Selecting Pedestrian Treatments at Unsignalized Crossings
By Charlie Zegeer, PBIC Director, UNC Highway Safety Research Center
Introduction by Jeremy Pinkham:
Slide Title: “The Power of 25: Advocacy Strategies for Creating Livable
-Hello, and Welcome to today’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center Livable
Communities Webinar series.
-Today’s Webinar is entitled “Selection of Pedestrian Treatments at Unsignalized
Crossings” with Charlie Zegeer, Director of the PBIC.
-My name is Jeremy Pinkham, and I am the Communication Coordinator for PBIC and
the UNC Highway Safety Research Center. I’ll be facilitating today’s webinar.
-I’d first like say hello to today’s speaker to make sure he is ready and everyone can hear
him. Charlie, are you there?
-Attendees, if you can hear me and if you can hear Charlie, click the hand in the box in
the upper right hand corner of your screen to raise your hands so we can be sure our
audience can hear us. [Pause]
-Before we get started with today’s webinar, I want to go over a few administrative
details, and the functionality of the Webinar software.
Slide Title: “GoToWebinar Attendee Interface”
-If for some reason your computer or web browser freezes during the Webinar, please re-
load the Web site and log back in to the program. You’ll be able to rejoin the session.
-Please note that attendees will not be able to speak during the Webinar. We do expect a
large number of attendees on this call, so by muting your audio it helps us to cut down on
confusion and background noise.
- Let’s take a look at this slide that shows the Webinar interface. As an attendee, you
have a control box in the upper right of your screen that collapses and expands by
clicking this button.
- Though you won’t be able to speak, you will have the ability to ask questions by
entering them in the Question box. If you have a problem during the webinar, you may
enter it here. I’ll monitor these questions and respond to you if I am able.
-Questions pertaining to the presentation may be asked at any time in the question box,
but will not be addressed until the end of the program, when we have built in about 20
minutes for a discussion period. Please feel free to ask those questions as we go along,
and we’ll get to them after the presentation.
-Also, so that you are not alarmed when you exit the webinar, I want to let you know that
a very brief survey will open up after you leave. We would very much appreciate your
feedback on our performance.
Slide Title: “Today’s Presentation”
- Before we get started with today’s program, I want to give everyone a little information
about what this Webinar is about. The goal of the Livable Communities Webinar series is
to better enable our audience to improve the quality of life in their communities by
promoting safe walking and bicycling as a viable means of transportation and physical
-The bi-monthly series was developed by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center,
the national clearinghouse of pedestrian- and bicycle-related safety information and
resources. We offer information and technical assistance to diverse audiences about
health and safety, engineering, advocacy, education, enforcement, access, and mobility as
it relates to pedestrians and bicyclists. PBIC and today’s Webinar are both made possible
with funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway
- The next Livable Communities Webinar will be held on Thursday, March 18, 2010
from 2PM to 3:30PM, E.T. It will be presented by Gillian Hotz and David Parisi, who
will speak on “Community approaches to pedestrian safety education.” The registration
link can be found at walkinginfo.org/webinars.
-There, you will also be able to access an archived recording and transcript of today’s
program after the live webinar. It usually takes about a week to get it posted.
- In addition to these Webinars, PBIC offers four different in-person training courses to
provide technical assistance to professionals and community members in developing
pedestrian safety action plans, and improving conditions for walking. These courses can
be found at walkinginfo.org/training.
- If we are not able to get to your question at the end of the presentation, please do not
hesitate to contact us. All of our Web resources can be accessed at pedbikeinfo.org, and
you may reach me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 919-843-4859.
-Now I’m going to turn the screen over to Charlie Zegeer for the feature presentation on
“Selection of Pedestrian Treatments at Unsignalized Crossings.” While he’s getting set
up with his slide presentation, I want to take a quick poll from the audience.
Please let us know how many participants are viewing the webinar at your site.
