An Engineer in Wonderland – High visibility pedestrian railings

Every time I see these things I am impressed with the elegance of the idea.

cunning-railings2crop.jpgSome clever soul thought of off-setting the vertical infill bars in the pedestrian guard railings near crossings in such a way that kids were visible through the railings before they ran out across the road.

cunning-railings.jpgNo extra materials, and only a tiny amount of extra thought during manufacture.

Leicestershire County Council has some information about viewing angles and appications here.

Mr Google delivered UK patent number GB 2414747, which brought up the issue of see-though posts and, more importantly, led me to the clever soul: original inventor Dr Douglas Stewart 

Read this facinating report by him – particularly the later bits about subtle visual errors at junctions.

The simple ideas are the best.


If you can answer this, respond below, or to alice@electronicsweekly.



  1. Thanks Gents,
    I think Doug’s URL is

  2. Geoff_Hannington

    Nice to see something designed by an engineer and not a bloody accountant!

  3. As the “clever soul” referred to in the blog, the answer to why the bars cannot run horizontally is that they would be used as a ladder to climb over the railing.
    For more info about my much cleverer railing called Visiflex, and other innovations ranging from road safety to ski sailing, see my URL.

  4. Couldn’t they run the bars near-hoizontally?

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