Pedestrians

Strategies for Addressing the Problem

Objectives of the Emphasis Area

Deciding on the set of treatments that will provide the greatest safety benefits for pedestrians requires transportation and land-use planners, engineers, and community leaders to engage in problem-solving. The problem-solving effort will often require application of engineering judgment, as well as judgments based upon understanding of the character and needs of the particular community.

Pedestrians face a variety of challenges when they walk along and across streets with motor vehicles. Communities are asking for help to "slow traffic down," "make it safer to cross the street," and "make the street more inviting to pedestrians." View an example of one city's pedestrian program.

Tools are available to help those planning to improve pedestrian safety. The FHWA is completing the development of a software package called "PedSafe," which will provide guidance on measures to improve, including a catalog of case studies.

For citizens and citizen groups, there are resources such as the "Neighborhood Walking Guide," developed by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC). This Guide provides detailed information on how to address common problems and includes further Web links to technical information.

The following is a list of requests (objectives) that transportation professionals are likely to face when working to reduce pedestrian/vehicle conflicts and improve pedestrian safety and mobility:

  1. Reduce pedestrian exposure to vehicular traffic
  2. Improve sight distance and visibility for motor vehicles and pedestrians
  3. Reduce the speed of motor vehicles
  4. Improve pedestrian and motorist safety awareness and behavior

Each of these objectives can be accomplished through a variety of the strategies (treatments) listed in Exhibit V-1. Most strategies will work best when used at multiple locations and in combination with other treatments. In addition, many of the strategies (treatments) will accomplish two or more objectives. The key is to make sure that the right treatments are chosen to accomplish the desired effect.

A chart has been prepared (see Appendix 1) which links the strategies listed in Exhibit V-1 to the specific crash types they are intended to address. In using the chart, it is important to remember that it is simply a guide. In all cases, good engineering judgment should be applied when making decisions about what treatment will be best for a specific location.

EXHIBIT V-1
Emphasis Area Objectives and Strategies

Objectives

Strategies

9.1 A Reduce Pedestrian Exposure to Vehicular Traffic

9.1 A1 Provide Sidewalks/Walkways and Curb Ramps (P)

9.1 A2 Install or Upgrade Traffic and Pedestrian Signals (P, T, & E)

9.1 A3 Construct Pedestrian Refuge Islands and Raised Medians (P)

9.1 A4 Provide Vehicle Restriction/Diversion Measures (P & T)

9.1 A5 Install Overpasses/Underpasses (P)

9.1 B Improve Sight Distance and/or Visibility Between Motor Vehicles and Pedestrians

9.1 B1 Provide Crosswalk Enhancements (P & T)

9.1 B2 Implement Lighting/Crosswalk Illumination Measures (P)

9.1 B3 Eliminate Screening by Physical Objects (T)

9.1 B4 Signals to Alert Motorists That Pedestrians Are Crossing (T & E)

9.1 B5 Improve Reflectorization/Conspicuity of Pedestrians (T)

9.1 C Reduce Vehicle Speed

9.1 C1 Implement Road Narrowing Measures (T)

9.1 C2 Install Traffic Calming—Road Sections (P & T)

9.1 C3 Install Traffic Calming—Intersections (P & T)

9.1 C4 Provide School Route Improvements (T)

9.1 D Improve Pedestrian and Motorist Safety Awareness and Behavior

9.1 D1 Provide Education, Outreach, and Training (P)

9.1 D2 Implement Enforcement Campaigns (T)

P = proven; T = tried; E = experimental

In some cases, there may be a tradeoff between pedestrian and vehicular crashes, i.e., a particular strategy, implemented in a particular location, may succeed in reducing pedestrian crashes but contribute to an increase in vehicular crashes. In general, all types of road users must be considered when selecting a strategy to implement. Factors such as vehicular speeds and volumes, pedestrian volumes, roadway function, and availability of alternate routes should all be considered when making decisions about measures for reducing pedestrian crashes. In the best situations, pedestrian improvements increase safety for motorists as well as pedestrians. Especially in urban environments, slowing vehicle speeds and/or separating the movements of vehicles and pedestrians can be beneficial to both categories of road users.

Much of the technical information in this guide on specific strategies is based upon information found in the Pedestrian Facilities Users Guide—Providing Safety and Mobility (Federal Highway Administration, 2002).

Or see the material at

A program titled "PED SAFE" provides additional resources. See Appendix 2 for further details.

Details are provided on a wide variety of pedestrian safety, planning, and research topics at the Walking Info Web site. This Web site covers pedestrian related crash analysis, in addition to strategies related to engineering, education, and enforcement.

Many jurisdictions will implement a combination of these in the context of a general pedestrian safety plan. Some involve the implementation of committees that represent engineering, enforcement, and educational disciplines and the agencies they serve. Some details regarding this, and the plans that they produce, are in Appendix 3.

Classification of Strategies

The strategies in this guide were identified from a number of sources, including the literature, contact with state and local agencies throughout the United States, and federal programs. Some of the strategies are widely used, while others are used at a state or even a local level. Some have been subjected to well-designed evaluations to prove their effectiveness. On the other hand, it was found that many strategies, including some that are widely used, have not been adequately evaluated.

The implication of the widely varying experience with these strategies, as well as the range of knowledge about their effectiveness, is that the reader should be prepared to exercise caution in many cases, before adopting a particular strategy for implementation. To help the reader, the strategies have been classified into three types, each identified by letter symbol throughout the guide:

Proven (P): Those strategies which have been used in one or more locations and for which properly designed evaluations have been conducted that show them to be effective. These strategies may be employed with a good degree of confidence, but understanding that any application can lead to results that vary significantly from those found in previous evaluations. The attributes of the strategies that are provided will help the user judge which are the most appropriate for their particular situation(s).

Tried (T): Those strategies that have been implemented in a number of locations and may even be accepted as standards or standard approaches, but for which there have not been found valid evaluations. These strategies, while in frequent, or even general, use, should be applied with caution, carefully considering the attributes cited in the Guide, and relating them to the specific conditions for which they are being considered. Implementation can proceed with some degree of assurance that there is not likely to be a negative impact on safety, and there very likely will be a positive one. It is intended that as the experiences of implementation of these strategies continues under the AASHTO Strategic Highway Safety Plan initiative, appropriate evaluations will be conducted, so that effectiveness information can be accumulated to provide better estimating power for the user and so that the strategy can be upgraded to a "proven" one.

Experimental (E): Those strategies that are ideas that have been suggested and that at least one agency has considered sufficiently promising to try on a small scale in at least one location. These strategies should be considered only after the others have proven not to be appropriate or feasible. Even where they are considered, their implementation should initially occur using a very controlled and limited pilot study that includes a properly designed evaluation component. Only after careful testing and evaluations show the strategy to be effective should broader implementation be considered. It is intended that as the experiences of such pilot tests are accumulated from various state and local agencies, the aggregate experience can be used to further detail the attributes of this type of strategy so that it can be upgraded to a "proven" one.

It is particularly difficult to evaluate the impacts of countermeasures on pedestrian crashes. Reasons include the following:

  • Pedestrian crashes are even rarer events than vehicle crashes not involving pedestrians, making it difficult to assess impacts at a given location and over reasonable lengths of time
  • Pedestrian-oriented street improvements are often done in conjunction with other improvements, making it difficult to separate the specific effects of the pedestrianoriented strategies

As a result of these types of difficulties, evaluation work has often focused upon surrogate measures, primarily related to pedestrian and vehicle behaviors and conflicts. Although these surrogates have not been solidly demonstrated to be linked to crash experience, they may serve as interim indications of safety impacts, until more valid evaluations become available.

The needs of pedestrians should be considered in all work zone areas, in addition to motorvehicle safety. The strategies described below do not address specifically the issues of providing for pedestrian safety in work zones. The reader should refer to the Work Zone Guide for information.

The problem of pedestrians under the influence of alcohol will be addressed in the planned guide on alcohol countermeasures. Since that guide is under development, Appendix 4 has been provided in the interim.

Signs and pavement markings are not usually sufficient, unaided, to solve a serious pedestrian safety problem. These devices have their place in providing helpful information to pedestrians and/or motorists in certain situations, and they often are best used to supplement other more substantial treatments. Details on signs, signals, and markings are contained in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

When designing facilities for pedestrians, it is important to account for the interaction of pedestrians with other road users. For example, large trucks may create special problems for pedestrians, such as trailer off-tracking while turning right (and possibly striking a pedestrian standing on the sidewalk). Also, compared to other motor vehicles, some trucks have longer stopping distances, limited visibility (e.g., blind spots), and problems with nighttime visibility. Bicyclists also travel on roadways and sometimes conflict with pedestrians. In short, engineers and planners need to provide a roadway environment that balances the needs of all road users.

Related Strategies for Creating a Truly Comprehensive Approach

The strategies listed above, and described in detail below, are those considered unique to this emphasis area. However, to create a truly comprehensive approach to the highway safety problems associated with this emphasis area, there are related strategies recommended as candidates in any program planning process. These are of five types:

Public Information and Education Programs (PI&E)

Many highway safety programs can be effectively enhanced with a properly designed PI&E campaign. The primary experience with PI&E campaigns in highway safety is to reach an audience across an entire jurisdiction, or a significant part of it. However, it may be desired to focus a PI&E campaign on a location-specific problem. While this is a relatively untried approach, as compared to area-wide campaigns, use of roadside signs and other experimental methods may be tried on a pilot basis. Within this guide, where the application of PI&E campaigns is deemed appropriate, it is usually in support of some other strategy. In such a case, the description for that strategy will suggest this possibility (see the attribute area for each strategy entitled "Associated Needs for, or Relation to, Support Services"). In this guide, since independent PI&E campaigns are deemed appropriate for the emphasis area, the strategy is explained in detail (see Strategy 9.1 D1).

Enforcement of Traffic Laws

Well-designed and -managed law-enforcement programs can have a significant positive effect on highway safety. It is well established, for instance, that an effective way to reduce crashes and their severity is to have jurisdiction-wide programs that enforce an effective law against driving under the influence (DUI), or driving without seatbelts. When that law is vigorously enforced, with well-trained officers, the frequency and severity of highway crashes can be significantly reduced. This should be an important element in any comprehensive highway safety program. Enforcement programs are conducted at specific locations by the nature of how they must be performed. The effect (e.g., lower speeds, greater use of seatbelts, giving right-of-way to pedestrians, reduced red-light running, safer vehicles, and reduced impaired driving) may occur at or near the specific location where the enforcement is applied. Coordinating the effort with an appropriate PI&E program can often enhance this effect. However, in many cases (e.g., speeding, pedestrian right-of-way, and seatbelt usage) the impact is area-wide or jurisdiction-wide. The effect can be either positive (i.e., the desired reductions occur over a greater part of the system) or negative (i.e., the problem moves to another location as road users move to new routes where enforcement is not applied).

A pilot program is recommended when it is unclear how the enforcement effort may impact behavior or where it is desired to try an innovative and untried method. Within this guide, the application of enforcement programs is often deemed appropriate in support of some other strategy. Many of those strategies can be targeted at either the whole system or a specific location. In such cases, the description for that strategy will suggest this possibility (see the attribute area for each strategy entitled "Associated Needs for, or Relation to, Support Services"). For the pedestrian emphasis area, an independent enforcement program is deemed appropriate and the strategy is explained in detail. As additional guides are completed for the AASHTO Plan, they may address the details regarding the design and implementation of enforcement strategies. When that occurs, the appropriate links will be added from this emphasis area guide.

Strategies to Improve Emergency Medical and Trauma System Services

When pedestrians are struck by vehicles, the risk of serious or fatal injury is high. Rapid and proper treatment of injured parties at highway crashes can have a significant impact on recovery, as well as survival. Thus, a comprehensive emergency care program is a basic part of a highway safety infrastructure. While the types of strategies that are included here are often thought of as simply support services, they can be critical to the success of a comprehensive highway safety program. Therefore, for this emphasis area, an effort should be made to determine if improvements could be made, especially for programs that are focused upon location-specific (e.g. corridors) or area-specific (e.g., rural areas) issues. An additional guide for the AASHTO Plan may address the design and implementation of emergency medical systems strategies. If this occurs, the appropriate links will be added to this emphasis area guide.

Strategies Directed at Improving the Safety Management System

The management of the highway safety system is essential to success. There should be in place a sound organizational structure, as well as infrastructure of laws, policies, etc., to monitor, control, direct, and administer a comprehensive approach to highway safety. It is important that a comprehensive program not be limited to one jurisdiction, such as a state DOT. Local agencies are often responsible for the majority of the road system and its related safety problems. They also have a better understanding of the problems. However, local jurisdictions need to work together and coordinate their safety programs in a region or metropolitan area. As additional guides are completed for the AASHTO Plan, they may address the details regarding the design and implementation of strategies for improving safety management systems. When that occurs, the appropriate links will be added from this emphasis area guide.

Strategies That Are Detailed in Other Emphasis Area Guides

Pedestrians move along and across all types of road facilities. The strategies in this guide attempt to reflect that, by addressing a wide range of facility elements. However, there are other emphasis areas that address road features, which also relate to pedestrian safety. Further details on other applicable strategies may be found in the companion guides for unsignalized intersections (17.1) and signalized intersections (17.2).

Objective 9.1 A—Reduce Pedestrian Exposure to Vehicular Traffic

Strategy 9.1 A1: Provide Sidewalks/Walkways and Curb Ramps

Sidewalks and Walkways

EXHIBIT V-2
Walkways should be part of every new and renovated roadway. (Photo by Dan Burden)

Sidewalks and walkways provide people with space to travel within the public right-of-way that is separated from roadway vehicles. They also provide places for children to walk, run, skate, ride bikes, and play away from the street. Such facilities also improve mobility for pedestrians and provide access for all types of pedestrian travel to and from home, work, parks, schools, shopping areas, transit stops, etc. Walkways should be part of every new and renovated roadway, and every effort should be made to retrofit streets that currently do not have sidewalks or walkways (Exhibit V-2).

Examples of successful implementation of sidewalks and walkways can be found at the following Web sites:

Additional information on sidewalks and walkways can be found at PBIC, Walking Design and Engineering: Pedestrian Facility Design Treatments—Sidewalks and Walkways.

Curb Ramps

Requirements for curb ramps are provided by the U.S. Access Board.

EXHIBIT V-3
Curb ramps provide transition in elevation between the sidewalk and the roadway for people using wheelchairs, strollers, walkers, crutches, handcarts, and bicycles, as well as people who have trouble stepping up and down high curbs. (Photo by Michael Ronkin)

EXHIBIT V-4
Bollards or other protective barriers should be considered to help protect pedestrians where motorists are likely to encroach into areas where pedestrians are present. (Photo by Michael Ronkin)

Curb ramps (also called wheelchair ramps) provide transition in elevation between the sidewalk and roadway for people using wheelchairs, strollers, walkers, crutches, handcarts, and bicycles, as well as for pedestrians with mobility impairments who have trouble stepping up and down high curbs. While curb ramps are needed on all types of streets, highest priority locations should be in downtown areas and on streets near transit stops, schools, parks, medical facilities, government agencies, shopping areas, and near residences with wheelchair users (Exhibit V-3). More details on design of sidewalks and walkways, including curb ramps may be found in the FHWA report, Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access, parts 1 and 2 (Federal Highway Administration, 1999, 2001).

Further discussion of design considerations for these may be found in Appendix 5.

Additional information on curb ramps can be found at the following Web sites:

Bollards and Protective Barriers

Other features that may also be needed to help protect pedestrians on sidewalks or walkways are various types of posts, bollards, or protective barriers (Exhibit V-4). Such barriers should be considered at locations where motorists are likely to encroach into areas where pedestrians are present. Further details on guidelines related to bollards and other protective barriers are given in the publication, Design and Safety of Pedestrian Facilities, by the Institute of Transportation Engineers (March 1998).

 

EXHIBIT V-5
Strategy Attributes for Providing Sidewalks/Walkways and Curb Ramps

Attribute

Description

Technical Attributes

Target of the Strategy

This strategy targets pedestrians who wish to walk adjacent to streets and highways. In particular, curb ramps address the needs of people in wheelchairs and pedestrians with mobility impairments.

Expected Effectiveness

The presence of sidewalks on both sides of the street has been found to be related to significant reductions in the "walking along roadway" pedestrian crash risk (i.e., probability of a pedestrian being struck) compared to locations where no sidewalks or walkways exist. Reductions of 50 to 90 percent of these types of pedestrian crashes have been found in previous research.

Knoblauch et al. (1987) found that locations with no sidewalks were more than two times more likely to have pedestrian crashes than locations with sidewalks. Sidewalks were found to have a large safety benefit in residential and mixed residential areas, but not in commercial areas.

McMahon et al. (2002) investigated the effects of sidewalks, other roadway design attributes, and neighborhood demographics on the likelihood of pedestrian crashes. They analyzed a total of 47 crash sites involving pedestrian "walking along roadway" crashes and 94 comparison sites. Physical design factors that were associated with a significantly higher likelihood of being a crash site were higher speed limit, the lack of wide grassy walkable areas, and the absence of sidewalks. Taking into account speed limit and traffic volume, the likelihood of a site with a sidewalk being a crash site was 88 percent lower than a site without a sidewalk. Hence, the presence of a sidewalk clearly had a strong beneficial effect of reducing the risk of "walking along roadway" pedestrian crashes.

When the design factors were controlled for, nongeometric factors that were associated with a significantly higher likelihood of being a crash site were high levels of unemployment, older housing stock, lower proportions of families within households, and more single parents. The authors concluded that some neighborhoods might be especially appropriate locations for installing sidewalks and other pedestrian treatments.

(See Appendix 6 for guidelines for sidewalk installation that resulted from the study.)

Keys to Success

A key to successful sidewalks and walkways is careful planning in the subject neighborhood or area. For example, a flat sidewalk with a cross slope of no more than 2 percent should be provided across driveways that slope to the roadway to accommodate wheelchair users. The network of sidewalks and walkways should be well connected to meet the needs of the community. More details on design of sidewalks and walkways, including curb ramps may be found in the FHWA report, Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access, parts 1 and 2 (Federal Highway Administration, 1999, 2001).

All newly constructed and altered roadway projects should include curb ramps. It is recommended that separate curb ramps be provided for each crosswalk at an intersection, wherever feasible, rather than having a single ramp at a corner for both crosswalks. This provides improved orientation for pedestrians, particularly for visually impaired pedestrians. Similarly, tactile warnings are also important to alert pedestrians to the sidewalk/street edge. The ADA Standards for Accessible Design requires that a strip of truncated dome-type tactile warning be placed at the base of the crosswalk.