- Thank you! Now I’d like to tell you a bit about our speaker. Charlie Zegeer is Director
of the PBIC, and is Associate Director of Engineering and Planning, at the UNC
Highway Safety Research Center.
He has taught courses on pedestrian and roadway safety throughout the U.S. over the past
25 years. He has been principal investigator and primary report author on numerous
federal studies and Guides, including the FHWA guide, How to Develop a Pedestrian
Safety Action Plan, and the NCHRP report, A Guide for Reducing Collisions Involving
Pedestrians, both of which can be found in the PBIC online library.
- I’d like to welcome and thank Charlie for his presentation today. We’ll take questions
at the end. Charlie, please take it from here.
Slide title: Selecting Pedestrian Treatments at Unsignalized Crossings
Thank you Jeremy. I’d like to thank Jeremy and Katy Jones of the PBIC for all the work
they’ve put in to organizing these webinars and to Gabe Rousseau of Federal Highway
Administration for allowing us to have these webinars as part of the Pedestrian and
Bicycle Information Center activities.
What I’m going to be talking about today really covers a topic of pedestrian safety that is
fairly confusing to a lot of agencies. Often times its unclear how to solve a problem at an
unsignalized, or what we call an uncontrolled crossing location. While we don’t have all
the answers, we are going to look at some of the information that we’re aware of from the
research, from the current guidelines, and also from the latest version of the Manual on
Uniform Traffic Control Devices that was just approved in late December.
Slide title: Crossing Crashes – Part 1: General Principles
We’re going to cover this in two parts. The first part is going to be on general principles
of pedestrian crossing and then we’re going to talk about some of the countermeasures to
address some of the crash issues.
Slide title: Why do people cross the street? Because there’s someplace good on the
The first question is “Why do people cross the street?” and there are many different
reasons on all kinds of locations, all types and ages of pedestrians, and so as engineers
and planners of the roadway environment we really need to be able to take a close look at
some of the problems and issues that are going on, particularly that cause pedestrian
Slide title: People shouldn’t have to run across a street
We know that pedestrians shouldn’t have to run across the street as you can see these two
teenagers here. (Image change) You can see with their backs to traffic it really puts them
at a high risk situation.
Slide title: Ideally, we’d always cross at locations with positive control
Some people say, “Well, ideally we’d like to have traffic signals at all of our crossing
locations.” While that may seem to be a good solution it’s not always practical, nor does
it necessarily guarantee safety for pedestrians. In particular, we know that many of our
pedestrian crash problems are at signalized intersections or signalized mid-block places.
So, there are many other answers that may be appropriate for dealing with pedestrian
crossings besides just putting in traffic signals.
Slide title: But we can’t provide signals everywhere people cross
But we know that even if we could put in signals that it would really not solve the
problem, and in fact it would create other huge problems. We know that many
intersections that are signalized have more crashes than before they were signalized.
Slide title: These people are not criminals…They’re simply trying to deal with a
The people that are crossing mid-block are not criminals, they’re just trying to find ways
to deal with the roadway situation where they are.
Slide title: Pedestrian behavior varies: Some use crosswalks, others don’t
We know that behavior of the pedestrian varies so that when we really try to come up
with solutions, we need to be aware of the different behaviors, try to figure out why
they’re happening, and then take action to reduce the risk for the crossings.
Slide title: Principle #1
Alright, let’s look at a few principles for pedestrian crossings. Let’s make the assumption
that pedestrians want and need to be able to cross the street safely.
Slide title: Principle #2
We know that drivers need to understand pedestrians’ intention and pedestrians need to
understand what the drivers are doing. I was told about a crash in the state of Maine a few
years ago, when a young boy was struck by a gentleman in a pickup truck. Fortunately
the child was not hurt seriously; but the officer interviewed him in the hospital and he
asked the boy why he crossed the street in front of the truck, did he see the driver? The
boy said “Yes, I looked, saw the driver, saw that he saw me, so I assumed he was going
to stop for me.” So the police officer asked the driver, “Well didn’t you see the boy?” and
the driver said “Yes, I saw the boy and saw that he saw me, so I assumed he was going to
wait for me.” So often times, it not even a matter of seeing the pedestrian, it’s a matter of
understanding the intent of the other road user and how to cross safely or how as a driver
you’re supposed to behave to reduce pedestrian crashes.
