to cross without assistance due to vehicle numbers, speed or road widths. They are also commonly installed where large numbers of pedestrians are attempting to cross (such as in shopping areas) or where vulnerable road users (such as school children) regularly cross. Rules govern usage of the pedestrian crossings to ensure safety; for example, in some areas, the pedestrian must be more than halfway across the crosswalk before the driver proceeds.
Signalised pedestrian crossings clearly separate when each type of traffic (pedestrians or road vehicles) can use the crossing. Unsignalised crossings generally assist pedestrians, and usually prioritise pedestrians, depending on the locality. Pelican crossings use signals to keep pedestrians together where they can be seen by motorists, and where they can cross most safely across the flow of vehicular traffic, whereas zebra crossings are uncontrolled and more appropriate for lower people flows. What appears to be just pedestrian crossings can also be created largely as a traffic calming technique, especially when combined with other features like pedestrian priority, refuge islands, or raised surfaces.