The turbulence and flows at the plasma edge during the L-I-H, L-I-L and single-step L-H transitions have been measured directly using two reciprocating Langmuir probe systems at the outer midplane with several newly designed probe arrays in the EAST superconducting tokamak. The E× B velocity, turbulence level and turbulent Reynolds stress at ∼1cm inside the separatrix ramp-up in the last ∼20ms preceding the single-step L-H transition, but remain nearly constant near the separatrix, indicating an increase in the radial gradients at the plasma edge. The kinetic energy transfer rate from the edge turbulence to the E×B flows is significantly enhanced only in the last ∼10ms and peaks just prior to the L-H transition. The E×B velocity measured inside the separatrix, which is typically in the electron diamagnetic drift direction in the L-mode, decays towards the ion diamagnetic drift direction in response to fluctuation suppression at the onset of the single-step L-H, L-I-L as well as L-I-H transitions. One important distinction between the L-I-H and the L-I-L transitions has been observed, with respect to the evolution of the edge pressure gradient and mean E×B flow during the I-phase. Both of them ramp up gradually during the L-I-H transition, but change little during the L-I-L transition, which may indicate that a gradual buildup of the edge pedestal and mean E×B flow during the I-phase leads to the final transition into the H-mode. In addition, the transition data in EAST strongly suggest that the divertor pumping capability is an important ingredient in determining the transition behaviour and power threshold.