Slide title: Principle #3
Another principle is that we want to try to keep our crossings short. Roadway crossings
that are four, five, six lanes often result in excessive exposure time for the pedestrians in
the street. It increases the risk of a pedestrian – motorist conflict or collision, it increases
delay for the motorist and certainly for the pedestrian, and many pedestrians, especially
older or younger pedestrians, have difficulty even getting across.
Slide title: Principle #4: Speed Matters
The other issue is speed which relates to several different consequences. Number 1,
higher speed reduces the drivers’ field of vision, secondly it reduces the drivers’ ability to
react and avoid a crash, and third, higher speeds result in higher likelihood of death.
Slide title: As speed increases, driver focuses less on surroundings
So you can see here in this slide, a motorist that’s going down a roadway at a fairly low
rate of speed, this is 15 miles an hour, has a fairly broad field of vision. So they can see
people, bicyclists, pedestrians on both sides fairly easily. (Image changes to 20 MPH)
As the speed increases here to 20 (mph) you can see the field of vision starts to decrease.
(Image changes to 25 MPH) At 25 (mph), it decreases further. (Image changes to 30
MPH) At 30 (mph), now the drivers really looking more on the horizon. So you get the
Slide title: Speed Affects Crash Avoidance
What you see here is the relationship, in this next slide, of the effects of increased speed
on driver reaction and breaking distance. So you can see at 10 mph a driver is able to
react and stop in about 50 feet. As you increase in speed, for example up to 40 mph, if
you add in the distance that it takes, time and distance, for a driver to perceive the
pedestrian and put the foot on the brake and come to a complete stop, it can be 350 feet or
more. So obviously as you know, the distance for stopping for a pedestrian greatly
increases as speeds are higher.
Slide title: Speed Affects Crash Severity
In this next slide you can see the relationship between the probability of death and
vehicle speed. This shows, for example, if a motorist is going 20 mph, and strikes a
pedestrian there’s about a 15% chance that the pedestrian will die. If that speed is
increased to 30 mph, that probability goes up to about half, or 45%. If the driver still goes
10 mph faster at 40 mph and strikes a pedestrian, the chance of death is more like 85%.
So, speed kills and we can certainly reduce a lot of pedestrian crashes and the severity of
those crashes if we can do something to the roadway environment or educate the driver to
slow down. Ok, we also know that there are some traffic calming measures that we can
talk about along a corridor, along a route, a collector street for example, such as curb
extensions – where anything you can do to sort of narrow the effective width of the street
to slow down vehicle speeds, which can also reduce the chance of collisions obviously at
the crossings themselves.
Ok the other principle, and we put this in because it’s sort of a fact of most people, that
they are most likely to cross where it’s most convenient for them. That we find that very
few pedestrians are willing to Technical Difficulties
While Jeremy is doing that, if you all would go ahead and type in any questions that you
are hoping to have answered as far as this webinars. Then as we proceed, Jeremy will be
looking at the questions and he’ll be writing these down then we’ll have them ready when
the main presentation’s over.
One of the key points that I wanted to bring up for the webinar today, and we are going to
go over a lot of different strategies, but that’s its so important that we really try to look at
every crossing individually and also as a system so that we’re trying to diagnose specific
safety problems, crash problems, but also looking at all of our pedestrian crossings
throughout our city or town or county to make sure that we have sort of an overall plan
on how we identify potential problems as well as sights that have had pedestrian crashes
and try to deal with them in a logical, systematic manner.