Agencies should upgrade existing sidewalks by first conducting audits of their pedestrian facilities to make sure transit services, schools, public buildings, parks, etc. are accessible to pedestrians who use wheelchairs.

Potential Difficulties

Agencies must overcome decades of street and road construction projects that may have routinely ignored the need for sidewalks and walkways. Pro-pedestrian policies and construction programs need to be approved and implemented to correct this problem.

Appropriate Measures and Data

A key performance measure is the frequency and percent of "walking along roadway" or midblock-crossing pedestrian crashes. The proportion of pedestrian traffic that is walking in the roadway and crossing midblock may be a useful surrogate measure. The perceived convenience and safety that result from the provision of sidewalks and curb ramps suggest using a count of the change in the pedestrian volume along a route as an additional measure of success.

Process measures include the number of feet/miles of sidewalk/walkway and/or the number of new curb ramps which have been added (or upgraded).

Associated Needs

A buffer zone is desirable and should be provided to separate pedestrian walkways and sidewalks from the street. The buffer zone width can vary according to the street type and available right-of-way. In downtown or commercial districts, a street furniture zone is usually appropriate as a buffer zone. Parked cars and/or bicycle lanes can also provide an acceptable buffer zone. In more suburban or rural areas, a landscape strip is generally more suitable.

Organizational and Institutional Attributes

Organizational, Institutional, and Policy Issues

The ADA must be followed when constructing sidewalks, walkways, and curb ramps. For example, tactile patterns must be detectable to vision-impaired pedestrians.

Issues Affecting Implementation Time

State and local design, planning, and zoning ordinances may need upgrading to require sufficient right-of-way for sidewalks and other pedestrian facilities. Further information on designing sidewalks for better accessibility is found in Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access (Federal Highway Administration, 1999, 2001).

Costs Involved

Funding needs to be earmarked for sidewalk improvements. Proper planning of pedestrian needs is also essential to set priorities for needed sidewalk installations and enhancements. View more on funding.

Costs for sidewalks will vary, depending upon factors such as width and materials used. Typical costs for sidewalks and curb ramps are given in Appendix 7.

Training and Other Personnel Needs

Training is needed in problem identification and in proper design and installation methods. In addition to DOT personnel, anyone involved in the design, construction, or maintenance of streets and sidewalks (including planners, developers, designers, contractors, inspectors, and engineers) needs training on ADA requirements and the need to provide access for pedestrians during street construction projects.

Legislative Needs

Some agencies have local ordinances requiring developers to install sidewalks along all streets and highways that are adjacent to the developed property. Such ordinances are important to help create a network of sidewalks and walkways for safe walking within a community.

Legislation may be needed to prevent contractors and developers from blocking pedestrian access when working in urban areas.

Other Key Attributes

 

Street furniture should be positioned on sidewalks to avoid restricting pedestrian flow and screening pedestrians from a driver's view at crossing points.

Strategy 9.1 A2: Install or Upgrade Traffic and Pedestrian Signals

This strategy includes six countermeasures: traffic signals, pedestrian signals, pedestrian signal timing, accessible pedestrian signals, signal enhancements, and right-turn-on-red restrictions. Further detailed information is available in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (2000 MUTCD) (Federal Highway Administration, 2000a) and the ITE Traffic Control Devices Handbook, 2001, (2001b) Chapter 13, Pedestrians.

Traffic Signals

Traffic signals can create gaps in the traffic flow of sufficient size to allow pedestrians to cross the street. Warrants for traffic signals are based upon the number of vehicles and pedestrians crossing the intersection, along with other factors (Federal Highway Administration, 2000a). Judgment must also be used on a case-by-case basis. For example, if a new park or recreational path is built, there will be additional pedestrian activity, and the projected crossing demand should be taken into account when deciding if a traffic signal is warranted. However, even when warrants are met, the installation of a new traffic signal often results in an increase in total crashes. Specifically, rear-end crashes may increase considerably, although there may be a decrease in angle collisions and also a decrease in overall crash severity. Traffic signals can also create overall lower level of service for vehicles and pedestrians. Consideration must also be given to the possibility that traffic will divert to adjacent neighborhood streets to bypass delays associated with the signal.

Additional information on the use of traffic signals can be found at the following Web sites:

Pedestrian Signals

EXHIBIT V-6
Pedestrian signals should ideally be installed at all traffic signals in urban and suburban areas. (Photo by Dan Burden)

EXHIBIT V-7
An informational sign can tell pedestrians what they should do during each of the pedestrian signal phases.

Pedestrian signals should ideally be installed at all traffic signals in urban or suburban areas. They are especially important at intersections with (1) multiphase traffic signals, such as left-turn arrows and split phases, (2) school crossings, and (3) doubleright or double-left turns. They are also important at high-use midblock crossings and multilane roads (Exhibit V-6).

Many pedestrians do not understand the meaning of the pedestrian signal indications, particularly the flashing DON'T WALK. An informational sign can be installed to tell pedestrians what they should do during the WALK, flashing DON'T WALK, and steady DON'T WALK indications (Exhibit V-7).

Marked crosswalks should be used at all signalized intersections and signalized midblock crossings to guide pedestrians to the preferred crossing location. Crosswalks may also discourage motorists from encroaching into the pedestrian crossing area. Pedestrian signals need to also indicate the crossing interval by audible and/or tactile means if pedestrians with visual impairments are to take advantage of them. While median refuge islands reduce the crossing distance and are very helpful on wide streets, it is highly desirable to give pedestrians enough time to cross the entire street.

Additional information on pedestrian signals can be found at the following Web sites:

Pedestrian Signal Timing

At wide intersections, pedestrian crossing times often dictate vehicle green splits and cycle lengths. As a result, minimum WALK (start) and flashing DON'T WALK (clearance) times are commonly used. The 2000 MUTCD recommends a minimum WALK interval of 7 seconds. With such a short interval, pedestrians may only traverse one or two lanes before the flashing DON'T WALK appears. This may confuse or even panic pedestrians who do not understand the meaning of the flashing DON'T WALK. It is desirable to provide a longer WALK interval whenever practical. Timing clearance (i.e., flashing DON'T WALK) intervals to assume slower walking speeds than the standard 1.2 m/sec may also be appropriate, particularly at locations where older pedestrians or children cross the street regularly. However, longer clearance intervals may result in the designer providing shorter walk times and/or longer cycle lengths. The latter could lead to longer waits for pedestrians between crossing opportunities.

There are several pedestrian signal–timing schemes. The most common is standard (or concurrent) timing, in which the WALK signal is displayed at the same time as the green indication for parallel vehicular traffic. Under this timing scheme, right- and left-turning motor vehicles may conflict with pedestrians crossing on the WALK signal (and many turning motorists will not yield to pedestrians). Alternatives to standard timing are early release, late release, exclusive, and scramble timing.

An informational sign can tell pedestrians what they should do during each of the pedestrian signal phases (Exhibit V-7).

An early-release timing scheme displays the WALK signal for pedestrians while parallel traffic still has a red signal. That is, pedestrians are "released" early and have a chance to begin crossing and occupy the crosswalk before vehicles start turning right (or left) into their paths. With late release, parallel traffic gets the green signal first, while pedestrians still have the steady DON'T WALK signal. This scheme holds pedestrians back before "releasing" them, so that turning vehicles will presumably be gone by the time that the WALK signal appears; late release is only effective if there is not a constant stream of turning vehicles. At intersections where there is a very high volume of turning traffic, early-release signals are generally more appropriate.

With exclusive timing (sometimes referred to as the "scramble system"), all vehicular traffic is stopped, and pedestrians are allowed to cross in any crosswalk. The WALK signal is displayed for all crosswalks at the same time. With scramble timing, all vehicular traffic is stopped and pedestrians are allowed to cross in any crosswalk or diagonally across the intersection (Exhibit V-8). Exclusive-timing schemes are most appropriate at signalized intersections with large pedestrian volumes (1,200 or more per day) and relatively low motor-vehicle speeds and volumes (e.g., central business districts and commercial centers). Because pedestrians often have to wait a long time for an exclusive signal, many will choose to ignore the signal and cross when there is a gap in traffic. Another problem at signalized intersections involves left-turn vehicles that turn on a green-ball indication and conflict with pedestrians who are crossing with the signal. In many cases, a solution is to provide a separate protected left-turn phase for motorists. Pedestrians are given a DON'T WALK signal when the left-turn arrow is displayed. When pedestrians have a WALK display, left-turning motorists have a red (no turn) indication.

The use of a short all-red interval (Exhibit V-8) can provide a better separation between motorists and pedestrians.

Additional information on pedestrian signal timing can be found at the following Web sites:

EXHIBIT V-8
With scramble timing, all vehicular traffic is stopped while pedestrians are allowed to cross in any crosswalk or diagonally across the intersection. (Photo by Dan Burden)

Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS)

At signalized intersections, pedestrians who are blind or visually impaired typically start to cross the street when they hear a surge of traffic parallel to their direction of travel. Some intersection geometries and traffic conditions make it very difficult for visually impaired persons to know when to cross. These include skewed or very wide intersections, intersections with split-phase signal timing, intersections with intermittent traffic, and intersections with pedestrian push buttons. (Visually impaired pedestrians may not realize that they have to push a button, or they may have trouble finding the button).

EXHIBIT V-9
Accessible pedestrian signals (APS) provide audible and/or vibrotactile information to assist visually impaired pedestrians on when to cross the street.(Photo by David Harkey)


Accessible pedestrian signals (APS) provide audible and/or vibrotactile information coinciding with visual pedestrian signals, to inform visually impaired pedestrians precisely when the WALK interval begins and when it is no longer safe to cross (Exhibit V-9). Pedestrians who know when the crossing interval begins will be able to complete their crossing before the signal changes. Audible signals can also provide directional guidance, which is particularly useful at skewed or angled intersections and at wide multilane crossings.

The characteristics of different APS technologies are described in Accessible Pedestrian Signals (Bentzen and Tabor, 1998).

The Institute of Transportation Engineers provides a toolbox for accessible intersections. View an interactive synthesis and guide to best practices on APS. View the printed report and guide on APS.

Audible signals actuated by push buttons are the most commonly used. These often emit a chirp or “cuckoo” tone during the WALK interval. The tones may alternate from one side of the crossing to the other. A second type of APS consists of infrared or LED transmitters that emit a verbal message that can be heard with a hand-held receiver. The message may identify the pedestrian's location and direction of travel, give the name of the street to be crossed, and provide real time information about the WALK and DON'T WALK intervals. A third type of APS uses vibrotactile push buttons. By feeling the button, the pedestrian knows that the button has been pushed and when the WALK interval appears. Audible tones may be used in conjunction with the vibrotactile buttons to let the pedestrian know that a button must be pushed, where the button is located, and when the WALK interval appears.

Push button locator tones are also recommended to inform the visually impaired that a pedestrian push button exists and to locate the position of the push button. If the tone for the walk interval is similar to the push button locator tone, the walk interval tone should have a faster repetition rate than the push button locator tone (Federal Highway Administration, 2000a).

Signal Enhancements

A variety of traffic and pedestrian signal enhancements can benefit pedestrians. These include automated pedestrian detectors, larger traffic signals to insure visibility, and countdown signals, as well as signal placement, so that motorists waiting at a red light cannot see the signals on the cross street and anticipate the green indication.

EXHIBIT V-10
Automated pedestrian detectors use microwave or infrared technology to detect pedestrians as they cross and extend the clearance interval if needed, up to a preset maximum. (Photo by Herman Huang)

Because many pedestrians will not activate push buttons, automated pedestrian detectors have been installed in some U.S. cities. These use microwave or infrared technology to detect pedestrians and then "call" the WALK signal. Automated detectors can also be used to monitor pedestrians as they cross and extend the clearance interval if needed, up to a preset maximum.

Automated pedestrian detectors (Exhibit V-10) are discussed thoroughly in an FHWA report produced in 2001 titled Evaluation of Automated Pedestrian Detection at Signalized Intersections (Hughes et al., 2000).

The use of animated "eyes" along with the WALK sign has been shown to increase the percentage of pedestrians that look for turning vehicles. The use of the moving eyes reinforces the message taught to children in school and could be particularly useful at crosswalks used by children and youth. It could also be of value at intersections where left-turning vehicles pose a threat to pedestrians.

A pedestrian countdown signal contains a timer display and counts down the number of seconds left to finish crossing the street. Countdown signals begin counting down either when the WALK or when the flashing DON'T WALK interval appears and stop at the beginning of the steady DON'T WALK interval (Exhibit V-11). Countdown signals can reassure pedestrians who are in the crosswalk when the flashing DON'T WALK interval appears that they still have time to finish crossing. This information is contained in Part 4 of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (Federal Highway Administration, 2003). Additional information on signal enhancements can be found at the following Web sites:

Right-Turn-on-Red (RTOR) Restrictions

In all 50 states and the District of Columbia, motorists may turn right on red at any intersection, after coming to a full stop, unless a NO TURN ON RED sign (Exhibit V-12) prohibits the turn. RTOR restrictions can be limited to certain hours of the day or can extend to all hours. The only exception is New York City, where turning right on red is allowed only if a sign permits the turn. The Institute of Transportation Engineers (1984) noted that relative to motor vehicles, allowing RTOR results in "substantial benefits in reduced energy consumption, positive environmental impacts, and reduced operational delays."

EXHIBIT V-11
Full-time restrictions of right-turn-on-red may be needed at certain types of intersections. (Photo by Dan Burden)

EXHIBIT V-12
A pedestrian countdown signal shows the number of seconds left for pedestrians to finish crossing the street. (Photo by Dan Burden)

RTOR can, however, increase crash risk for pedestrians. Motorists who stop at the intersection and look left to see if the road is clear sometimes do not look right before turning right. Therefore, they may not see pedestrians coming from the right. Preusser et al. (1981) found that right-turn crashes involving pedestrians increased slightly after RTOR went into effect. Other studies concluded that RTOR does not create a pedestrian safety problem (AASHTO, 1979; McGee, 1976). Also, many motorists do not come to a complete stop as legally required.

The 2000 MUTCD identifies five conditions when the NO TURN ON RED sign may be used. Two of these conditions pertain to pedestrians: (1) where an exclusive pedestrian phase exists; (2) where an unacceptable number of pedestrian conflicts result from RTOR, especially conflicts involving children, older pedestrians, or persons with disabilities.

RTOR restrictions during the busiest times of the day may be sufficient at some locations. However, full-time restrictions of RTOR may be needed near schools or in downtown areas with constant pedestrian activity; where sight distance is limited; where the intersection has more than four approach legs, or has a complex signal timing pattern; as well as where there are high concentrations of seniors and persons with disabilities.

Prohibiting RTOR is a simple, low-cost countermeasure to implement. Together with a leading pedestrian interval, the signal changes can benefit pedestrians with minimal impact on traffic.

Additional information on RTOR restrictions can be found at the following Web site:

 

EXHIBIT V-13
Strategy Attributes for Installing or Upgrading Traffic and Pedestrian Signals

Attribute

Description

Technical Attributes

Target(s)

Pedestrians and vehicles at signalized intersections, or at midblock locations, where a significant volume of through or turning vehicular traffic is present.

Expected Effectiveness

Pedestrian Signal Timing

Early release was found to reduce the vehicle-pedestrian conflict rate by up to 95 percent in St. Petersburg, Florida (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 1997).

Exclusive phasing for left turns and pedestrians has been associated with approximately a 50-percent reduction in motor vehicle–pedestrian crashes as compared to standard timing (Zegeer et al., 1982). Exclusive and scramble phases eliminate conflicts with turning vehicles if pedestrians and motorists obey their signals. Wider intersections require longer cycle lengths.

Leading pedestrian intervals have been used successfully in New York City and elsewhere, and studies have demonstrated reduced conflicts for pedestrians (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 1997).

Zegeer et al. (1983) conducted a comprehensive study of the effects of pedestrian signal timing on pedestrian crashes. They analyzed 2,081 pedestrian crashes at 1,297 signalized intersections in 15 U.S. cities. About 61 percent of the intersections had concurrent, exclusive, or other pedestrian signal timing schemes. They found that the use of concurrent timing had no significant effect on pedestrian crashes, compared to locations with no pedestrian signals. Exclusive (protected) phasing was associated with significantly fewer pedestrian crashes, compared to either concurrent timing or to no pedestrian signals. They suggested possible reasons as to why concurrent timing was not effective: (1) Low levels of pedestrian compliance to signals, (2) False sense of security on the part of some pedestrians, (3) Lack of understanding of the WALK and flashing DON'T WALK signals, and (4) Infrequent use of pedestrian push buttons to actuate the WALK signal.

Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS)

The information conveyed by audible signals increases the attention of all pedestrians to traffic and may contribute to a reduction in pedestrian-vehicular conflicts and crashes at signalized intersections (Van Houten et al., 1997). It is widely believed in many European countries, where audible signals are more widely used than in the United States, that the audible signals increase the speed at which most pedestrians initiate their crossings, thereby decreasing the necessary length of the pedestrian interval. Audible signals may also increase the safety of persons with cognitive disabilities.

However, two recent surveys of visually impaired pedestrians, as well as orientation and mobility specialists, found a number of problems. For example, visually impaired pedestrians may be unable to tell if a push button is present. They may have difficulty finding the push button. The audible signal may not clearly indicate which crosswalk has the WALK signal, or they may not be able to use the audible signal for guidance as they cross the street (Bentzen et al., 2000; Carroll and Bentzen, 1999).

Signal Enhancements

Automated pedestrian detectors have been found to improve pedestrian compliance with signals. They also reduce conflicts between pedestrians and motor vehicles (Hughes et al., 2000).

Countdown signals have been shown to result in fewer pedestrians still in the crosswalk when the steady DON'T WALK signal appears (compared to sites without countdown signals). However, countdown signals have had the undesired effect of reducing pedestrian compliance (Huang and Zegeer, 2000)

Right-Turn-on-Red Restrictions

Zegeer and Cynecki (1986) found that about 21 percent of motorists violated NO TURN ON RED signs if given the opportunity. Twenty-three percent of RTOR violations resulted in a motor vehicle–pedestrian conflict. Illuminated NO TURN ON RED signs, NO TURN ON RED signs with a red ball underneath, and offset stop bars at intersections where right-turn-on-red is allowed were all effective in reducing risk to pedestrians. The NO TURN ON RED sign with the red ball was more effective than the standard black and white NO TURN ON RED signs. For motorists making a right-turn-on-red, an offset stop-bar was found to increase compliance (i.e., making a full stop before turning right on red) and also reduced conflicts with cross-street traffic. An electronic NO TURN ON RED sign that was actuated only during school crossing times or other critical times was slightly more effective, but considerably more costly, than traditional signs. In general, driver compliance was improved when the right-turn-on-red restriction was limited to peak pedestrian times, instead of all times.

