Diversity-themed traffic lights in Vienna

Green pedestrian traffic lights displaying two women who hold hands, a heart as symbol between them

The new traffic light symbols were introduced in May 2015 as Vienna was getting ready for the Vienna Life Ball and Eurovision Song Contest. Three different pictograms of couples are shown on selected pedestrian traffic lights – in traditional red or green, depending on whether its "stop" or "walk" for the pedestrians. Due to events like the Life Ball, Song Contest or Rainbow Parade, international attention has focused on Vienna’s role as an open-minded city that respects human rights. The traffic light pictograms of straight and same-sex couples are to highlight the diversity of the city’s population. At the same time, the initiative is to increase traffic safety in Vienna by ensuring people pay more attention to traffic lights.

To keep the new symbols permanently rather than just temporarily, was a decision backed by Maria Vassilakou, Deputy Mayor and Executive City Councillor of Traffic and Transport in Vienna. The Deputy Mayor points out that "there has actually been an enormously positive response, with the couples on our traffic lights becoming a new must-see and a popular photo theme for tourist, as well as a great signal for full acceptance of same-sex couples in Vienna. People smile, people laugh, and generally the new lights get much more attention than anyone would ever have expected."

The international media response was overwhelming: various international media have published reports on the initiative in countries like the US, Japan, and Russia.

Red pedestrian traffic lights displaying two women who hold hands and wear a heart each
Green pedestrian traffic lights displaying man and woman who hold hands, a heart as symbol between them
Green pedestrian traffic lights displaying two men who hold hands, a heart as symbol between them
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