Slide title: Traffic-calming methods such as curb extensions help slow traffic
Basically, there are traffic calming measures, as we were saying, that can slow down
vehicles along a corridor and therefore produce the safety at the crossings themselves.
Slide title: Principle #5: Pedestrians will cross where it’s most convenient
Principle 5 is that pedestrians will cross where it’s most convenient to them and not to
expect them to go far out of their way. If they are crossing at a given location, like a mid-
block spot, then we want to see why they’re crossing there and then see if we can make
the crossing reasonably safe or if it’s close enough to a signal then it might be appropriate
to direct them to a nearby signalized crossing.
Slide title: Midblock vs. Intersection
The question about midblock vs. intersection, and I know that you’ve probably heard
people say “always go cross at the intersection, it’s safer.” Well some of the research that
we’ve done says that that’s not necessarily the case. That it really is a more of a function
of the number of lanes, the vehicle speed, and the vehicle volume in terms of where it’s
relatively safe to cross the street; that we can have pedestrians crossing midblock that has
the advantage of pedestrians not having to yield or worry about turning vehicles. So it
really is a function of other factors instead of whether it’s midblock or intersection.
Slide title: Crossing Crashes – Part 2: Countermeasures
Let’s get into the countermeasures and talk about some of the pros and cons of each and
where they may be best suited to be implemented on your roadway systems.
Slide title: Basic Street Crossing Measures
We are going to go through and talk about things like crosswalks, illumination at the
crossing, different kinds of signs, crosswalk markings for example, raised medians and
pedestrian islands, traffic signals with different pedestrian options if warranted, and
Slide: Cartoon Image
Here’s a cartoon taken from the newspaper that says “Billgeville’s new pedestrian
monkey bars not only reduced accidents but also whipped people into great shape.” This
kind of shows that, this is sort of a light hearted attempt to show how we can get
pedestrians safely across the street and I think a lot of citizens out there realize that it’s
not always an easy thing or a safe thing to try to just a basic street crossing. But this is not
something we recommend, we’re going to be getting into some other measures however.
Slide title: Crosswalks
For example, one of the other questions that comes up often is marked crosswalks – Why
are the marked? When should you mark them? How does marking the crosswalk affect
the risk for pedestrians, does it create this false sense of security that some people talk
Slide title: 1. Why are crosswalks provided?
So the question here that asks, “Why are crosswalks provided?” There are two main
reasons. Number 1, to indicate to pedestrians where they should cross, maybe a preferred
crossing location, not necessarily a safer location but a preferred location. Number 2, to
indicate to drivers where they might expect pedestrians, so it’s just sort of a notice to
Slide title: 2. How to determine where to mark a crosswalk?
In terms of how do you determine where to mark a crosswalk? There’s a lot of research
and debate that’s gone on this question for many decades. (Slide text changed to
MUTCD Guidance) What I’m going to read you now is basically taken right from the
Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. Basically the most recent version of the
MUTCD just came out actually in the middle of January, a few days ago, but it was
finished in late 2009.
It basically said “crosswalk markings provide guidance for pedestrians who are crossing
roadways by defining and delineating paths on approaches to and within signalized
intersections, and on approaches to other intersections where traffic stops.” It now gets
into the unsignalized part. It says “in conjunction with signs and other measures,
crosswalk markings help to alert road users of a designated pedestrian crossing point
across the roadway at locations that are not controlled by traffic control signals or STOP
or YIELD signs. Crosswalk lines should not be used indiscriminately.” So that’s some of
the basic language, I just copied that out of the new MUTCD, it’s available on the
Federal Highway Administration website.
But the other thing that I thought was kind of interesting and I had that at the bottom and
it says “an engineering study should be performed before a marked crosswalk is installed
at a location away from a traffic signal or an approach controlled by a STOP or YIELD
sign.” So this is saying that we shouldn’t go out and put marked crosswalks everywhere.
Particularly where there’s not a stop sign or signal we need to do a study to make sure it’s
the right thing to do.