Keys to Success

Traffic and Pedestrian Signals

Signal cycles should be kept short (ideally 90 seconds maximum), to reduce pedestrian delay. Pedestrians are very sensitive to delays, so that if they perceive a long delay, they are likely to disobey the signal.

Pedestrian Signals and APS

Where pedestrian traffic is regular and frequent, pedestrian phases should come up automatically. Pedestrian actuation should be used only when pedestrian crossings are intermittent.

Ensure that signals are always visible to pedestrians, including those in the crosswalk and those waiting on the far side of the street. If push buttons are used, they must be well signed and visible and within reach and operable from a flat surface for all pedestrians, including those in wheelchairs.

Furthermore, it is desirable for the user to receive an audible feedback that the "call" has been registered. Push buttons should be mounted approximately 1.1 m (3.5 ft) above the sidewalk, within 1.5 m (5 ft) of the extended crosswalk and within 3 m (10 ft) of the edge of the curb, shoulder, or pavement. If buttons are needed to cross both streets, they must be separated by at least 3 m (10 ft), and each button should be parallel to the crosswalk to be used (Federal Highway Administration, 2003).

Locator tones on APS push buttons can provide guidance on the existence of a pedestrian push button and help visually impaired pedestrians locate the button.

Pedestrian Signal Timing

Pedestrian signal timing changes should not have significant adverse effects on vehicle traffic operations.

Right-Turn-on-Red Restrictions

NO TURN ON RED signs should be installed adjacent to the signal indication on the right side of the street, so as to be clearly visible to right-turning motorists stopped in the curb lane at the crosswalk. A PI&E effort, coordinated with an enforcement of the installations, will help establish conformity to the law.

Potential Difficulties

Pedestrian Signal Timing

Longer WALK or pedestrian clearance intervals may require longer cycle lengths, which in turn can add to vehicular delay.

Exclusive and scramble timing usually create longer cycle lengths and longer waits for the WALK signal. Thus, vehicle and pedestrian delay are increased.

With exclusive and scramble timing, it may not be possible to synchronize signals at adjacent intersections.

The benefits of alternative signal timing schemes may not extend to pedestrians with vision impairments.

Optimal signal timing, to accommodate phasing for left-turn movements or split-timing schemes, as well as an exclusive pedestrian phase, will usually require cycle lengths of 120 seconds or more.

Added delay to vehicles may cause motorists to use neighborhood streets to bypass queues or to change routes, which may create safety problems at other locations.

Since countdown pedestrian signals are not included in the 2000 MUTCD, permission for using them must be granted by the FHWA for those agencies that have adopted the Millennium Edition of the MUTCD.

Right-Turn-on-Red Restrictions

RTOR restrictions may result in more right-turn-on-green conflicts. The use of leading pedestrian intervals can usually address this situation.

RTOR restrictions will increase delay at the intersection for motor vehicles.

Appropriate Measures and Data

The principal measures of effectiveness are vehicle-vehicle and vehicle-pedestrian crashes. Surrogate safety measures include conflicts between pedestrians and motor vehicles, pedestrian compliance with signals, the ability of pedestrians to finish crossing by the end of the clearance interval, and motorist compliance with right-turnon-red restrictions. Motorist delay and traffic volumes are measures of operational impact. Care should be taken to measure conditions at all locations potentially affected by the changes in control.

Associated Needs

Major changes in signal timing should be preceded with a public information campaign to avoid violating expectations of most drivers and to facilitate compliance. A coordinated enforcement program will also help maximize the benefits of some of these changes.

Organizational and Institutional Attributes

Organizational, Institutional, and Policy Issues

The needs of pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists need to be balanced when designing and operating intersections. For example, a design walking speed of 3 ft/sec (instead of 4 ft/sec) means that the pedestrian clearance intervals will be longer and pedestrians will have more time to cross. However, vehicle delay and cycle lengths may increase, which could in turn result in more pedestrian delay.

At intersections where RTOR prohibitions are installed, there may be a need to provide police enforcement to help insure motorist compliance.

Issues Affecting Implementation Time

It may take more than a year to implement these countermeasures. Traffic engineers often conduct engineering studies to determine whether one or more of these countermeasures are warranted at a specific location. The availability of funds to cover the costs of hardware, signs, installation, and maintenance depends on local and state funding cycles. Innovative countermeasures such as automated detectors may require some additional time for adjustments to improve operations. Depending on local climatic conditions, installation may be feasible year-round or only during the warmer months.

Costs Involved

Costs associated with this strategy will vary widely, depending upon the countermeasure to be implemented and the conditions at the site. See Appendix 8 for specific estimates of cost.

Training and Other Personnel Needs

There do not appear to be any special personnel needs. Some training may be needed for less commonly used countermeasures, such as automated pedestrian detectors.

Legislative Needs

The use of any device that is not contained in the MUTCD requires the approval of the FHWA.

Other Key Attributes

 

None.

Strategy 9.1 A3: Construct Pedestrian Refuge Islands and Raised Medians

Raised pedestrian refuge islands, or medians at crossing locations along roadways, provide another strategy to reduce exposure between pedestrians and motor vehicles. Refuge islands and medians that are raised (i.e., not just painted) provide pedestrians more secure places of refuge during the street crossing. This simplifies the crossing maneuver for pedestrians by creating the equivalent of two narrower one-way streets instead of one wide two-way street. State and local DOTs may choose to install raised medians and refuge islands not only for improved pedestrian safety, but also to provide improved motor-vehicle safety. Adding a raised median converts an undivided road to a divided road, which helps channel motor vehicles.

Raised Medians

EXHIBIT V-14
Raised medians can serve as a place of refuge for pedestrians who cross a street midblock or at an intersection. (Photo by Dan Burden)

"A median is defined as the portion of a divided highway separating the traveled way for traffic in opposing directions" (AASHTO, 1994). Medians are either painted on the pavement or raised above it. Raised medians can serve as a place of refuge for pedestrians who cross a street midblock or at an intersection location (Exhibit V-14). They may also provide space for landscaping that can help to change the character of a street and reduce vehicle speeds. However, landscaping should not block sight distance between motorists and pedestrians. Raised medians allow pedestrians to concentrate on only one direction of traffic at a time. When considering raised medians, turning movements need to be carefully evaluated, so that motorists are not encouraged to travel on inappropriate routes, such as residential streets, or make unsafe U-turns. Medians and islands that are only painted (i.e., not raised) do not provide the same benefits as raised ones. Median crossings must be fully accessible by means of curb ramps or cut-throughs. With medians, it is also important to ensure that there is enough room for wider sidewalks, bike lanes, and planting strips before proceeding with construction. While raised medians are not appropriate for all roadways (for example, they are generally not recommended on higher-speed rural highways), on certain roadways they have been shown to reduce motor–vehicle, as well as pedestrian, crash rates. In Florida, for example, raised medians are frequently installed on suburban arterial streets to reduce crash rates.

See Florida Department of Transportation Median Handbook (Planning Division, 1997) for more explicit policy on raised medians.

Additional information on the use of raised medians can be found at the following Web sites:

Crossing Islands

Crossing islands, which are also known as center islands, refuge islands, pedestrian islands, or median slow points, are raised islands placed in the street at intersection or midblock locations to help protect crossing pedestrians from motor vehicles (Exhibit V-15). Raised center crossing islands will allow pedestrians to concentrate on (or cross) only one direction of traffic at a time; they can stop partway across the street and wait for an adequate gap in traffic before completing their crossing. Where crosswalks are installed at uncontrolled locations (i.e., where no traffic signals or stop signs exist), raised crossing islands should be considered as a possible supplement to the crosswalk. Crossing islands are also appropriate at many signalized crossings. If there is adequate width and on-street parking, center crossing islands can be used with curb extensions to create an improved pedestrian crossing.

EXHIBIT V-15
Crossing islands are raised islands placed in the street to help protect pedestrians from motor vehicles. (Photo by Michael Ronkin)

EXHIBIT V-16
Strategy Attributes for Constructing Pedestrian Refuge Islands and Raised Medians

Attribute

Description

Technical Attributes

Target(s)

This strategy targets pedestrians who attempt to cross multilane arterial or collector streets.

Expected Effectiveness

The FHWA (Federal Highway Administration, 2002) found that the presence of a raised median (or raised crossing island) was associated with a significantly lower pedestrian crash rate at multilane crossing locations, with both marked and unmarked crosswalks. (See Strategy 9.1 B2 for a graph of findings.) In contrast, painted (not raised) medians and center two-way left-turn lanes did not offer significant safety benefits to pedestrians on multilane roads, compared to no median at all. View this article.

Bowman and Vecellio (1994) compared undivided multilane roadways, two-way leftturn lanes, and raised-curb medians. In both central business district and suburban locations, the pedestrian crash rate was significantly higher on undivided arterials than on arterials with raised medians.

After analyzing intersections in Stockholm and Malmö, Sweden, Gårder (1989) concluded that installing a refuge island decreased the pedestrian crash risk to twothirds of what it was originally. However, the incidence of red-walking (i.e., the percentage of pedestrians who arrive on a red signal but decide to cross the street before the signal allows them to) was higher when a refuge island was present (15 percent) than when there was no refuge island (10 percent).

Keys to Success

Raised medians are most useful on arterial streets, where there are typically high traffic volumes and multilane operation.

They should be designed to provide tactile cues for pedestrians with visual impairments to indicate the border between the pedestrian refuge area and the motorized vehicle roadway. Also, islands should be designed to accommodate pedestrians in wheelchairs. Refer to Section 8-18 of the FHWA report Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access: Part II of II (Federal Highway Administration, 2001)

Landscaped medians should not obstruct the visibility between pedestrians and approaching motorists and should not include objects that represent a collision hazard to vehicles that may run onto the median.

Crossing islands should be illuminated, as well as highlighted with streetlights, signs, and/or reflectors, to ensure that motorists see them. Larger islands that are more visible to motorists are less likely to be hit by a vehicle. An island can be made to appear larger through the use of pavement markings.

Potential Difficulties

Continuous raised medians may not be appropriate in all situations. Sometimes, separating opposing traffic flow and eliminating left-turn friction can increase traffic speeds. Medians may also take up space that can be better used for wider sidewalks, bicycle lanes, landscaping buffer-strips, or on-street parking. Medians may also cause problems for emergency vehicles. At some locations, medians can be constructed in sections, creating an intermittent rather than continuous median. Raised crossing islands at intersections or near driveways may affect left-turn access.

Raised, continuous median channelization may be opposed by businesses along a corridor as a perceived inhibitor to their business, with expected loss of revenue. This can sometimes be mitigated through driveway consolidation (access management), allowing the median breaks to be minimized. Another strategy is to construct midblock U-turns (i.e., the Michigan left turn), so that businesses are easily accessible.

Pedestrian refuge islands may conflict with the need to provide open pavement for right-turning traffic with large turning paths. A right-turn slip lane can accommodate trucks and other vehicles with large turning paths, but it needs to be well designed to discourage high-speed vehicle turns and to improve the right-turning motorist's view of pedestrians.

Raised medians require landscape maintenance. They can also make utility placement and maintenance more difficult and complicate construction zone detours.

Appropriate Measures and Data

Performance measures include the number of crashes involving pedestrians crossing a street. The installation of a median barrier may have safety benefits for vehicular traffic as well. Therefore, vehicular crashes should also be documented, especially those related to left-turn and angle crashes at driveways. Operational impacts may also occur that should be measured. Surrogate pedestrian safety measures include pedestrianvehicular conflicts, pedestrians trapped in the middle of the road, and aborted crossings.

Associated Needs

A public information campaign will help businesses and motorists prepare for changed traffic conditions.

Organizational and Institutional Attributes

Organizational, Institutional, and Policy Issues

The DOT, or other public agencies that implement these changes, should involve all potentially affected parties early in the planning process. Agencies may need to develop new or revised policies regarding the use of these devices. Public hearings may be needed if driveway access will be restricted.

Issues Affecting Implementation Time

Implementation time may be affected by the amount of public involvement and controversy surrounding the proposed program This can occur during the planning, design, and funding acquisition processes.

Costs Involved

The cost for pedestrian refuge islands and raised medians will vary widely, depending upon the design, site conditions, and use of landscaping and whether the median can be added as part of another street construction project. See Appendix 9 for estimates of typical cost.

Training and Other Personnel Needs

None identified.

Legislative Needs

None identified.

Other Key Attributes

 

None identified.

Strategy 9.1 A4 Provide Vehicle Restriction/Diversion Measures

This strategy involves the installation of physical features in the roadway to force or prohibit specific motorist actions such as turns or through movements. These physical features create a visual impression that the street is not intended for through traffic. Signs such as "No Through Traffic" and "Dead End" are needed to advise drivers that they are approaching a vehicle-restricted area. Restriction and diversion measures should be used sparingly and thoughtfully, since they can cause the vehicular problem to simply shift to another street. For most problem situations, traffic calming is the appropriate solution.

This strategy includes four countermeasures (see also FHWA's Pedestrian Facilities Users Guide (U.S. Department of Transportation, 2002)).

Diverters

Diverters prevent certain through and/or turning movements at residential street intersections. Exhibit V-17 illustrates four types of diverters. A diagonal diverter prevents through movements by forcing right or left turns. A star diverter consists of a star-shaped island placed in the intersection to force right turns from each approach. A truncated diagonal diverter has one end open, to allow additional turning movements. Other types of island diverters, such as a forced turn diverter, can be placed on one or more approach legs to prevent through movements and left turns, so that vehicles are forced to turn right. Pedestrian, bicycle, and emergency vehicle access, as well as stormwater drainage, should be accommodated when designing diverters. If a street is a major bicycle corridor, consideration should be given to constructing a diverter that still allows bicyclists to pass through, and in general less-restrictive measures should be considered before installing diverters.

EXHIBIT V-17
Four of several types of diverters.

Additional information on the use of diverters can be found at the following Web sites:

EXHIBIT V-18
A partial street closure involves physically closing or blocking one direction of motor-vehicle travel into or out of an intersection. (Photo by Dan Burden)

Partial Street Closure

A partial street closure involves physically closing or blocking one direction of motor-vehicle travel into or out of an intersection (Exhibit V-18). It could also block one entry point to a two-way street (although after this point the street may remain two way). A partial street closure should always allow for easy access by pedestrians (including those in wheelchairs) and bicyclists, as well as emergency vehicles. The impact of a closure on traffic flow patterns on the surrounding streets should be considered before implementing a partial street closure at the entrance to a neighborhood or area (Exhibit V-18).

Additional information on the use of partial street closure can be found at the following Web sites:

Full Street Closure

With a full street closure, a physical barrier is installed to block a street to motor-vehicle traffic and provide some means for vehicles to turn around (Exhibit V-19). If a full street closure is done, it should always allow for easy access by pedestrians (including those in wheelchairs) and bicyclists. Emergency vehicles should also be able to access the street. This can be done using an electronically operated barrier that permits large vehicles, but not passenger cars, to traverse it. Alternatively, one can use ground-cover plantings that emergency vehicles can easily traverse. Finally, surface drainage must be accommodated.

Additional information on the use of full street closure can be found at the following Web sites:

Pedestrian Street

EXHIBIT V-19
A full street closure should always allow for easy access by pedestrians and bicyclists. (Photo by Dan Burden)

There are two types of pedestrian streets: (1) those that eliminate motor-vehicle traffic (deliveries may be permitted during off-peak hours) and (2) those that allow some motor-vehicle traffic (often limited to buses or taxis) at very low speeds. A pedestrian street can be part time, as in New Orleans, where removable barriers are used to close French-Quarter streets to motorists at night. Pedestrian streets have been successful in places that are thriving and have high volumes of pedestrians.

There are several examples of successful pedestrian street implementation:

Additional information on the use of pedestrian streets can be found at the following Web sites:

EXHIBIT V-20
Strategy Attributes for Providing Vehicle Restriction/Diversion Measures

Attribute

Description

Technical Attributes

Target(s)

Motor vehicles: These countermeasures are designed to reduce or eliminate motorvehicle traffic on low-volume streets, especially cut-through traffic in neighborhoods.

Expected Effectiveness

General

Pedestrians benefit because they are exposed to fewer motor vehicles, which means less risk of a crash, fewer conflicts, and a higher perception that it is safe to walk without being hit by a vehicle.

Street Closure

In Upsala, Sweden, streets were closed to vehicular traffic, one-way flow was instituted on bypass routes, and bus-only streets were implemented. Lovemark (1974) examined the impact of this area-wide traffic-restriction plan on pedestrian risk, defined as the probability of a collision that resulted in personal injury. The risk for pedestrians fell by 29 percent within the restricted area, but rose by 30 percent outside the restricted area.

A study of street closures and other devices at 19 sites in London, England, found that pedestrian crashes declined by 24 percent (Brownfield, 1980).

Keys to Success

A. Any full or partial street-closures must be coordinated with local school officials (for bus service), sanitation, fire and police departments, and any other agency that needs to use the street to ensure services are maintained.

B. Those countermeasures that are permanent must be appropriate at all hours of the day and night.

C. These countermeasures should be part of an overall traffic management strategy.

D. When considering these measures, it is highly desirable to include the entire neighborhood in the decision-making process. This will allow input from the entire affected area and will help prevent the level of road safety in one part of the neighborhood from being sacrificed to benefit another part. It is important to keep residents and businesses informed on what is being proposed, how it can benefit them, and what the likely tradeoffs are. A public-information and education program is thus important to the success of such projects. The affected residents and businesses should be able to provide input so that their concerns can be addressed.

E. A test period should be used to identify, and make adjustments to, potential problems for residents and others in the adjacent areas, as well as emergency and school access.

Potential Difficulties

General

The disadvantages of these countermeasures are their potential high cost, negative impact on emergency-vehicle response times, loss of convenient motor-vehicle access to some parts of a neighborhood, and diversion of traffic onto nearby streets.

Diverters

Diverters affect residents more than through traffic.

Street Closure

Full street closures will create extensive out-of-the-way travel for some residents and can have negative economic effects on adjacent businesses. Partial street closures will create out-of-the-way travel for some residents, but are less disruptive to neighborhood access, drainage, and emergency/large vehicle access.

Vehicle speeds may increase on streets that become one-way.

Pedestrian Street

Pedestrian streets, which are created with the intent of attracting people in declining areas, have usually been unsuccessful.

