A county in southern Taiwan decided to give its traffic light men a girlfriend to cross the road with, and even propose to, news reports said Wednesday.
Pingtung county police bureau announced that an additional female figure would be added to the traffic lights that signaled for pedestrians, reported local news website Taiwan News.
The report said the couple light would first be installed around the new Pingtung Station. It is expected to depict the two figures holding hands walking across the street when the light is green, and when the light turns red, the traffic man will kneel down and propose to his girlfriend with a heart appearing between them.
The move, according to the news website, is to save those stuck in traffic "from the boredom of waiting." Taiwan News also said the Pingtung government already issued a tender for the new traffic lights and that it would not be long before the couple appeared in traffic lights across the city.
According to the Telegraph, pedestrian lights in Taiwan normally show a man sauntering first, speeding up and finally breaking into a run to depict urgency before the light turned red.
It also reported that there were no plans to use the animation in the capital, Taipei, where, according to a recent survey by ride-sharing company Uber, car owners spent an average of two weeks a year stuck in traffic or searching for parking.
The county, however, is not the first one to adopt a second figure to accompany the male figure. In March this year, female pedestrian lights were installed in Melbourne. The traffic signals showed female figures in skirts. This was part of a gender equality campaign to combat “unconscious bias”, and were supported by Minister for Women Fiona Richardson as symbolic of the ways by which women were excluded from public space, Telegraph reported.
However, the project was criticized as a sign of political correctness. Melbourne Mayor Robert Doyle said: “I’m all for doing anything we can for gender equity, but really?” he was quoted as saying by the Herald Sun. “Unfortunately, I think this sort of costly exercise is more likely to bring derision.”
New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, had also added the image of New Zealand's women's suffrage movement, Kate Sheppard, at eight pedestrian crossings last year.