Slide title: How to determine where to mark a crosswalk? Consider origins and
So the next question is how do you determine where to mark a crosswalk? And certainly
there are several ways to do that. One of the most obvious things here (Arrows appear
on screen), and I hope you can see the arrows, but it says in this case, apartments across
from the bus stop and stores. So you know people are going to come out of apartments
and need to cross the street to take the bus or to buy their groceries, so it’s an obvious
place to connect origins and destinations. You can see here they do have a marked
crosswalk across a five lane road with a raised median island and the pedestrian is
crossing there. They have overhead pedestrian crossing signs. So the question is can we
look at these places where pedestrians need to cross the street and try to accommodate
Slide title: Many Locations are not suitable for a Marked Crosswalk
We know many places are not suitable for just putting in a marked crosswalk by itself.
Slide title: Not a good location for a marked crosswalk: No particular reason for
driver to expect pedestrians
This is an example. You have about a five lane road, looks to be very high speed, high
volume, there’s no real clear location where pedestrians are going to want to cross. They
may want to cross anywhere along here, at the McDonalds, or the Wendy’s you can see
on the left, or some of the other businesses along this route. So there’s not a defined
crossing point that it would make sense to put a marked crosswalk.
Slide title: Not a good location for a marked crosswalk: Poor sight distance
Here’s another location that would not be good for a marked crosswalk. It shows a
horizontal curve, a very sharp horizontal curve with poor sight distance. And actually
some agency has put in a crosswalk that is probably not a very good place to do that
because motorists are not necessarily going to be expecting pedestrians as they approach
from either direction.
Slide title: Many Locations are Suitable for a Marked Crosswalk
There are however many locations that would make sense, as common sense would say
it’s probably a good place for a marked crosswalk.
Slide title: Suitable location for a marked crosswalk: Two-lane, high use, driver
Here’s a location in Madison, Wisconsin, it’s a two lane road, looks to be a fairly low
speed street that connects from a major entrance to some kind of building to another
driveway entrance, and it’s right at the back of two bus stop locations. So you can see
that people who would be wanting to take the bus might be wanting to cross here and the
crossing is appropriately located behind the bus so the people would get off the bus, walk
to the back of the bus, and then cross in the marked crosswalk. So it’s a very suitable,
logical place for a marked crosswalk.
Slide title: Suitable location for a marked crosswalk: slow speed, high use, driver
Here’s another one. This is a crossing near the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. Again
it’s a fairly low speed, narrow, two lane road with a very wide marked crosswalk, you
can see there are tons of pedestrians crossing both directions maybe going to the
museums. So this would be an appropriate place to put a marked crosswalk. You don’t
need a traffic signal, it doesn’t warrant a traffic signal.
Slide title: 3. Do marked crosswalks increase safety or encourage people to cross
So the next slide asks “Do marked crosswalks increase safety or encourage people to
cross without looking?” Which is a lot of the basis for some debate over the years.
Slide title: Results of Most Recent Study (Zegeer et al 2002)
A few years ago we did a study, actually we finished in 2002. It was called “The Safety
Effects of Marked Versus. Unmarked Crosswalks at Uncontrolled Locations.” For this
study, the idea was to try and look at what are the crash risks associated with
unsignalized crossings that have marked crosswalks versus those that don’t? So we
looked 2,000 crossing locations, 1,000 marked, and each of those had a nearby, unmarked
control site. So we wanted to do a comparison, we collected traffic volume, pedestrian
volume, a number of lanes, speed limit, other characteristics of the crossings, and then
tried to develop a model that would help us understand “what are the factors associated
with pedestrian crash risk, including whether it’s marked or not?”