Appropriate Measures and Data

The primary measure of effectiveness is frequency of crashes, both vehicle-vehicle and vehicle-pedestrian. The number of motor vehicles, number of conflicts between motor vehicles and pedestrians, and vehicle speeds may also be used as safety surrogates. Measures of safety should be assessed for nearby neighborhood-street segments affected by the diverted traffic and not just the targeted road segment. Operational impact measures include motorist delay and vehicle-miles of travel. If businesses are affected, any evaluation of program effectiveness must also take into account economic losses or gains for these businesses.

Associated Needs

The closure of one or more road segments has area-wide impact. A public information campaign is needed to make affected populations aware of the reasons for, and benefits of, the program. In addition, an enforcement program will greatly enhance the effort, especially during the introductory period for the changes.

Organizational and Institutional Attributes

Organizational, Institutional, and Policy Issues

Mechanisms are needed for including the entire neighborhood in the decision-making process. Residents, area businesses, and schools, as well as local sanitation, fire, and police departments should be included in the process.

Issues Affecting Implementation Time

It may take 1 or more years to implement these countermeasures. Studies should be conducted to determine whether one or more of these countermeasures would be helpful at a specific location and to identify potential negative consequences. The process includes working with affected residents, businesses, schools, the local police and fire departments, and others to address their concerns. This public involvement process may take awhile, especially if the proposed countermeasures prove to be controversial. The types of vehicle diversion, and the locations within a neighborhood, may need to be modified. The availability of funds to cover the costs of installation depends upon local and state funding cycles.

Costs Involved

Costs will vary widely, depending upon the type of countermeasure chosen and the environment in which it is to be installed, including modifications needed to accommodate drainage. Some typical costs are given in Appendix 10.

Training and Other Personnel Needs

General

Training is needed on how to work with neighborhood groups and build a consensus for a traffic mitigation plan.

Partial Street Closure

Police enforcement may be needed to prevent motorists from violating a partial street closure.

Legislative Needs

Police may be encouraged to enhance enforcement of a restriction if an ordinance were passed that allowed for a reduced fine and no points for violating cut-through traffic restrictions that are not safety related. This might also help gain public support for the measures.

Other Key Attributes

 

None.

Strategy 9.1 A5: Install Overpasses/Underpasses

Pedestrian Overpasses and Underpasses

Pedestrian overpasses and underpasses (i.e., bridges and tunnels) allow for the uninterrupted flow of pedestrians separate from vehicular traffic (Exhibit V-21). Because these are high cost, require extensive time to implement, and are usually visually intrusive, they are primarily used as measures of last resort.

EXHIBIT V-21
Pedestrian overpasses and underpasses allow for the uninterrupted flow of pedestrians separate from vehicular traffic. (Photo by Yan Jai)

EXHIBIT V-22
Strategy Attributes for Installing Overpasses and Underpasses

Attribute

Description

Technical Attributes

Target(s)

This strategy principally targets pedestrians who are faced with crossing a freeway or other high-speed, high-volume arterial street and is especially relevant at locations with high pedestrian volumes. Railroad tracks are also sometimes targeted for overpasses or underpasses.

Expected Effectiveness

The effectiveness of these treatments depends largely upon the likelihood they will be used by most or all pedestrians who will cross the street. Reductions in pedestrian crashes of up to 90 percent have been found in Tokyo, Japan, after installing overpasses along with fencing to prevent at-grade crossings.

Accident Prevention Effects (Japan Road Association, 1969) reported the effects of 31 pedestrian overpasses in Tokyo, Japan, on pedestrian crashes. When the numbers of crashes within 100 meters of the overpasses during the 6-month periods before and after installation were compared, it was found that pedestrian-related crashes decreased by 91 percent. The number of crashes within 200 meters fell by 85 percent.

The effectiveness of pedestrian grade separation depends largely upon the proportion of pedestrians crossing at or near it that uses it. In turn, the level of use depends on convenience and walking distances compared with alternative crossing locations. Moore and Older (1965) found that most pedestrians will use an overpass if the walking time to use the overpass is the same (or less) as crossing at street level. However, if the walking time to use an overpass is 50 percent longer than crossing at street level, almost no one will use the overpass. This is illustrated in the figure below.

Keys to Success

As depicted above, studies have shown that many pedestrians will not use an overpass or underpass if they can cross at street level in about the same amount of time.

Overpasses work best when the topography allows for a structure without ramps (e.g., overpass over a below-grade freeway). Underpasses work best when designed to feel open and accessible. Pedestrians will generally not use these facilities if a more direct route is available. Tall fences and other pedestrian barriers are often used to channel pedestrians to use the overpass or underpass. However, these are not always effective, since pedestrians may cut the fence or simply go around the barriers and cross at driveways or intersections.

Ramps must be designed to accommodate pedestrians in wheelchairs and meet ADA standards. Stairs or elevators used to supplement the ramp will increase use while reducing the crossing time.

Some pedestrian bridges have included public art projects to improve their appearance and make them more appealing to the public.

Potential Difficulties

Difficulties include obtaining funds for retrofitting or installing an overpass or underpass. Also, it is often difficult to ensure that pedestrians will use the facility without providing high fencing, and such fencing can be visually unappealing and not always effective (e.g. when pedestrians cut holes in the fence). Nearby residents and other property owners may find a pedestrian bridge "ugly," and some residents may complain of a loss of privacy.

The extensive ramps required by ADA often use sizable amounts of right-of-way on each side of the overpass.

Underpasses can have chronic drainage and associated debris problems if not properly designed and maintained. Crime, vandalism, and graffiti can also cause problems. Adequate lighting is essential.

Appropriate Measures and Data

Performance measures include the number or percent of crashes involving pedestrians crossing the street and the change in probability of being involved in a crash.

A surrogate safety measure is the percentage of pedestrians who use the facility compared to those crossing at street level.

Associated Needs

Overpasses and underpasses must accommodate all persons, as required by the ADA. These measures include ramps or elevators. Extensive ramping will accommodate wheelchairs and bicyclists but results in long crossing distances that discourage use. High fences or other barriers may be needed to block pedestrians from crossing at street level.

Organizational and Institutional Attributes

Organizational, Institutional, and Policy Issues

State and many local DOTs have the organizational structure to implement this strategy. Overpasses and underpasses can either be retrofitted to existing roadways or included in the planning and design of new roads.

Issues Affecting Implementation Time

The time required to implement overpasses or underpasses is certainly affected by the ability and desire of the agency to obtain needed funding. Further, there is a need to satisfy ADA requirements, which can affect the schedule for implementation. Finally, significant time is required to design the structure and acquire any additional right-of-way for it.

Costs Involved

The cost for an overpass or underpass can range from $500,000 to $4 million, depending on site characteristics and right-of-way acquisition required.

Training and Other Personnel Needs

Designers must be trained regarding ADA requirements.

Legislative Needs

None.

Other Key Attributes

 

Underpasses can also work very well for bicyclists, since cyclists gain speed going down, which then propels them up the other side.

 

Objective 9.1 B—Improve Sight Distance and/or Visibility Between Motor Vehicles and Pedestrians

Strategy 9.1 B1: Provide Crosswalk Enhancements

EXHIBIT V-23
It is sometimes useful to supplement crosswalk markings with motorist warning signs. (Photo by Michael Ronkin)

The intent of marked crosswalks is to indicate the optimal or preferred locations for pedestrians to cross. They also help designate right-of-way and may encourage motorists to yield to pedestrians. Marked crosswalks are commonly installed at signalized intersections, as well as other high-volume pedestrian-crossing locations, such as school zones. Acceptable crosswalk marking patterns are given in the MUTCD. Marked crosswalks are desirable at some locations having regular pedestrian crossing activity (often in conjunction with other measures). In some cases, crosswalks can be raised and should often be installed in conjunction with other physical roadway enhancements that reinforce the crosswalk and/or reduce vehicle speeds. It is sometimes useful to supplement crosswalk markings with motorist warning signs (Exhibit V-23). The report recommends that on multilane roads with traffic volumes above about 12,000, more substantial pedestrian crossing treatments are needed to help pedestrians to cross them safely.

Another crosswalk enhancement sanctioned in the 2003 MUTCD is in-pavement flashing lights. Amber lights are embedded in the pavement on both sides of the crosswalk, oriented to face oncoming traffic. When the pedestrian activates the system, either by using a push button or through detection from an automated device, the lights begin to flash at a constant rate, warning the motorist that a pedestrian is in the vicinity of the crosswalk ahead. There have been several municipalities that have implemented in-pavement lights, including the city of Kirkland, Washington, which successfully installed lights in 17 locations in 1997.

Marked crosswalks should only be used at locations with adequate visibility. Reasonable accommodation should be made to make crossings convenient as well as safe.

Crosswalk markings should be visible to motorists, particularly at night, and should not be slippery or create tripping hazards (Exhibit V-24). Although granite and cobblestones are aesthetically appealing materials, they are generally not appropriate for crosswalks because they can cause tripping hazards and difficulties for wheelchairs. Stamped or colored concrete should be accompanied with paint lines and have a nonstamped area in the center, between the two strips of stamped concrete. Inlay tape is one of the best materials for marking crosswalks because it is highly reflective, long lasting, slip resistant, and low maintenance. Both inlay tape and thermoplastic are more cost-effective in the long run than paint. Inlay tape is recommended for new and resurfaced pavement, while thermoplastic may be a preferred option on rough pavement surfaces. Crosswalk markings should be placed to include the curb ramps, so that a wheelchair does not have to leave the crosswalk to access the ramp.

Recommended guidelines and priorities and/or enhancements for crosswalk installation at uncontrolled locations are available in the 2000 MUTCD and the Traffic Control Devices Handbook (Institute of Transportation Engineers, 2001b) Chapter 13, Pedestrians. These guidelines are based upon a major nationwide study for FHWA (see Appendix C of Federal Highway Administration [2002]). Recommendations are also given for providing other pedestrian crossing enhancements at uncontrolled locations with and without a marked crosswalk.

EXHIBIT V-24
Example of Crosswalk Marking Patterns (Note: Neither the solid crosswalk nor the dashed lines (which are common in Europe) are included in the 2000 MUTCD.)

EXHIBIT V-25
Strategy Attributes for Installing Overpasses and Underpasses

Attribute

Description

Technical Attributes

Target(s)

This strategy is directed at pedestrians, to guide them to the best location to cross a high-volume, or wide, street when a signal is not present. Marked crosswalks may also serve to alert drivers of pedestrian crossing activity. (For signalized crossings, see Strategy 9.1 C3.)

Expected Effectiveness

Zegeer et al. (2002) performed a study of 1,000 marked crosswalk sites and 1,000 matching unmarked sites in 30 U.S. cities. The study found that on two-lane roads there was no statistical difference in pedestrian crash rate between a marked crosswalk with no supplementary treatments at an uncontrolled location and an unmarked crosswalk. On multilane roads with traffic volumes above about 12,000 vehicles per day, a marked crosswalk (without other substantial improvements) was associated with a significantly higher pedestrian crash rate (after controlling for other site factors) compared to an unmarked crosswalk (see exhibit below). One reason for the higher crash rate was an increase in "multiple-threat" crashes. This situation arises when a motorist stops to let a pedestrian cross and the pedestrian is struck by a motorist traveling in the same direction whose view of the pedestrian is blocked by the stopped vehicle (see Exhibit III-10). Another reason for the higher crash rates at marked crosswalklocations was that pedestrians over 65 years old were much more likely to cross at these locations, and, compared to other age groups, these older pedestrians have a higher risk of being struck by cars.

The same study revealed that raised medians were associated with significantly lower pedestrian crash rates on multilane roads compared to roads with no raised median. Again, older pedestrians had crash rates that were high relative to their crossing exposure. The figure above summarizes the study findings. The report's recommendations for adding crosswalks and other pedestrian crossing enhancements are contained in Appendix 11. Although there was no significant difference in the pedestrian crash rates for three-lane roads vs. those with four or more lanes, the report recommendations address each of these situations separately. For more details on this study, see Appendix 11 and the referenced report. The reader is also referred to the ITE Web site for updated guidelines currently under development by the ITE Pedestrian and Bicycle Council, Subcommittee on Pedestrian Treatments at Uncontrolled Crossings.

Keys to Success

Crosswalk locations should be convenient for pedestrians and should be accessible for pedestrians in wheelchairs.

Crosswalk markings, without related enhancements, are unlikely to increase pedestrian safety. Ideally, crosswalks should be used in conjunction with other measures, such as curb extensions, to improve the safety of the crossing, particularly on multilane roads with average daily traffic (ADT) above about 10,000.

Marked crosswalks should guide pedestrians to cross at locations where there is street lighting at night.

Marked crosswalks are important for pedestrians with vision loss. Detectable warnings are needed to advise pedestrians with visual impairments where the curb ramp ends and the street begins. See also "Accessible Pedestrian Signals," Strategy 9.1 A2. For more details, see section 4.4.2 of the report Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access, Part II of II (Federal Highway Administration, 2001).

Potential Difficulties

Inconsistent or excessive use of marked crosswalks can result in confusion to both pedestrians and drivers, violate driver expectancies, and lead to disrespect for the control devices being used. It may also pose liability risks for the public agency.

Appropriate Measures and Data

Measures of effectiveness include the number of pedestrians struck while crossing the street. Measures of driver and pedestrian behavior (e.g., near misses, conflicts, and violations of the crosswalk) may be used as safety surrogates. The proportion of pedestrians using the marked crosswalk may also be a measure of effectiveness.

Associated Needs

A program to improve pedestrian crossings should be coordinated with an enforcement and public-information and education campaign (see Objective 9.1 D)

Organizational and Institutional Attributes

Organizational, Institutional, and Policy Issues

It is important to establish a sound policy for installing pedestrian crossing enhancements. The city of Seattle has implemented an excellent policy in this regard. Also see material available at this pedestrian web site.

Issues Affecting Implementation Time

Significant time will be required to prepare a truly comprehensive approach. Weather and season of the year may also affect the scheduling of adding or restriping marked crosswalks. In general, it is possible that a program can be completed within a year.

Costs Involved

$100 for standard striped crosswalk, $300 for a ladder crosswalk, and $3,000 for a patterned concrete crosswalk.

Training and Other Personnel Needs

Training most importantly relates to which type of crossing enhancement to select under different traffic and roadway conditions.

Legislative Needs

A set of laws are needed at the state and local level to support the proper relationship between pedestrians and vehicles on the roadway. The Model Uniform Vehicle Code can serve as a resource. View an example of a set of laws in Seattle, Washington. This location also links to a pictorial representation of the State of Washington law on crosswalks.

Other Key Attributes

 

None.

 

Strategy 9.1 B2: Implement Lighting/Crosswalk Illumination Measures

Good placement of lighting and adequate lighting levels can enhance an environment for walking, as well as increase pedestrian safety and security. Pedestrians often assume that motorists can see them at night, since the pedestrian can see the oncoming headlights. Therefore, emphasis is needed on providing the driver the help needed to see the pedestrian in time to stop.

EXHIBIT V-26
Nighttime pedestrian crossing areas should be properly illuminated. (Photo by Dan Burden)

In commercial areas with nighttime pedestrian activity, streetlights and building lights can enhance the visibility of pedestrians to motorists. It is best to place continuous streetlights along both sides of arterial streets to provide for consistent levels of lighting along a roadway. Nighttime pedestrian crossing areas should be properly illuminated. This includes lighting pedestrian crosswalks and approaches to the crosswalks (Exhibit V-26).

In commercial or downtown areas, pedestrian-level lighting may be placed over the sidewalks to improve pedestrian safety, security, and comfort. Mercury vapor, incandescent, or less-expensive high-pressure sodium lighting may be used for pedestrian-level lighting. Low-pressure sodium lights are more energy-efficient and create less light pollution, but their yellow color can "mask" the amber lights at traffic signals, and they are generally less popular with both pedestrians and drivers.

EXHIBIT V-27
Strategy Attributes for Installing Overpasses and Underpasses

Attribute

Description

Technical Attributes

Target

This strategy is directed at motorists who are driving at night in areas with pedestrian activity.

Expected Effectiveness

In Perth, Australia, there were 62 percent fewer pedestrian crashes at night after crosswalks were floodlighted than before (Pegrum, 1972). The installation of a combined illumination and signing system for crosswalks in Israel reduced nighttime pedestrian crashes by 43 percent, while daylight crashes were relatively unchanged (Polus and Katz, 1978). Freedman et al. (1975) observed the impacts of improved lighting on driver and pedestrian behavior in Philadelphia. It was found that pedestrian search behavior improved significantly, and drivers appeared to be more aware of crosswalks.

Keys to Success

Install lighting on both sides of wide streets and streets in commercial districts. Provide uniform lighting levels to avoid "dark spots."

Potential Difficulties

Difficulties include acquiring adequate funding to install new lighting in developing areas. Also, it should be noted that existing street lighting may be ineffective for pedestrians if it is too high or if trees block the light from reaching the sidewalk.

Appropriate Measures and Data

Measures of effectiveness for evaluating lighting improvements include the number of nighttime pedestrian crashes and the percentage of all crashes that occur at night. Increased pedestrian activities and lower crime rates can also be used as measures of improved conditions.

Associated Needs

In addition to installing good-quality lighting, there is a need to provide regular maintenance and monitoring of lighting levels.

Organizational and Institutional Attributes

Organizational, Institutional, and Policy Issues

It is important for state and local agencies to establish policies for lighting in pedestrian areas, as well as a procedure for identifying and implementing needed lighting

Many state DOTs have policies that limit or prohibit payment for lighting as part of road construction projects, leaving its funding as a local contribution.

Issues Affecting Implementation Time

Availability of funding for lighting improvements is a key issue affecting implementation time. Also, local governments often prefer more expensive, decorative lighting versus the standard lighting provided by many state standards. Resolving these issues, including who pays for what, can delay lighting project completion.

Costs Involved

Cost varies widely, depending upon the type of lighting fixtures, the location of the power source, overhead versus underground power services, and service agreement with local utility company.

Training and Other Personnel Needs

Lighting improvements can be made by agency personnel or by private contract. In either case, experienced personnel are needed to design and install lighting improvements. Monitoring and maintenance programs are needed, including night inspections.

Legislative Needs

None.

Other Key Attributes

Legislative Needs

The type of lighting (mercury vapor, incandescent, or high-pressure sodium) should be selected based on the needs for a given roadway situation.

 

9.1 B3: Eliminate Screening by Physical Objects

EXHIBIT V-28
Restricting parking in advance of a crosswalk is one way to improve the sight distance between motorists and pedestrians. (Photo by Charlie Zegeer)

Sight Distance. Crosswalks should not be placed close to horizontal or crest vertical curves to avoid inadequate sight distance to crossing pedestrians.

