THE green man at road crossings in the UK is set to be lit up for "extra seconds" longer as the population becomes “slower” and “less fit.”

The light which allows people to cross the roads safely will be extended by 20 per cent of its original crossing time to “encourage walking and make journeys safer.”

“Under Department for Transport (DfT) guidelines, pedestrians have 6.1 seconds to cross over both lanes of a normal road at a walking pace of 1.2 metres per second, but a new recommendation will allow 7.3 seconds to cross at a speed of 1m per second,” reports The Sunday Times.

South Wales Argus: The green man will reportedly stay lit for an extra 20% of its current timeThe green man will reportedly stay lit for an extra 20% of its current time (Image: Getty)

Why will the green man at UK crossings stay on for longer?

It comes as a change to the official guidelines has been announced by Active Travel England (ATE), an executive agency of the Department for Transport (DfT) that has drawn up the plans.

Brian Deegan, director of inspections at ATE, said: “A lot of infrastructure is aimed at the average person but the number of people excluded by that is growing, so we have to tackle it.

“If we don’t give people enough time, they are going to feel they can’t cross the road and that will leave some people feeling that they can’t leave their own house if they don’t have a car.

“We are going to have to meet people where they are. That means local authorities might need to think about extending crossing times.”

When were the present guidelines to cross the road introduced?

According to Deegan, the present guidelines were devised in the early 1950s, at a time when Britain was “adapting to the rapid rise in motor traffic, often at the expense of pedestrians and cyclists.”

The changes to how long the green man will stay lit up will be put out to consultation in September this year but are already being used on a pilot basis.