The bottom line without going into the details of the study was we found that for roads
less than three lanes, mostly two lane roads there was no significant difference in
pedestrian crash rates whether it was marked or unmarked when you control for all of the
exposure and other factors. However, when you are on a roadway with three or more
lanes, there’s no difference in the crash risks for marked and unmarked as long as your
traffic volume is less than about 12,000 vehicles per day. Does that make sense? Ok. Also,
for the multilane roads that have more than 12,000 vehicles per day and no median,
pedestrian crash risks increased for marked crosswalks. Considerably if the roadway is
multilane with a raised median and more than 15,000 vehicles per day, pedestrian crash
Slide title: Study Results
Some of the other things we found in the study are that we found that on multilane roads
that having a raised median reduces pedestrian crashes by 40% - a fairly major finding.
We also found that for older pedestrians over 65, they are overrepresented in crashes on
all types of roadways. So this is something to keep in mind as we go electing
countermeasures. We also found as part of a related study that pedestrians were not less
vigilant in these marked crosswalks; they weren’t doing crazy things because the
crosswalk was marked. We found that there were some other factors associated with the
increased crash risk in marked crosswalks and we’re going to talk about some of those.
Slide title: Study Results (cont.)
First of all, the study found that there were increased pedestrian crashes where you had a
greater number of lanes and a greater traffic volume. That’s kind of something we would
have suspected, and other studies have found the same results.
Slide title: One explanation of higher crash rate at marked crosswalks
But here’s one of the key factors that we found that was associated with higher pedestrian
crash rates in marked crosswalks. It’s what we call the multiple threat crash. At locations
that had marked crosswalks, you’re much more likely to have this kind of event where
the first vehicle in the curb lane stops and lets the pedestrian cross, but the pedestrian
may not be able to see around that first vehicle and may not see that second car coming.
Likewise, the driver of the second vehicle doesn’t see the pedestrian, and so you have a
collision. This is what we found that was maybe set up by having the marked crosswalk
which encourages the first vehicle to stop in the first place.
Slide title: Study Recommendations
The other conclusions from our study are summarized here, we’ve kind of gone through
them. Basically, we came up with some guidelines recommending where you should or
shouldn’t just use marked crosswalks alone. Again, two lane roads are ok, multilane
roads with low volumes are ok however if you get into speeds greater than 40 miles an
hour, that can create problems for motorists being able to stop for pedestrians in the
crossing. So there if you have greater speeds you may need you may need to consider
something much more substantial, like considering whether a signal is warranted. Again,
raised medians reduce crash risk. When you do have these multilane higher volume
situations, this is where we really need to think broader about more than just paint alone.
We need to think about what are some more substantial treatments to make it safe for
pedestrians to cross the street?
It’s not OK to just say “well why don’t we just take out all the marked crosswalks and be
done with it?” because that doesn’t create the problem that pedestrians are having in the
first place. We need to think about what they need to cross safely.
Slide title: Change to 2009 MUTCD
This actually is taken directly from the new MUTCD, I actually had it copied yesterday,
and it basically goes along with our findings in our report.
“New marked crosswalks alone, without other measures designed to reduce traffic speeds,
shorten crossing distances, enhance driver awareness of the crossing, and/or provide
active warning of pedestrian presence, should not be installed across uncontrolled
roadways where the speed limit exceeds 40 mph and either: A. The roadway has four or
more lanes of travel without a raised median or pedestrian refuge island and an ADT of
12,000 vehicles per day or greater of B. The roadway has four or more lanes of travel
with a raised median or pedestrian refuge island and an ADT of 15,000 vehicles per day
So it’s sort of a combination of number of lanes and traffic volume, but you need to sort
of be sensitive to where it’s ok to put paint alone or where you need more substantial
improvements, like on the higher volume, multilane roads.
Slide title: Increase Effectiveness of Crosswalks With:
So let’s talk about some of these other treatments, what else could be implemented, say in
conjunction with marked crosswalks or other crossing treatments. We’re going to talk
about the things in this list: proper location, high visibility markings, illumination,
signing, advance stop bars, median islands, curb extensions, and signals.