Parking. Pedestrian crashes become more likely when the motorist and pedestrian cannot see they are on intersecting paths. Screening can occur in several ways. First, a parked vehicle can screen the view of a pedestrian beginning to cross the street (Exhibit V-28). Restricting parking in advance of the crosswalk is one way to eliminate this problem. The MUTCD indicates that there should be no parking 20 feet in advance of crosswalks. Another way to solve this problem is to install curb extensions at intersection and midblock crosswalk locations (see Section 9.1 A3). This treatment increases the visibility of pedestrians starting to cross, but the pedestrian is still already in the lane of travel once he or she enters the roadway. Therefore curb extensions do not eliminate the requirement to restrict parking in advance of the crosswalk.

Utility Poles, Signs, and Street Furniture. A properly designed street corner will improve sight distance. Crashes can occur when a pedestrian steps out from behind a utility pole or other obstructions which block the pedestrian's and motorist's view of each other. Eliminating trash cans, newspaper boxes, and other clutter from the intersection can improve intersection sight distance.

Vehicles Yielding Too Close to Crosswalk. This is documented to be the most dangerous type of screening situation involving crosswalks. In this instance, a motorist stops so close to the crosswalk that the stopped vehicle will block the view of other oncoming motorists in the adjacent lane. If the pedestrian steps out from behind the yielding vehicle just as the other oncoming vehicle arrives at the crosswalk, a crash is likely to occur. There is a secondary danger that may occur in this situation. A vehicle following behind the yielding vehicle could attempt to pass the stopped vehicle and will not see the pedestrian until it is too late. Both types of crashes are very dangerous because the driver only sees the pedestrian at the last moment and therefore has little or no time to brake. The best way to address this problem is to install yield markings along with a sign instructing motorists to yield at the marking (Exhibit V-29). If the motorist stops sufficiently far back, it increases sight distance and markedly reduces the chance of a multiple-threat crash.

EXHIBIT V-29
Installing advance yield markings along with a sign instructing motorists to yield can reduce the chance of a pedestrian crash and also reduce the likelihood of a rear-end collision. (Photo by Michael Ronkin)

EXHIBIT V-30
Strategy Attributes for Reducing Screening by Physical Objects at Crosswalks

Attribute

Description

Technical Attributes

Target

This strategy is directed at physical conditions which result in a pedestrian, who is crossing the street, being screened from view.

Expected Effectiveness

Studies have shown that reducing visual screening by installing advance yielding markings can produce large reductions in motor-vehicle/pedestrian conflicts at crosswalks (Van Houten et al., 2003, 2001c). Compliance with the markings has been shown to be high (Nee and Hallenbeck, 2003; Van Houten et al., 2003, 2001c) and conflict reductions of between 76 percent and 77 percent have been reported (Van Houten et. al, 2003, 2001c).

Keys to Success

A basic key to success is having a mechanism for identifying problem locations and programming improvements. This can be a combination of active agency field review along with provision for input from law enforcement and the community.

Design guidelines and criteria are needed to help identify inadequate situations as well as to arrive at effective improvements.

Where a new control, such as the advance yield marking, is to be employed, it will be important to educate the public on its meaning and appropriate behaviors toward it.

Potential Difficulties

Physical constraints will sometimes make it infeasible to meet the desired standards. For example, markings for advance yield points on approaches to crosswalks may be placed between 20 and 50 feet in advance of the crosswalk. Sometimes the locations of intersections or driveways make optimal placement difficult. Another example is where the street and sidewalk network, along with traffic volumes, creates a natural pedestrian crossing point at an undesirable curve location. In such cases, it will often be expensive, or just infeasible, to change the alignment. Furthermore, the inconvenience to pedestrians that may result from a relocation of the crossing point could make it unacceptable. In such cases, other strategies may have to be employed, including advance warning signs and flashers. As a final example, any time there is elimination of parking, there may be strong resistance, depending upon the surrounding land use and availability of alternative parking locations.

Appropriate Measures and Data

The primary measure of effectiveness would be the change in number of crashes, by type, including crossing pedestrians and rear-end. Pedestrian-vehicle and vehicle-vehicle conflicts might be used as surrogates for early evaluation of a program. Process measures include the number of improvements made and the number of pedestrians affected by the improvements made.

Associated Needs

Advance crosswalk warning signs, electronic devices to alert motorists when pedestrians are crossing, and raised pedestrian refuge islands work together with advance yield markings to increase safety at crosswalks at multilane locations.

A public-information and education campaign may be needed to inform the public of the institution of new controls with which they may not be familiar.

Organizational and Institutional Attributes

Organizational, Institutional, and Policy Issues

It is often difficult to gain acceptance for a reduction in parking supply in urban areas. It is important to work closely with those merchants, or other users of adjacent development, who may be affected by a reduction in parking. Increased pedestrian flows may result from safer crossing conditions, potentially offsetting the loss of market exposure that a merchant may experience from a small reduction in

New design criteria and guides may be needed to provide a foundation for implementing some of these strategies.

Costs Involved

Cost components will primarily involve new signs and markings. Conditions may occur where some reconstruction of the roadway or relocation of street furniture may be involved. In addition, there may be a cost associated with mounting an associated PI&E campaign.

Training and Other Personnel Needs

It will be important for agency staff and others who do this work for the agency to be trained in both identifying the conditions in the field under which the problems being addressed exist and how to redesign the site to eliminate the problem.

Legislative Needs

None.

 

Strategy 9.1 B4: Signals to Alert Motorists That Pedestrians Are Crossing

Pedestrian-Activated Yellow Beacons. Research has demonstrated that the use of overhead pedestrian signs, with flashing beacons, increases driver yielding to pedestrians (Federal Highway Administration, 2000b, 2001; Van Houten et al., 1999b). However, the effects are modest at best. There are two reasons why flashing beacons are not more effective in obtaining driver compliance at crosswalks. First, the use of yellow flashing warning beacons is not specific to pedestrians. Hence, drivers might not expect a pedestrian when they see a flashing beacon. Second, if the beacon is timed for slower pedestrians, the pedestrian has often finished crossing when a driver approaches. Hence, the driver may quickly conclude the pedestrian has finished crossing if a yielding vehicle or a parked vehicle screens the view of the pedestrian. The first problem can be fixed by mounting the beacon on a housing that contains the pedestrian symbol (Van Houten et al., 1999b). The second problem is more difficult to remedy.

EXHIBIT V-31
Electronic signs that show the direction that pedestrians are crossing is an effective way to increase driver yielding behavior. (Photo by Ron Van Houten)

Electronic Signs That Indicate the Direction Pedestrians are Crossing. Data also show that overhead electronic LED pedestrian signs (Exhibit V-31) that show the driver the direction the pedestrian is crossing and remind him or her to look for pedestrians is an effective way to increase driver yielding behavior (Nee and Hallenbeck, 2003; Van Houten et al., 1999a). One study compared this sign with a yellow flashing beacon at a site where both devices were installed (Van Houten et al., 1999a). The findings showed that the proportion of drivers that yielded to pedestrians was always higher at times when the electronic sign was activated than at times when the flashing beacon was activated.

There are probably several good reasons why the electronic signs, which show the direction the pedestrian is crossing, were more effective than the flashing beacon. First, this type of sign is associated with pedestrians because it uses the pedestrian symbol to signal when a pedestrian is in the crosswalk. Second, it shows the direction the pedestrian is crossing the street. This information helps the driver to better assess whether there is a pedestrian crossing the street or whether the pedestrian has already finished crossing, because it cues the driver what to look for (someone crossing from the right or left). Hence, if the signal indicates someone is crossing from the right, and a vehicle is stopped in the lane on the driver's right, or a delivery truck is parked on the driver's right, the driver will be better warned to proceed cautiously until it is ascertained that the pedestrian is not being screened. Third, the device also signals when pedestrians are crossing from both directions. The LED pedestrian sign also has animated eyes to instruct the motorist to look for the pedestrian, or pedestrians, crossing from a particular direction.

EXHIBIT V-32
In-pavement markers typically include LED strobe lighting in raised pavement markings. (Photo by Michael Ronkin)

In-Pavement Lighted Markers at Uncontrolled Crossings. Both sides of the crosswalk are lined with encased raised pavement markers. Many treatments include LED strobe lighting in the raised pavement markings (Exhibit V-32). This system involves reinstallation each time the road is resurfaced or affected by utility repairs. The markers tend to be seen only by the first vehicle in a platoon; and when there is also a high volume of traffic in the other direction, it limits a driver's view of the entire crossing. Another disadvantage of in-pavement lighted markers is that they do not show the direction the pedestrian is crossing or whether pedestrians are crossing from both sides of the roadway. Studies in California and Washington State have shown these signs to be effective, but similar results have not been obtained in Florida.

Other Measures at Uncontrolled Crossings. In addition to the measures discussed above, there are experimental measures where less is known about their real-world effects. Many of these measures are discussed in the 2001 report, Alternative Treatments for At-Grade Pedestrian Crossings (Institute of Transportation Engineers, 2001a).

Exhibit V-33 shows a crosswalk on a multilane road at a T-intersection. The crosswalk is installed along the path between two bus shelters on the side of the intersection with the fewest conflicts with turning vehicles. The installation includes electronic signs indicating when pedestrians are crossing (along with the direction they are crossing), advance yield markings reminding drivers to yield in advance of the crosswalk, and a cut through the refuge island which forces pedestrians to look in the direction of approaching vehicles before crossing the second half of the roadway.

EXHIBIT V-33
Crosswalk on a multilane road at a T-Intersection.

EXHIBIT V-34
Strategy Attributes for Signals to Alert Motorists that Pedestrians Are Crossing

Where a new control, such as this, is to be employed, it will be important to educate the public on its meaning and appropriate behaviors toward it.

Attribute

Description

Technical Attributes

Target

This strategy is directed at drivers who are approaching a crosswalk where pedestrians are crossing.

Expected Effectiveness

Studies have shown that alerting motorists when a pedestrian is crossing the street can increase yielding behavior and reduce conflicts between motorists and pedestrians (Nee and Hallenbeck, 2003; Van Houten and Malenfant, 2001; Van Houten et al., 1999b). Compliance with these signals varies from location to location. The electronic sign indicating the direction the pedestrian is crossing shows considerable promise.

Keys to Success

A basic key to success is having a mechanism for identifying problem locations and programming improvements. This can be a combination of active agency field review along with provision for input from law enforcement and the community.

Design guidelines and criteria are needed to help identify inadequate situations, as well as to arrive at effective applications of the strategy.

Potential Difficulties

Adequate lighting is needed at the crosswalk in addition to these devices. This may not always be available. However, evaluations are underway of some of these devices that can also illuminate the crosswalk from above.

Maintenance of these devices is critical. The more complex the device, the more things that can go wrong. Maintenance personnel will need to be trained on the special repair requirements, and a program of monitoring will need to be established.

Unless a pedestrian symbol appears on the yellow-beacon installation, it may not be clear to the driver that the warning involves a pedestrian in the crosswalk. Furthermore, the beacon does not indicate in which direction the pedestrian is crossing.

In-pavement lighted markers at uncontrolled crossings may not be effective under conditions having vehicle congestion.

Appropriate Measures and Data

The primary measure of effectiveness would be the change in the number of crashes, by type, including crossing pedestrians and rear-end. Pedestrian-vehicle and vehiclevehicle conflicts might be used as surrogates for early evaluation of the program. Process measures include the number of improvements made and the number of pedestrians affected by the improvements made.

Associated Needs

Prohibited parking in advance of the crosswalk, advance yield markings, and raised pedestrian refuge islands may be supplements, particularly at high-volume multilane sites.

Organizational and Institutional Attributes

Organizational Issues

New policies and criteria may be needed for selecting, designing, implementing, and maintaining these devices.

Costs Involved

This treatment is somewhat less expensive than a traffic signal and does not significantly impact motorist or pedestrian delay. If an overhead sign is selected, installation on a mast arm will reduce maintenance costs. Pedestrians get an immediate response when they are detected by an automatic sensor or press a button signed "PRESS BUTTON TO ALERT MOTORISTS," and the motorist need only slow or stop long enough to let the pedestrian cross their portion of the roadway.

Training and Other Personnel Needs

It will be important for agency staff and others who do this work for the agency to be trained in identifying the conditions in the field under which these devices are appropriate, how to design the installation, and how to properly maintain them.

Legislative Needs

None.

 

Strategy 9.1 B5: Improve Reflectorization/Conspicuity of Pedestrians

EXHIBIT V-35
Reflectorized vests and other clothing for pedestrians can increase the visibility of a pedestrian at night by a factor of five.

Retroreflective materials are required for roadway markings such as crosswalks, stop lines, and lane markings. These materials reflect light from vehicle headlights and from roadway illumination using specially designed glass beads. Vests and other clothing for pedestrians have also been made with reflective materials (Exhibit V-35). Studies have found that reflectorization can increase the visibility of a pedestrian by a factor of five. However, some retroreflective clothing can lose its reflective properties after repeated washings. Retroreflective material has been used on shoes, backpacks, jackets, and other clothing. The Standard Specification for Nighttime Photometric Performance of Retroreflective Pedestrian Markings for Visibility Enhancement is set by ASTM International (American Society for Testing and Materials International, 2003). For access to ASTM standards, visit the ASTM Web site.

EXHIBIT V-36
Strategy Attributes for Improving Reflectorization/Conspicuity of Pedestrians

Attribute

Description

Technical Attributes

Target

This strategy is directed at pedestrians who are walking at night near motor-vehicle traffic.

Expected Effectiveness

A study by Blomberg et al. (1984) investigated the effectiveness of countermeasures to improve the conspicuity of pedestrians and bicyclists. Nighttime field tests were conducted on baseline pedestrians (i.e., wearing a white tee shirt and blue jeans), walking on a test track, compared with pedestrians with dangle tags, a flashlight, jogger's vest, and rings (retroreflective material on headband, wristbands, belt, and ankle bands). The detection and recognition distances are shown in the figure below.

In a later 1994 study, Owens et al. (1994) conducted an experiment in which retroreflective materials were placed on different body locations. Pedestrians wearing reflective materials on knees, waist, elbows, and shoulders were seen more readily. Authors stated that "biological motion" was an important part of detection and recognition by drivers. Seen at night, such motions of the reflectorized materials are more pronounced and are more readily interpreted as human motion.

Keys to Success

The keys to success include the following:

Working with manufacturers of clothing or shoes to incorporate reflective materials.

Pedestrians' awareness that they are not always visible to motorists at night and that factors such as sun glare can interfere with their being detected during the daytime. An accompanying educational/awareness campaign on high risks for pedestrians at night and the need for providing retroreflective materials for pedestrians.

The availability of clothing with retroreflective material or retroreflective patches considered stylish enough by the user to want to wear it.

Potential Difficulties

There are difficulties to overcome, such as convincing people of the need to be more visible at night as pedestrians and that they should wear retroreflective clothing (e.g. jacket) when walking at night.

Appropriate Measures and Data

A reduction in the frequency of nighttime pedestrian crashes is a prime measure of effectiveness. A surrogate measure is the percentage of pedestrians wearing more visible or retroreflective clothing at night.

Associated Needs

There is a need for an education/awareness campaign to convey the importance of being visible at night while walking near streets and highways and how to do increase visibility.

Organizational and Institutional Attributes

Organizational, Institutional, and Policy Issues

This strategy should also include programs for employees of construction companies, utility companies, or others that routinely work at night in or near the street system to encourage or mandate the use of reflectorization when in the work environment.

Issues Affecting Implementation Time

None.

Costs Involved

Costs for retroreflective materials are minimal for a single person. The implementing agency may experience costs associated with a public-information and education campaign.

Training and Other Personnel Needs

None.

Legislative Needs

None.

Other Key Attributes

 

None

 

Objective 9.1 C—Reduce Vehicle Speed

As noted in Section III in the general description of the pedestrian crash problem, motor-vehicle speed is an important factor both in the occurrence of pedestrian crashes and the severity of injury sustained by the pedestrian. A later strategy (Strategy 9.1 D2) addresses the role of enforcement in reducing vehicle speeds. The strategies below all focus on speed reduction through roadway or engineering measures.

Strategy 9.1 C1: Implement Road Narrowing Measures

Road narrowing can reduce vehicle speeds along a roadway section and enhance pedestrian movement and safety. Bicycle travel will also be enhanced, and bicyclist safety might improve when bicycle lanes are added.

Roadway narrowing can be achieved in several ways:

  • By reducing lane widths (to 3.0 or 3.4 m [10 or 11 ft]) (excess pavement can be striped for use as a bicycle lane or shoulder)
  • Through travel lanes can be removed or converted into medians or bike lanes (see Exhibit V-37)
  • The street can be narrowed by extending sidewalks and landscaped areas and/or by adding on-street parking within the former curb lines

EXHIBIT V-37
This roadway section was converted from a four-lane undivided road to a three-lane road with sidewalks and bike lanes. (Photo by Dan Burden)

If no sidewalks exist along the roadway, they normally should be added. If sidewalks exist, and there is adequate width, a landscaped buffer is desirable to provide a buffer area between pedestrians and motor vehicles.

Some roads have more travel lanes or pavement width than necessary and are difficult to cross largely because of their width. Reducing the number of lanes on a multilane roadway will reduce crossing distances for pedestrians and may also slow vehicle speeds. A good example of this measure is to reduce a four-lane undivided road to three lanes (e.g., one lane in each direction with a center turn lane). Such a road conversion, sometimes called a "road diet" can provide positive safety benefits to pedestrians and motorists.

Reducing the number of lanes may result in lower vehicle capacity and increased delay. However, the existence of significant levels of left-turn traffic can prevent a four-lane street from realizing considerably lower delay, than for a three-lane section (two through lanes plus a center turn lane). This is because drivers waiting for an adequate gap to turn left, on a four-lane street, may cause delay to through traffic. Under most ranges of volume that have been tested, reducing from four lanes to three lanes results in minimal effects on level of service to vehicles. This is because left-turning vehicles use the center lane of a three–lane section to wait to complete their maneuver.

For Average Daily Traffic (ADT) above approximately 20,000 vehicles per day (vpd) on three-lane roads, traffic congestion may increase to the point of causing motorists to divert to alternative routes. This can create problems on the alternative routes, especially if they are through a residential neighborhood. An analysis should be done of the level of service to determine whether the number of lanes on a roadway is appropriate.

This strategy is usually applied to a roadway section of significant length. There are also spot narrowing improvements that may be implemented at intersection or midblock locations. These include curb extensions and chokers, which are discussed under intersection traffic calming measures (Strategy 9.1 A3).

In deciding whether road narrowing measures are an appropriate strategy for reducing pedestrian crashes, one must always consider potential tradeoffs with respect to vehicular operations and crashes. For example, lane narrowing can make heavy truck and/or emergency vehicle access difficult, and the addition of on-street parking can increase the number of backing-related crashes. Factors such as development type (urban, rural, etc.), vehicle mix (numbers and types of large trucks), vehicle speeds and volumes, pedestrian volumes, roadway function, and availability of alternate routes should be considered when evaluating this tradeoff.

Additional information on road narrowing measures can be found at the following Web sites:

EXHIBIT V-38
Strategy Attributes for Implementing Road Narrowing Measures

Attribute

Description

Technical Attributes

Target

Roadway narrowing improvements have the objective of slowing vehicle speeds along routes where pedestrians may be crossing the street.

Expected Effectiveness

Lower vehicle speeds are associated with shorter stopping distances. Lower-speed vehicles are also more likely and more able to yield to a pedestrian. Narrowing roadways is believed to result in slower vehicle speeds and a corresponding reduction in pedestrian crashes. However, there are no valid evaluations of this presumption.

Keys to Success

When narrowing a roadway or lane, one must consider the need to service trucks and school buses, as well as provide access for emergency-service vehicles. On multilane roadways, it may be desirable to narrow only the left lanes and leave the right lanes wider, for use by larger vehicles and bicycles.

Before reducing the number of lanes, roadway capacity and other aspects of road safety need to be considered. Level of service analysis of intersections should consider alternative treatments for the section of roadway. For example, a four-lane undivided road can be converted to one through-lane in each direction, with a center left-turn lane, or with a combination of raised median, left-turn lanes, and bicycle lanes. Turning lanes may not be needed at all intersections.

When considering road-narrowing measures, it is highly desirable to include the entire neighborhood in the decision-making process. This will allow input from the entire affected area and will help prevent the level of road safety in one part of the neighborhood from being sacrificed to benefit another part. It is important to keep residents and businesses informed of what is being proposed, how it can benefit them, and what the likely tradeoffs are. A public-information and education program is thus important to the success of such projects. The affected residents and businesses should be able to provide input so that their concerns can be addressed

Potential Difficulties

Some traffic may divert to other local streets in neighborhoods. Also, narrowing a roadway can have adverse effects on bicyclists if insufficient space is designated for their travel.

Appropriate Measures and Data

Reduction in vehicle speed may be used as a surrogate measure of effectiveness along a route that has undergone roadway narrowing. It may be desirable to use more than one measure of speed (e.g., mean and 85th percentile, or proportion exceeding a given speed). Reduction in crashes and/or crash severity involving crossing pedestrians is an ultimate measure of effectiveness. Pedestrian- and vehicle-volume data are needed for estimating exposure and calculating crash rates.

Associated Needs

Public-Information and education activities are needed, as noted above.

Organizational and Institutional Attributes

Organizational, Institutional, and Policy Issues

Lane widths must conform to national, state, and local guidelines. Narrowing lanes runs counter to many agencies' design standards. A design exception may be needed; in any event, there may be institutional reluctance to reduce lane width. New policies may need to be developed.

Issues Affecting Implementation Time

Narrowing a roadway by reconstruction and addition of channelization may take a minimum of 2 years to achieve, due to the time to receive design and funding approvals.

Re-striping roadways, to have narrower lanes and/or fewer lanes is often done in conjunction with resurfacing and therefore results in little or no additional cost.

Costs Involved

Costs will vary depending upon the manner in which the narrowing is achieved. Reconstruction that involves channelization will be much more costly than reconstruction that only requires a change in pavement markings. The inclusion of road narrowing in the context of a broader reconstruction effort will minimize overall costs. See Appendix 12 for estimates of cost for the use of pavement markings.

Training and Other Personnel Needs

No particular training is needed to re-stripe roadways (e.g., after resurfacing projects) to narrow the width or reduce number of lanes.

Legislative Needs

None.

Other Key Attributes

Legislative Needs

A typical three-lane configuration (two travel-lanes and a center turn-lane) also has safety advantages for motorists. Through traffic can maintain a fairly constant speed, while left-turning drivers can enter the center turn lane to wait. (Federal Highway Administration, 2002)

 

Strategy 9.1 C2: Install Traffic-Calming—Road Sections

Continued growth and decentralization throughout the United States have increased the volume of vehicles on streets and highways. Many neighborhood residents and local officials have expressed interest in undertaking traffic calming to reduce the speed and number of cars on their streets.

EXHIBIT V-39
A serpentine street uses a winding pattern to slow down vehicle speeds. (Photo by Cara Seiderman)

Traffic-calming encompasses a series of physical treatments that are meant to lower vehicle speeds and volumes by creating the visual impression that certain streets are not intended for high-speed or "cut-through" traffic. Thus, traffic calming may improve conditions for pedestrians. While many of the road narrowing measures discussed under Strategy 9.1 A1 can also effectively "calm" traffic along a section of roadway, the measures discussed under this section have the broader goal of improving the overall safety and attractiveness of the roadway environment for pedestrians and bicyclists, including children and the elderly.

Traffic-calming measures are generally of two types: either they require motorists to change their direction of travel (i.e., move to the left or right), or they require motorists to change elevation (i.e., go up and down). Traffic-calming treatments need to be well designed and based upon information currently available about their applications and effects. Information on U.S. experiences with various traffic-calming treatments can be found in ITE/FHWA's Traffic Calming: State of the Practice (1999).

This strategy includes four traffic-calming measures that can be used along mid-block segments of local streets and some low-volume collector streets or commercial-area streets. More information can also be found in ITE/FHWA's Traffic Calming: State of the Practice (1999) and in FHWA's Pedestrian Facilities Users Guide (Federal Highway Administration, 2002).

When considering measures to reduce vehicle speeds on road sections, one important factor relates to the placement of trees and other roadside features. The key factor is to balance the needs of pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit vehicles with the operational expectations for a specific type of street and area. For example, placing trees relatively close to the street might be acceptable, or even desirable, on low-speed, low-volume neighborhood streets; high-speed arterial streets should typically have greater setbacks of trees, utility poles, and other roadside objects to reduce the chance of fixed-object crashes. More discussion on this topic is given in the companion guides on tree crashes, run-off-road crashes, and utility pole crashes.

Serpentine Street

A serpentine street uses a winding pattern with built-in visual enhancements (Exhibit V-39). These allow through movement but not fast driving. Landscaping can be used to create a park-like atmosphere. Serpentine street-design needs to be coordinated with driveway access and parking. Where cost is a concern, lower-cost but equally effective traffic-calming strategies may be preferable.

Additional information on the use of serpentine streets can be found at the following Web sites:

Chicane

EXHIBIT V-40
A chicane consists of alternatively placed curb extensions into the street which creates a horizontal shift in traffic and reduced vehicle speeds. (Photo by Dan Burden)

A chicane consists of alternately placed curb extensions into the street (Exhibit V-40). This design creates a horizontal shift in traffic and also narrows the traveled way down to one lane (or two narrow lanes). As a result, motorists are forced to slow down as they maneuver through the chicane. Good visibility can be maintained by planting only low shrubs or trees with high canopies. The design of a chicane needs to ensure that bicyclist safety and mobility are not diminished. Also, like the serpentine street above, a chicane needs to be coordinated with driveway access and parking.

Additional information on the use of chicanes can be found at the following Web sites:

Choker

EXHIBIT V-41
Chokers narrow a street and force motorists to slow down. (Photo by Dan Burden)

Chokers are curb extensions that narrow a street by widening the sidewalks or planting strips (Exhibit V-41). The street is narrowed from two lanes to one lane (or two narrow lanes). Motorists are forced to slow and, in some cases, allow an oncoming vehicle to pass. The minimum width should be wide enough to accommodate fire and sanitation trucks.

Additional information on the use of chokers can be found at the following Web sites:

Speed Humps and Speed Tables

EXHIBIT V-42
Flat-top speed humps are referred to as speed tables. (Photo by Dan Burden)

The purpose of speed humps is to reduce vehicle speeds. Speed humps should not be confused with speed bumps, which are sometimes used in parking lots. A speed hump is an elongated hump with a circular-arc cross-section (round-top) or flat-top. Speed humps generally do not have a negative effect on bikes and should be built through any bike lanes present on the roadway so that motorists do not swerve into the bike lane to avoid the hump. Flat-top speed humps are also referred to as speed tables (Exhibit V-42).

Additional information on speed humps and speed tables can be found at the following Web sites:

Woonerf

EXHIBIT V-43
A woonerf is a "living street" that is shared by pedestrians, bicyclists, and low-speed motor vehicles. (Photo by Michael Ronkin)

Woonerf is a Dutch word that translates as "living street." It is typically used only on residential streets. A woonerf is a space shared by pedestrians, bicyclists, and low-speed motor vehicles. It is typically a narrow street without curbs or sidewalks. Vehicles are slowed by placing trees, planters, parking areas, and other obstacles in the street. Motorists must travel at very low speeds, below 10 mi/h. Thus, a woonerf creates a public space for social and possibly commercial activities, as well as a play area for children (Exhibit V-43). A woonerf identification sign is placed at each street entrance. It is important to allow access by fire trucks, school buses, and other service vehicles, if needed.

Additional information on the use of woonerfs can be found at the following Web sites:

Other traffic calming countermeasures can be used at intersections. These are discussed under Strategy 9.1 A3.

EXHIBIT V-44
Strategy Attributes for Installing Traffic Calming—Road Sections

In De Meern, Netherlands, two bulbouts were placed opposite one another to narrow the width of the traveled way. A significant reduction in the 85th-percentile vehicle speed was observed (Replogle, 1992).

Bulbouts had little effect on reducing vehicle speeds in two Australian cities, Keilor (Queensland) and Eltham (Victoria). However, in Concord, New South Wales, a comparison of a street with both bulbouts and marked parking lanes versus an untreated street showed that the crash rate on the treated street was only one-third of that of the untreated street. It was not stated how many of these crashes involved pedestrians, nor how the streets compared prior to treatment (Hawley et al., 1992).

Speed Humps and Speed Tables

Speed humps have been evaluated and found effective in many cities in terms of reducing vehicle speeds. Eight studies were reviewed for this Guide and are listed in the References section. These studies found that 85th-percentile speeds decreased by 4 to 23 mi/h after the speed humps were installed. Fewer crashes occurred in Omaha, Nebraska, and Montgomery County, Maryland, as a result of adding speed humps. Other studies did not address the effects of speed humps on crashes. Traffic volumes fell by up to one half in three Australian cities and also fell in Bellevue, Washington. Traffic volumes remained constant in Agoura Hills, California, though. The other studies did not address traffic volumes. A more detailed review of these studies can be found in the Pedestrian Synthesis by Campbell et al. (2002). See also Appendix 13.

Very limited evaluations of crash impacts have been made of the other types of measures being considered here. However, they are being implemented on the assumption that pedestrians benefit because motorists are traveling more slowly and therefore have more time to react to the presence of pedestrians. This means less risk of a crash, fewer and less-severe conflicts, and perceptions of greater safety by pedestrians. These countermeasures are static, so they must be appropriate at all hours of the day and night.

Attribute

Description

Technical Attributes

Target(s)

Motorists: These countermeasures seek to reduce the speed of motor-vehicle traffic, make the driver aware of the presence and priority of pedestrian traffic, and may help reduce cut-through traffic.

Expected Effectiveness

Curb Extension or Bulbout

Anne Arundel County, Maryland, has used a combination of medians and bulbouts near intersections. The medians narrow the traveled way and provide a sheltered storage area, while the bulbouts force drivers to make a lateral deflection as they enter the narrowed area. Medians with lateral deflection reduced the 85th-percentile speeds by 2 to 5 mi/h (Walter, 1995).

In Ontario, Canada, Macbeth (1995) reported speed reductions on five raised and narrowed intersections and seven midblock bulbouts, in conjunction with lowering the speed limit to 30 km/h. The proportion of motorists who exceeded 30 km/h was 86 percent before the devices were built, but only 20 percent afterwards.

Keys to Success

It is important to apply these strategies along the types of streets for which they are intended, primarily low-volume residential and, occasionally, collector streets. Ideally, they should be applied area-wide rather than in one or two isolated spots. Resident input and consensus is also a key to their success. In addition, adequate street lighting is important.

Choker

In order to function effectively, the street must be narrowed enough so that two cars that are approaching from opposite directions do not have enough room to pass. Emergency vehicles must be accommodated.

Woonerf

The design is intended to keep vehicle speeds below 10 mi/h, so that the street is safe for children. Woonerfs are typically low-volume, narrow neighborhood streets or specially designated streets in downtown areas. They frequently have special pavement texturing and are signed as special streets for pedestrians, as well as for motor vehicles. Speed humps may or may not be used on such streets. A woonerf may be an exception to "normal accepted practice," so revisions may need to be made in local or state design policies.

These countermeasures should be used as part of an overall neighborhood strategy. It is highly desirable to include the entire neighborhood in the decision-making process. It will help prevent the level of road safety in one part of the neighborhood from being sacrificed to benefit another part. It is important to keep residents and businesses informed of what is being proposed, how it can benefit them, and what the likely tradeoffs are. A public-information and education program is thus important to the success of such projects. The affected residents and businesses should have the opportunity to provide input into the change or reduction in access to ensure that the tradeoffs will be acceptable to them.

Potential Difficulties

Traffic-calming devices are not a panacea, guaranteed to improve conditions for pedestrians. These devices, by themselves, cannot ensure that motorists will slow down and yield to pedestrians, nor that pedestrians will cross safely. Enforcement campaigns can be undertaken in conjunction with traffic calming (see Strategy 9.1 D2).

Moreover, traffic-calming devices have their disadvantages. For example, these treatments, if not designed properly, can hinder activities such as street cleaning and snowplowing, may impede emergency vehicle access, and may affect drainage. A test period can be used to identify potential problems for residents, as well as emergency and school access. Adjustments can then be made to take care of any unanticipated problems. Care should be taken that traffic is not diverted onto a parallel local street. The ITE/FHWA Traffic Calming (1999) and FHWA Pedestrian Facilities User Guide (2002) provide further information on such issues.

Chicane

Chicanes may reduce the ability to allow on-street parking.

Speed Humps and Speed Tables

Noise may increase, as vehicles slow down and go over the humps and tables.

Speed humps and speed tables may create drainage problems on some streets.

Speed humps can increase the cost and complexity of resurfacing streets, since they either need to be removed and replaced after resurfacing, or the old surface on either side of the hump must be ground out to maintain the same "hump effect." Simply resurfacing over the hump can create long-term street-drainage problems. Also, restriping of the humps must be closely coordinated with resurfacing, so that the humps are not left unmarked for any period of time.

Speed humps can also be problematic for bicyclists if they are not well lit and should never be used on an unlit down grade, where bicyclists are approaching the hump at a high rate of speed.

Appropriate Measures and Data

Motor-vehicle speed is a useful surrogate safety measure. Conflicts between motor vehicles and pedestrians may also be used as a surrogate measure of safety. The primary measure of effectiveness is crashes. The impact on motorist delay is an operational measure of interest.

Associated Needs

A public-information and education program may need to be conducted.

Organizational and Institutional Attributes

Organizational, Institutional, and Policy Issues

In addition to neighborhoods, other parties that may be affected include businesses, schools, the local fire and police departments, and others. These parties should also be included in the decision-making process.

Some agencies may have design policies or standards that do not include trafficcalming techniques or that would inhibit their use. New policies may be needed.

Issues Affecting Implementation Time

It may take 1 or more years to implement some of these countermeasures. This time reflects that required for conducting the necessary engineering studies, as well as for deliberations and discussions with all stakeholders. Design and construction of such measures can take place within a short timeframe as long as no additional right-ofway is needed. Speed humps or speed tables may be installed rather quickly, if consensus amongst residents exists.

Traffic engineers often conduct engineering studies to determine whether one or more of these countermeasures are warranted at a specific location. The process includes working with affected residents, businesses, schools, the local police and fire departments, and others to address their concerns. This public involvement process may take a while, especially if the proposed countermeasures prove to be controversial. The types of traffic calming, and the locations within a neighborhood, may need to be modified. The availability of funds to cover the costs of installation depends upon local and state funding cycles. Depending upon local climatic conditions, installation may be feasible year-round, or only during the warmer months.

Once the appropriate groundwork has been laid, speed humps can actually be installed fairly quickly. For example, in Glendale, Arizona, speed humps are typically placed within 30 days, following receipt of a signed petition showing consensus. The speed of installation, coupled with their relatively low cost (see below), has made them the most popular type of traffic-calming treatment requested.

Costs Involved

Costs will vary depending upon the degree of new construction required and the specific type of treatment being applied. For further details, see Appendix 14.

The cost to implement a woonerf design in retrofit may be quite high, but the marginal cost would be nominal if, instead, it was implemented as part of a new construction.

Training and Other Personnel Needs

Agency personnel should understand traffic-calming measures so they can be appropriately selected and installed.

Legislative Needs

As with any traffic control measure, there has been litigation related to various trafficcalming devices. Having clear policies, guidelines, and practices for selection and use of various traffic-calming devices can help reduce litigation problems.

Other Key Attributes

 

None.

 

Strategy 9.1 C3: Install Traffic-Calming—Intersections

Continued growth throughout the United States has increased the number of cars on streets and highways. Many neighborhood residents and local officials have expressed interest in traffic-calming projects to reduce the number and speed of cars on their streets.

Traffic-calming encompasses a series of physical treatments that are meant to lower vehicle speeds and volumes by creating the visual impression that certain streets are not intended for high-speed or "cut-through" traffic. Thus, traffic calming may improve conditions for pedestrians.

EXHIBIT V-45
Reducing the curb radius creates a tighter turn and results in motorists making right turns at lower speeds. (Photo by Peter Lagerwey)

Traffic-calming treatments should be well designed and applied under appropriate conditions, to maximize their effectiveness. Local officials and engineers will benefit by maintaining information on the applications and their effects. Information on U.S. experiences with various traffic-calming treatments can be found in ITE's Traffic Calming: State of the Practice (1999).

This strategy includes five traffic-calming measures that can be used at intersections:

Curb Radius Reduction

One of the common pedestrian crash types involves a pedestrian who is struck by a right-turning vehicle at an intersection. Large curb radii encourage motorists to make right turns at higher speeds. Reducing the curb radius creates a tighter turn and results in motorists making right turns at lower speeds (Exhibit V-45). Other important benefits are shorter crossing distances for pedestrians and improved sight distances between pedestrians and motorists. However, large curb radii have been determined to be helpful for older drivers (see the guide on crashes involving older drivers). Therefore, care should be taken when applying this strategy. Larger vehicles, such as fire trucks, school buses, moving vans, and delivery trucks also need to be accommodated.

There are sources providing information on appropriate design standards for curb radius:

Additional information on the use of curb radius reduction can be found at the following Web sites:

Mini-Circle

EXHIBIT V-46
Mini-Circles are raised circular islands constructed in the center of residential intersections. (Photo by Dan Burden)

Mini-circles are raised circular islands constructed in the center of residential street intersections. They are intended to reduce vehicle speeds by forcing motorists to maneuver around them (Exhibit V-46). Mini-circles may be appropriate at intersections where traffic volumes do not warrant a signal or STOP sign. A series of intersections along a local street should be treated as part of a neighborhood traffic improvement program. Tight curb radii should accompany mini-circles, to discourage motorists from making high-speed right turns. Mini-circles with cuts in splitter islands make crossing easier for pedestrians, especially those in wheelchairs. Larger vehicles, such as fire trucks and school buses, can be accommodated by creating a mountable curb on the outer portion of the circle. Mini-circle landscaping should not block sight distance. Yield controls should be used.

Additional information on the use of mini-circles can be found at the following Web sites:

Curb Extension

EXHIBIT V-47
Curb extensions extend the sidewalk or curb line out into the parking lane, thereby reducing the effective street width. (Photo by Dan Burden)

Curb extensions, also known as bulbouts or neckdowns, extend the sidewalk or curb line out into the parking lane, thereby reducing the effective street width. These serve to shorten the pedestrian crossing distance, narrow the roadway, and improve the ability of pedestrians and motorists to see each other (Exhibit V-47). Curb extensions also prevent motorists from parking in, or too close to, a crosswalk, or from blocking a curb ramp. Curb extensions should only be used where there is a parking lane. Larger vehicles, such as fire trucks and school buses, need to be able to make right turns. On the other hand, it is not necessary that a vehicle be able to turn from a curb lane to another curb lane. Instead, vehicles can often encroach into adjacent lanes safely when traffic volumes and/or speeds are low. Street furniture and landscaping should not block sight distance. Curb extensions should be designed to facilitate adequate drainage.

Additional information on the use of curb extensions can be found at the following Web sites:

Raised Intersection

EXHIBIT V-48
Raised intersections are intended to slow all vehicle movements through the intersection. (Photo by Dan Burden)

Raised intersections are intended to slow all vehicular movements through the intersection. It is built by raising the entire intersection to the level of the sidewalk (Exhibit V-48). The crosswalks on each approach may also be elevated, so that pedestrians cross at the same level as the sidewalk, without the need for curb ramps. Raised crosswalks can be an urban design element through the use of special paving materials. Detectable warning strips mark the boundary between the sidewalk and the street for pedestrians with vision impairments.

Additional information on the use of raised intersections can be found at the following Web sites:

Modern Roundabout

EXHIBIT V-49
A modern roundabout is built with a large, often circular, raised island located in the center of the intersection of an arterial street with one or more crossing roadways. (Photo by Dan Burden)

A modern roundabout is built with a large, often circular, raised island located in the center of the intersection of a street with one or more crossing roadways (Exhibit V-49). Motorists enter the circle, travel around in a counterclockwise direction, and then turn right onto the desired street. All entering traffic yields (Yield signs placed on each approach) to vehicles approaching from within the roundabout. A roundabout is intended to be applied where vehicular delay can be maintained at or below levels experienced under stop- and signal-control. Because of this, they can sometimes be installed on two-lane roadways in lieu of a road widening to four lanes. More details on roundabouts may be found under Strategy 17.1 F3 in the unsignalized intersections guide. In addition, the following Web sites provide numerous resources on the topic:

Design guidelines for pedestrian crossings at roundabouts are provided at the following Web site:

Modern roundabouts can be relatively friendly to pedestrians if they have "splitter" islands on each approach to the roundabout and are designed to slow traffic prior to entering the roundabout. The splitter islands can serve as a refuge for pedestrians and make crossing safer. There is still, however, concern about safety for visually impaired pedestrians at roundabouts.

Accessible pedestrian signals and truncated domes placed at splitter islands can assist visually impaired pedestrians with gap selection and "wayfinding." In larger roundabouts, an off-road bicycle path may be necessary to allow bicyclists to use the pedestrian route.

Other traffic countermeasures can be used on midblock roadway sections. These are discussed under Strategy 9.1 A4.

EXHIBIT V-50
Strategy Attributes for Installing Traffic Calming—Intersections

Attribute

Description

Technical Attributes

Target(s)

Motorists: These countermeasures are intended to reduce the speed of motor-vehicle traffic and make the driver aware of the presence and priority of pedestrian traffic.

Expected Effectiveness

General

Pedestrians are believed to benefit because motorists are traveling more slowly and with a greater expectancy of the presence of pedestrians and therefore have more time to react to their presence. This means potentially less risk of a crash, fewer and less-severe conflicts, and greater perceived safety for the pedestrian. Raised intersections and curb extensions also improve sight distances between pedestrians and motorists and can help prevent vehicles from blocking the crosswalk.

Raised Intersection

The Australian "wombat" crossing usually consists of a raised crosswalk and bulbouts. It is designed to slow motorists, shorten pedestrian exposure to motor vehicles, and increase pedestrian visibility to motorists. Wombat crossings have generally reduced 85th-percentile vehicle speeds by about 40 percent (Hawley et al., 1992).

At one intersection in Cambridge, Massachusetts, about 10 percent of motorists yielded to pedestrians crossing before a raised intersection was installed. The yield rate increased to 55 percent after the raised intersection was installed (City of Cambridge, 2000).

Mini-Circle

Mini-circles have been found to reduce motor-vehicle crashes by an average of 90 percent in Seattle, Washington (Institute of Transportation Engineers, Federal Highway Administration, 1999).

Modern Roundabout

A before-and-after study of 8 roundabouts in the United States found that roundabouts reduced the total number of crashes by 51 percent, and the number of injury crashes by 73 percent (Jacquemart, 1998). These roundabouts had diameters of 121 ft or less. The sample of pedestrian crashes was not adequate for determining those effects.

Before-and-after studies in other countries have also found crash reductions. For example, a study of 73 roundabouts in Victoria, Australia, found that the rate of injury crashes fell by 74 percent (Troutbeck, 1993). The number of injury crashes per year fell by 78 percent at 83 roundabouts in France (Centre D'Etudes Techniques de L'Equipment de l'Ouest, 1986). In the Netherlands, a study of 181 roundabouts found that the total number of crashes fell by 51 percent, and the number of injury crashes, by 72 percent (Schoon and van Minnen, 1994). However, the specific impact on pedestrian safety was not determined.

Keys to Success

As with the midblock traffic-calming treatments, adequate lighting is important for reducing nighttime collisions, including drivers running into the various treatments (mini-circles and curb extensions especially).

Curb Radius Reduction

Nearby land uses and types of road users should be considered when designing intersections so that curb radii are sized appropriately.

Mini-Circle

Signs should be installed to direct motorists to proceed around the right side of the circle before passing through or making a left turn.

Mini-circles must be properly designed to slow vehicles and benefit pedestrians and bicyclists, without creating an obstacle for fire trucks, school buses, and other large vehicles.

Modern Roundabout

Street widths and available right-of-way need to be sufficient to accommodate a properly designed roundabout.

On two-lane roadways, splitter islands at the approaches slow entering vehicles and allow pedestrians to cross one lane of traffic at a time.

The design speed of the vehicle entry, vehicle deflection around the roundabout, and the vehicle exit must be approximately equal to be effective.

Potential Difficulties

The reader is cautioned that traffic-calming devices are not a panacea that is guaranteed to improve conditions for pedestrians. These devices by themselves can not ensure that motorists will slow down and yield to pedestrians, nor that pedestrians will cross in the crosswalk. Enforcement and education campaigns can be undertaken in conjunction with traffic calming (See also Strategy 9.1.D2). Moreover, trafficcalming devices have their disadvantages. For example, these treatments can hinder activities such as street cleaning and snowplowing, may impede emergency vehicle access, and may affect drainage.

Curb Radius Reduction

If a curb radius is made too small, large trucks or buses may ride over the curb, placing pedestrians at risk.

Mini-Circle

When traffic does not stop, it is harder for pedestrians with vision impairments to find an adequate gap to cross.

Larger vehicles, such as fire trucks and school buses, may need to make left turns in front of the circle.

Modern Roundabout

To ensure adequate sight distances, and to allow room for cars exiting the roundabout to yield/stop for pedestrians without blocking traffic flow on the roundabout, crosswalks may need to be placed some distance from the roundabout entry/exit points. Thus, pedestrians may need to travel out of their way to cross the intersection safely. However, proper design of roundabouts provides for pedestrians to cross at the splitter islands, which can reduce crossing problems for most pedestrians. Care should also be taken that landscaping is maintained (trimmed) to ensure adequate visibility between motorists and pedestrians.

Roundabouts may be difficult for some pedestrians to cross, including persons with visual impairments, young children, and the elderly

Bicyclists may not be able to share the road comfortably with motorists, unless there is only one approach lane, speeds are slow, and traffic volumes are light to moderate.

Roundabouts typically involve landscaping, with continued water and maintenance needs. Grass, decomposed granite, or brick pavers are generally unacceptable, since they do not incorporate a vertical element in the traffic-calming device. Trees, bushes, and other vertical elements make the roundabout visible to approaching drivers and less likely to be hit.

Appropriate Measures and Data

The primary measure of effectiveness is crashes and the severity of these crashes. Motor-vehicle speeds may be used as a surrogate measure of effectiveness. Other surrogate measures include the number of motorists who yield to pedestrians, conflicts between motor vehicles and pedestrians, and motorist delay.

Associated Needs

When considering traffic-calming measures, the entire neighborhood must be included in the decision-making process. This may require a program of public information and education about the various devices, as well as their importance to neighborhood safety and livability. The affected residents should be able to provide input into the change, or reduction in access, to ensure that the tradeoffs will be acceptable to them.

Organizational and Institutional Attributes

Organizational, Institutional, and Policy Issues

In addition to neighborhood residents, other parties that may be affected include businesses, schools, the local fire and police departments, and others. All these parties should be included in the decision-making process.

New policies may be required for guiding the design and implementation of some of these strategies.

Issues Affecting Implementation Time

It may take 1 or more years to implement these countermeasures. Traffic engineers often conduct engineering studies to determine whether one or more of these countermeasures should be used at a specific location. The process includes working with affected residents, businesses, schools, the local police and fire departments, and others, to address their concerns. This public-involvement process may take a while, especially if the proposed countermeasures prove to be controversial. The types of traffic calming, and the locations within a neighborhood, may need to be modified. The availability of funds to cover the costs of installation depends upon local and state funding cycles. Depending upon local climatic conditions, installation may be feasible year-round, or only during the warmer months.

Costs Involved

Costs will vary, depending upon the type of improvement and the local conditions, especially if additional right-of-way is required. See Appendix 15 for further details.

Training and Other Personnel Needs

Adequate training in the proper selection, design, and implementation of such devices is needed. Training in consensus building and working with the public in group meetings is also helpful

Legislative Needs

None identified.

Other Key Attributes

 

None identified.

 

Strategy 9.1 C4: Provide School Route Improvements

A variety of roadway improvements are available to increase the safe travel of children in school zones. Sidewalks or separated walkways are essential for a safe trip from home to school on foot or by bike. Ideally, schools should be sited in locations where it is easy and safe for students to walk or bike. If an elementary school is in an unsafe location (such as fronting a high-volume arterial street), it is virtually impossible to make the school pedestrian-trip safe and walkable. Conversely, a well-sited school will encourage higher levels of walking and bicycling and contribute to reduced traffic congestion near the school.

EXHIBIT V-51
Well-trained adult crossing guards can be an effective traffic control measure in school zones. (Photo by Dan Burden)

A new EPA study details the relationship between school location and travel choices. For more information, see the publication titled Travel and Environmental Implications of School Siting.

Other beneficial measures include well-trained adult crossing guards (Exhibit V-51), parking prohibitions on approaches to intersections, increased child supervision, and the use of signs and markings (e.g., school advance warning sign and school speed limit sign). Schools should develop "safe routes to school" plans (including creating school walking-route maps that can be sent home to parents) and work with local agencies to identify and correct problem areas and locations. School administrators and parent-teacher organizations should educate students and parents about school safety and access to and from school. A combination of education, enforcement, and a well-designed street system are needed to encourage motorists to drive appropriately.

One of the most frequently experienced operational problems in the vicinity of schools involves parents dropping off and picking up their children. There are two immediate solutions to this problem: (1) there needs to be a clearly marked area, with adequate capacity, where parents are permitted to drop off and pick up their children, and (2) drop-off/pick-up regulations must be provided to parents on the first day of school. Drop-off areas must be located away from where children on foot must cross streets or access points. Parent drop-off zones must also be adequate in length and separated from bus drop-off zones. If parents can be trained properly at the start of the school year, they are likely to continue appropriate behavior throughout the year.

This strategy could also include safer school-bus routing. Selection of safer school-bus stop locations are important, since this can affect the number and types of streets children must cross to get to the bus stop.

NHTSA has sponsored the development of a guide: Safe Routes to School.

This guide contains a comprehensive set of information, including guidelines, materials, curriculum ideas, and an assessment of the impact of traffic-calming measures.

These and other resources are cited and discussed further under Strategy 9.1 D1, "Provide Education, Outreach, and Training."

In addition, several strategies in this guide address engineering approaches for providing safe street crossings for pedestrians of all ages. In particular, the user is referred to Strategy 9.1 B1, "Provide Crosswalk Enhancements," Strategy 9.1 A2, "Install or Upgrade Traffic and Pedestrian Signals," and Strategy 9.1 B4 "Signals to Alert Motorists That Pedestrians Are Crossing."

EXHIBIT V-52
Strategy Attributes for Providing School Route Improvements

Attribute

Description

Technical Attributes

Target(s)

This strategy is targeted toward motorists who drive through school zones (including parents who drop their children off at school), children who walk or ride a bike to school, and parents of school-age children.

Expected Effectiveness

There has been almost no evaluation of the overall effectiveness of these programs with regard to primary crash measures. However, the methods and procedures for this strategy are widely used and considered beneficial to safety.

Regulatory school flashers (SPEED LIMIT 25 MPH WHEN FLASHING) were found to reduce vehicle speeds by an average of about 4 mph (Zegeer et al., 1978), based on 48 school-zone locations in Kentucky. Vehicle speeds were predominantly 35 to 45 miles per hour without the flasher. Only two of the 48 locations experienced speed reductions of 10 mph or more. At rural locations, speed variance (and thus, the potential for rear-end crashes) increased during the flashing periods. Overall, only 18 percent of all motorists complied with the 25-mph speed limit. The presence of crossing guards was found to be the most effective measure in terms of motorists complying with the regulatory flashing speed limit sign. Police enforcement also contributed to improved motorist speed compliance.

Keys to Success

For a longer-term solution, it is preferable to create a network where children can walk or bicycle safely to school. Safety must be a combined effort between local traffic officials, school officials, police, parents, and students to be successful.

Potential Difficulties

Barriers to be overcome include getting the cooperation of school officials to implement an effective child-pedestrian safety-education program, coordination and funding of a sufficient number of well-trained adult crossing guards, and obtaining selective-enforcement efforts near schools.

Appropriate Measures and Data

Child-pedestrian crash reduction in a neighborhood, or area of town or city, is the primary measure of effectiveness. Surrogate measures include vehicle speeds in school zones (particularly during morning or afternoon crossing time) and the number of children walking or bicycling to school.

Associated Needs

Proper training and monitoring of adult crossing guards is essential. Guards should also be equipped with a bright and reflective safety vest and a STOP paddle.

Increased police enforcement in school zones may be needed, particularly in situations where drivers are speeding and/or not yielding to children in crosswalks.

Public-information and education campaigns and methods are needed to ensure that parents know safe routes to school and how to properly drop off and pick up their children at the school. Education is also needed to teach children how to cross safely.

A community in western Canada provides Internet-based information on trips to school.

Clark County, Nevada, provides GIS based maps which can be used to plan safe routes to school.

The Los Altos School District uses a walkability checklist to improve school safety.

See also Strategy 9.1 D1, Provide Education, Outreach, and Training.

Organizational and Institutional Attributes

Organizational, Institutional, and Policy Issues

Parents and school officials need to be involved in developing safe-route-to-school plans and in identifying barriers to safe walking and bicycling. Other issues include who will pay for adult crossing guards and for needed engineering improvements.

Issues Affecting Implementation Time

Budget issues affect the implementation of various countermeasures in school zones. Organizing the stakeholders and getting their cooperation can also consume significant time.

Costs Involved

Costs depend upon the school-zone treatment selected.

Training and Other Personnel Needs

Adult crossing guards must be well trained to be effective, and a system should be in place for monitoring their performance. Student guards must also receive proper training and monitoring.

Legislative Needs

In some states and local jurisdictions, increased legislative support may be needed to strengthen laws and increase penalties for breaking laws related to children's safe travel to and from school

Other Key Attributes

 

None identified

 

Objective 9.1 D—Improve Pedestrian and Motorist Safety Awareness and Behavior

Strategy 9.1 D1: Provide Education, Outreach, and Training

An educational strategy should do much more than provide information—the goal is to motivate a change in specific behaviors to reduce the risk of pedestrian injuries. The most successful educational messages encourage people to think about their own travel attitudes and behaviors and help them to make informed (i.e., better) choices (Exhibit V-53). The ways in which travel attitudes and behavior are influenced are now being referred to as “soft” policies, in contrast to “hard” policies that force change (e.g., changes in infrastructure or traffic laws). An integrated, multidisciplinary approach that links hard and soft policies and addresses both pedestrians and drivers has the greatest chance of success.

EXHIBIT V-53
The most successful educational messages encourage people to think about their own travel attitudes and behaviors and help them make better choices. (Photo by Dan Burden)

For example, if a jurisdiction were to install new countdown pedestrian signals at a congested intersection, an effective public awareness campaign would explain how the countdown sequence works and would also try to convince pedestrians of the personal benefit derived in complying with the new countdown signals. Drivers would need to be targeted with a complementary message that stresses how this new technology could improve their interaction with pedestrians and the consequences if they do not practice more cautious behaviors. In other words, it would address a key decision-making question for both pedestrian and driver: Is this worth changing my behavior?

A comprehensive coordinated program incorporates both broad approaches and targeted campaigns.

Broad Approaches1

There are a number of educational strategies that can be conducted with modest resources or within existing resources. Many of these focus on ongoing actions at the state level but can be adapted for use in local agencies as well. They include the following:
  • Highlight pedestrian features when introducing new infrastructure—Seize opportunities to create public awareness. For example: Redding, California, built a new pedestrian bridge, conducted a media campaign, and held public events to commemorate the new bridge. More importantly, the city used this as an avenue to discuss the value of linking pedestrian-friendly destinations—raising the profile on a new asset in the community and encouraging residents to use it.
  • Improve pedestrian data—Re-examine existing data to better describe the nature of the problem. For example, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) reframed its pedestrian injury problem by stating that pedestrians represented only 2 percent of its constituency, but they represented nearly 20 percent of the roadway fatalities. Caltrans has cultivated partners, such as public health and emergency medical services, to help them to more fully describe pedestrian crash circumstances and their associated costs. For further information on improving data, refer to Bicycle and Pedestrian Data: Sources, Needs, and Gaps, available on The Bureau of Transportation Statistics Web site.
  • Conduct internal campaigns within the organization to build staff support for pedestrian safety programs—Incorporate pedestrian safety issues wherever appropriate, such as inviting proponents for alternative modes to exhibit or present issues at staff meetings, generate in-house newsletter articles that cite successes, address as appropriate in strategic planning, etc.
  • Incorporate pedestrian safety messages into public relations efforts—Draft news releases, disseminate fact sheets for local elected officials, incorporate pedestrian issues into reports or policy documents, or launch new grant programs with a press event that highlights the importance of pedestrians as part of the road-user mix.
  • Develop relationships with sister state agencies and statewide consumer groups—Provide leadership by convening a task force or conducting an ad hoc meeting to discuss issues in common and to share current and potential activities that merit collaboration. Pedestrian safety is of interest to many governmental agencies as well as constituency groups (e.g., Departments of Public Health, Motor Vehicles, Education, Aging, State Police, as well as state auto clubs, senior mobility advocates, etc.).
  • Market alternative travel modes—Place emphasis on alternative modes for employees within the organization. Ensure that there are employee transportation coordinators, provide information on ride sharing and incentives for walking as part of commute, etc.

Educational Campaigns and Programs

Choosing the most effective educational strategy depends on the objectives, the audience, and the messages to be conveyed, as well as what funding is available for this effort. A critical first step is determining who the audience will be. Is the program reaching out to individuals to change personal practices; to organizations and institutions, such as local school districts, to change their policies; or to an even broader audience, such as when the program is working to create a shift in how pedestrians are viewed by the community-atlarge? Even within a given level, the type of educational strategy selected depends on how ready the targeted group is to make a change. For example, a very different message is needed to create awareness in someone who has never contemplated letting his or her children walk to school versus someone who feels that walking to school is an important activity and simply wants to know more about safer routes to and from the campus.

The following section briefly describes three different approaches. They work best in concert and are more powerful when they are part of a long-term program versus a project designed to achieve some immediate short-term changes.

Public Awareness Campaigns

These “lay the groundwork” for subsequent pedestrian safety initiatives, increasing the likelihood of their success. They also garner public support and begin the process of changing public attitudes toward pedestrian safety issues. Good public awareness campaigns will increase knowledge and motivate changes in behavior.

The Federal Highway Administration recently launched a broad-based Pedestrian Safety Campaign aimed at (1) sensitizing drivers to the fact that pedestrians are legitimate road users and should always be expected on or near the roadway, (2) educating pedestrians about minimizing risks to their safety, and (3) developing program materials to explain or enhance the operation of pedestrian facilities, such as crosswalks and pedestrian signals. A Pedestrian Safety Campaign Toolkit containing a planning guide, TV and radio public service announcements, posters, brochures, cinema slides, press releases, and newspaper articles is being made available to safety practitioners and pedestrian advocates who have the resources to implement a campaign. For further information, see the campaign Web site at http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/pedcampaign.

Other examples of public awareness campaigns may be found in Appendix 16.

Campaigns to Targeted Groups and Settings

Educational materials that target specific groups (school age children, older adults, motorists) or specific settings (school zones, crosswalks, or pediatricians’ offices) most often are intended to change knowledge and behaviors. Since behaviors generally do not change easily, and since the audience itself is always changing (e.g., preschoolers growing into school age children, adults becoming new parents), these campaigns generally should be considered ongoing efforts that need to be institutionalized within the organizations and communities. Examples of targeted pedestrian education campaigns include Safe Routes to School and The Walkability Checklist. These and other campaigns are highlighted in Appendix 16.

Individual Campaigns

Like targeted campaigns, individual campaigns usually target a specific audience. However, they differ in that the audience is reached through an intermediary. For example, pediatricians may be recruited to educate parents about the dangers posed by vehicles backing out of driveways, or school safety guards may be asked to instruct children in safe crossing behavior. The intervention actually occurs at a one-on-one level. Examples of individual level pedestrian safety education materials are A Message for Parents of Preschool Children and Rules of the Road for Grandchildren: Safety Tips (see Appendix 16 for details).

In summary, these three approaches—general public awareness, targeted campaigns, and individual campaigns—provide a range of options for increasing knowledge and for changing attitudes and behaviors that will strengthen pedestrian safety programs in local communities.

EXHIBIT V-54
Strategy Attributes for Providing Education, Outreach, and Training

Attribute Description
Technical Attributes
Target Educational measures are directed at both drivers and pedestrians to improve their behavior and compliance to laws and ordinances.

Effects of Willie Whistle Educational Campaign on Pedestrian Accidents (Source: Blomberg et al., 1983)

Expected Effectiveness Numerous studies have been conducted to evaluate efforts of educational programs on pedestrian behavior. For example, the NHTSA film on WILLIE WHISTLE (Blomberg et al., 1983) is aimed at grades kindergarten through 3 and teaches children the safe way to cross streets. After extensive testing in Los Angeles, Columbus, and Milwaukee, an observed reduction in dart and dash crashes by more than 30 percent among 4- to 6-year-old children was attributed to the film (exhibit below).

A 15-minute follow-up educational film called And Keep On Looking (Preusser and Lund, 1988) was later developed by NHTSA to convey street crossing advice to older children (grades 4 through 7) such as crossing busy streets, safety in parking lots, and crossing at signalized locations. The effectiveness of this film was examined through testing in Connecticut, Seattle, and Milwaukee. In a 2-year test in Milwaukee of the film’s effects, the number of 9- to 12-year olds involved in pedestrian crashes decreased by more than 20 percent. Positive results were also found in Seattle in terms of children’s observed behavior and in Connecticut through retained information after viewing the film.

NHTSA is currently evaluating the effectiveness of a comprehensive pedestrian safety program being conducted in Miami/Dade County, Florida, involving education, enforcement, and engineering approaches to increasing pedestrian safety.

In general, although specific education programs might be shown to change targeted behaviors, attitudes, or knowledge levels—and even crashes in large-scale evaluations such as those described above—they are viewed by NHTSA as important components in pedestrian safety initiatives even if they have not been formally evaluated and proven effective. This is because of the important role they play in increasing public awareness and complementing engineering and enforcement activities.

Keys to Success The keys to success are to make pedestrian education an ongoing component of traffic safety education activities; to implement comprehensive, long-term programs; and to use appropriate, well-designed, educational programs and materials for pedestrians and motorists in conjunction with engineering and enforcement programs. Hiring a public information firm, or working with the public-information office within the agency, can help ensure that appropriate materials are developed and appropriate contacts are made when working with the media. In addition, care must be taken to develop programs and materials that are appropriate and effective for the particular ethnic or cultural group, age level, etc. being targeted.

The focus should be on developing materials that people want, need, and will use more than once. An example would be high-quality neighborhood walking and bicycling maps that incorporate educational messages.

Potential Difficulties It may be difficult to make the necessary contacts and secure the support needed to ensure a comprehensive educational program. Also, care must be taken in developing safety messages that are targeted to the major pedestrian crash causes and in identifying the best approaches (Public Service Announcements [PSAs], educating drivers, classroom training, parental education, etc.) for delivering the identified message to the targeted audience. With school-based traffic-safety education programs, there may also be difficulty getting into established school curriculums.
Appropriate Measures and Data Frequency of crashes between motorists and pedestrians (especially of the type targeted by the program) is the primary safety measure. Surrogate safety measures include conflicts between pedestrians and vehicles; observed behaviors by motorists (e.g. failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, speeding) and pedestrians (e.g. violating the pedestrian signal); as well as changes in knowledge and attitudes (for example, measured by safety surveys).
Associated Needs Identifying and arranging the appropriate vehicles for the educational program requires involvement of specific members of the community, such as the media, local schools, and the health community (e.g., pediatricians and family physicians).
Organizational and Institutional Attributes
Organizational, Institutional, and Policy Issues A successful public information program will require the cooperation of several organizations and institutions. A coordinating council, or other type of group, might be needed to oversee the effort.
Issues Affecting Implementation Time Education messages directed at school children are most effective if targeted just before high-crash months, so that fall and early spring are typically appropriate times for such messages.

The time to implement a program depends upon such factors as the availability of materials, the number of agencies and organizations to be involved, and the size of the target population.

Costs Involved Costs vary widely, depending upon the type of educational program.
Training and Other Personnel Needs Staff should be appropriately trained to conduct the program. Specialists in education and marketing will be needed.
Legislative Needs None.
Other Key Attributes
None identified.

Useful Web Sites

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC), a national clearinghouse for information about health and safety, engineering, advocacy, education, enforcement, and access and mobility—http://www.walkinginfo.org/.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s pedestrian safety programs. Also, http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/safecommunities/.

Pedestrian Safety Roadshow. FHWA web site (last accessed April 22, 2004).

The Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP)—http://www.apbp.org. Provides online resources and publications, links to other Web sites.

Partnership for a Walkable America. Download Walkable America Checklist. Also, official Web site of International Walk to School Day.

Bureau of Transportation Statistics—U.S. DOT provides information on bicycle, pedestrian, and crash data.

Strategy 9.1 D2: Implement Enforcement Campaigns

Police enforcement is essential to preserve pedestrian right-of-way and promote a safe environment for pedestrians. A combination of well-publicized enforcement campaigns, strategically installed traffic signs and devices, and public education programs can effectively increase driver awareness of the obligation to share the roadway with pedestrians and bicyclists. Police enforcement of the traffic code is also the most potent means of giving credibility to traffic control devices and traffic safety educational programs (Exhibit V-55). Traffic safety educational programs can sensitize and inform the general public of the need and benefits of observing traffic regulations. Unfortunately, knowing what to do and why to do it is often not enough. Good and bad driving behavior is much more a function of direct and immediate consequences that follow driver behavior.

Police forces throughout the United States have a long history of enforcing the law as it pertains to speeding, driving under the influence, and red-light running. They have developed very effective ways to observe, measure, and apprehend drivers who engage in these behaviors. Their observation and measurement procedures and accompanying devices have been validated, are socially acceptable, and are generally well accepted for evidentiary purposes. This may not be the case when it comes to the enforcement of crosswalk laws. Enforcement of right-of-way legislation presents a more daunting challenge for most police forces. The nature of the offense (not yielding to pedestrians, for example) appears at first glance to be a more subjective infraction of a shared responsibility. Police departments may not assign priority to enforcement of pedestrian right-of-way laws and/or may not provide officers adequate training in the enforcement of these laws.

EXHIBIT V-55
Police enforcement is essential to preserve pedestrian right-of-way and promote a safe environment for pedestrians. (Photo by Michael Ronkin)

Enforcement can increase driver compliance at crosswalks, increase driver awareness and/or mindfulness of pedestrians, and give credibility to engineering interventions. See Appendix 17 for details on example enforcement programs. Some additional considerations for conducting an enforcement campaign are found in Appendix 18. Some of the enforcement effort needed will require special legislation to establish the basis for the enforcement actions. Model ordinances have been developed to help communities adopt the necessary legal infrastructure. Further details on these ordinances can be found in Appendix 19. View information on enforcement related to pedestrian safety. In addition to special enforcement activities directed at improving motorists yielding to pedestrians in marked and unmarked crosswalks, law enforcement officials should also be encouraged to strictly enforce speed limit laws in locations where pedestrian traffic is high and/or where analysis of crash data suggests that speeding may be a contributing factor in pedestrian crashes.

Downtown business areas, shopping centers, school zones, college campuses, hospitals, senior centers, parks and recreation facilities, etc. are all locations that may warrant special attention by law enforcement officials to discourage speeding and encourage proper behavior for yielding to pedestrians crossing roadways. Locations where red-light running poses a risk to pedestrians should also be targeted for special enforcement, including consideration of automated (photo) enforcement where law allows.

EXHIBIT V-56
Strategy Attributes for Implementing Enforcement Campaigns

Attribute Description
Technical Attributes
Target This strategy is primarily directed at motorists who fail to give pedestrians proper rightof- way at crosswalks. It also targets some of the most serious risk-taking traffic violations by pedestrians.
Expected Effectiveness No quantitative studies are known that have determined the specific effect of various types of police enforcement on pedestrian-related traffic injuries and fatalities. The effect of enforcement alone on pedestrian crashes is difficult to quantify because of the multitude of factors that affect pedestrian crashes. For most jurisdictions, pedestrian injuries and fatalities occur at a wide variety of crosswalks and at frequencies that do not permit the establishment of causal relationships between those crashes and enforcement operations.

Enforcement programs increase the percentage of motorists yielding to pedestrians and also motorist awareness of pedestrians. They can also target drivers that are speeding or those that pass vehicles that are yielding to pedestrians.

Malenfant and Van Houten (1989) measured large increases in yielding behavior in three Canadian cities employing enforcement complemented with educational outreach and several engineering interventions. Although safety may have been greatly influenced by the engineering interventions, the enforcement component increased yielding behavior. Exhibit V-57 shows the increase in yielding behavior produced in three cities.

More recently, this program has been applied to increase yielding behavior in Miami Beach, Florida. Data collected to date show that yielding has increased in both corridors following the introduction of the program and that maintenance strategies are working to maintain the increase in yielding behavior. Data also indicated that enforcement of pedestrian right-of-way at marked crosswalks at uncontrolled locations generalized to other crosswalks. Generalization was noted at (1) uncontrolled locations where enforcement had not been scheduled, (2) crosswalks at traffic signals that did not receive enforcement, and (3) intersections at uncontrolled locations without crosswalk markings.

Britt et al. (1995) reported similar findings from an enforcement campaign on motorist compliance with new stricter crosswalk laws in Washington State. The new policy encouraged officers to write two tickets for motorist violations to every jaywalking citation. Evaluating willingness of drivers to stop at uncontrolled intersections for pedestrians before and after the enforcement campaign, researchers found that motorists were much more likely to stop in areas made up of multifamily housing units and small retail businesses than in nonresidential areas.

It should be noted that enforcement can yield fast results in small, tight-knit communities. To produce similar results in larger communities requires a more sustained effort over a longer period of time.

Keys to Success To be effective, police enforcement campaigns must be well planned and organized. They also must be sensitive to the special needs and characteristics of the neighborhood, age group, ethnic group, etc. being targeted by the campaign.

In the case of enforcement of pedestrian right-of-way at crosswalks, participating police officers need to be trained beforehand, since this type enforcement is unlike typical enforcement operations. Police officers should have senior staff support. It is best to work in a small team. Police authorities should inform prosecutors and judges prior to introducing the campaign, as well as promote media and public support. Pedestrian safety enforcement operations should focus on the more serious violations of both drivers and pedestrians. Most often this will mean giving priority to enforcement of driver behavior. In the beginning stages, enforcement operations should be scheduled very frequently and gradually reduced, but sustained over the long term, particularly at problematic locations. Police forces without a history of such enforcement operations should begin with warnings and enforcement flyers before introducing citations. Finally, enforcement of pedestrian violations should be kept for last, or until a large majority of drivers maintain a high level of yielding to pedestrians at crosswalks.

Potential Difficulties Police enforcement can result in public relations problems if it is not well planned and if officers are not properly trained for this special type of operation. Other problems will arise if the enforcement team does not have the full support of senior police administrators, political officials, and the media.
Appropriate Measures and Data Reducing pedestrian-related traffic crashes is the ultimate objective of the enforcement operations. However, such crashes are distributed over a large area and typically at low frequency at a given location. They cannot be used to evaluate specific enforcement procedures. Appropriate measures should focus on higher-frequency pedestrian-safetyrelated behaviors, such as yielding to pedestrians at crosswalks, speeding by drivers at crosswalks, and drivers stopping too close to, or in, crosswalks. Other safety-related behaviors that occur at sufficiently high frequency to evaluate the effectiveness of an enforcement operation include the frequency of pedestrians thanking drivers that yield right-of-way, stepping into traffic without warning, and crossing against the walk signal.
Associated Needs Valuable components to support police enforcement include clearly marked crosswalks with advance crosswalk signs; prompting signs for pedestrians; and, if possible, large feedback signs to inform the public of the campaign and of the implied surveillance. Public education (e.g., using a 20-minute lesson plan for school-aged pupils) and information flyers for the general public (especially the elderly) have the potential to greatly enhance the visibility and required public support for police enforcement of crosswalks.
Organizational and Institutional Attributes
Organizational, Institutional, and Policy Issues The establishment of a “Triple E” committee (Education, Enforcement, and Engineering), to develop and direct the effort, significantly increases the probability of success of any of these initiatives. Representation should include city or county administrators, their public relations departments, the police or sheriffs’ departments, engineering departments, neighborhood associations, and crossing guards. Police enforcement operations must be well understood, and they should not work in isolation, but as integral members of a strong, well-organized, multidisciplinary municipal or county Triple E team.
Issues Affecting Implementation Time Although enforcement of pedestrian right-of-way at crosswalks can be introduced at any time, enforcement campaigns are most timely just prior to summer holidays when the number of school-aged children on roadways increases. It is also timely to introduce such campaigns at the beginning of a new school year, when kindergarten and first graders are at greater risk because of their inexperience at getting to and from school.

Furthermore, if a Triple E committee is to be organized, a planning process followed, and a new PI&E campaign created to accompany it, the entire venture could take at least 1 year before implementation can start.

Costs Involved Cost varies, depending on the type, intensity, and duration of the enforcement effort. Some state governors’ highway safety offices may provide grants for targeted enforcement programs, e.g., at schools or to stop red-light running.
Training and Other Personnel Needs Police training is needed regarding the proper procedures to carry out the enforcement campaign.
Other Key Attributes
None identified.

EXHIBIT V-57
Illustration of motorist yielding behavior from pedestrian enforcement program


1 Adapted from A Model for Changing Travel Attitudes and Behaviour, produced by the INPHORMM project, December 1998. INPHORMM is a research project funded by the Commission of the European Communities, Directorate General for Transport.

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