Slide title: Key Quotes from the Study Conclusion
We mentioned earlier that it’s not ok to say “let’s just take out all the crosswalks and we
solved the problem.” The example I like to use is if you go into a doctor’s office and you
have a broken arm and the doctor says, “well you’ve got a broken arm, aspirin alone
won’t cure it, so I’m going to do nothing.” Kind of like picking out the marked
crosswalks and doing nothing. What’s really needed for the broken arm is to do
something more substantial – maybe to fit the mold, put the cast on, and then give you
the aspirin too. In other words, it needs a combination of treatments to solve that broken
arm issue just like a pedestrian crossing on a five or six lane road with high volumes and
speeds, it’s not enough to say “we’re going to take out the crosswalk and be done with it”
– we really need to look at something more substantial.
Slide title: Marked crosswalk must be visible to the DRIVER
So first of all, let’s just talk about the paint. Marking the crosswalk like this, it looks kind
of like its a few years old – it’s kind of worn and cracked. Pedestrians can see it just fine,
so a pedestrian would say “yes, this is a marked crosswalk.” (Image changes to “What
the driver sees”) But, the next slide here shows what the driver sees. The driver cannot
see the marked crosswalk, it’s virtually invisible to the driver in this case. This is just
something we need to be aware of when we think about treatments.
Slide title: Crosswalk Visibility
This slide shows three different options for crosswalk markings. The first one at the top is
just the parallel lines that we often see in most crossings. The one in the middle is what
we call the continental style or high visibility and the one on the bottom is what we call a
ladder which is also a high visibility crosswalk type. Obviously the research shows that
the middle and bottom crosswalk markings are much easier to see by motorists in
particular as well as by pedestrians.
Slide title: Longitudinal markings with transverse markings – very visible
This is a slide showing the longitudinal markings with its transverse markings which are
very visible. The pedestrian is crossing there, the drivers can see it with no problem. It’s
supplemented with, these are the older pedestrian warning signs.
Slide title: Place longitudinal markings placed to avoid wheel tracks, reducing wear
& tear & maintenance
The next slide here we can also see the high visibility crosswalks. These are actually
positioned to avoid the wheel tracks to reduce wear and tear on the paint itself. So we’ve
talked with cities like Orlando that have gone with this pattern as a standard. It is more
expensive to apply these crosswalks, but they last much, much longer than the parallel
lines and they position the markings to reduce wear and tear because the wheels travel
between the markings.
Slide title: Staggered ladder improves visibility from afar
This is a photo showing a drivers view as they approach the high visibility crosswalk
several hundred feet ahead, but it’s very visible because of the additional paint. This is in
a school zone.
Slide title: (No title, Image of pedestrians crossing street at night)
This slide shows sort of what a driver may see at night for pedestrians crossing in a
marked crosswalk. It’s difficult to see the pedestrians, even the ones in white. And
remember, many pedestrians are walking at night, maybe they’ve had a drink or two,
wearing black clothing – under those conditions motorists are just not able to see and
react to pedestrians in many cases, particularly when they’re going more than about 25-
Slide title: Illumination – Essential For Any Crossing
So we need to think about what can we do for pedestrian crossing sites to make
pedestrians more visible to motorists? Obviously lighting is something that we would
recommend to be considered at all marked pedestrian crossings. We know that from some
of the literature, up to 50% of pedestrian crashes occur at night and it is sort of a typical
application where the lighting is installed above the marked crosswalk – (Image change)
but there is new research out nowadays that first of all documents the crash reduction
from improved lighting to be about 42% in midblock locations and about 54% reduction
in pedestrian crashes at intersections where the lighting has been dramatically improved.
Slide title: Informational Report on Lighting Design for Midblock Crosswalks
This is a report we’re showing here, it’s called “Informational Report on Lighting Design
for Midblock Crosswalks.” It was published in April 2008 by the Federal Highway
Administration and you may want to get a hold of it if you haven’t seen it. They really
give some pretty good recommendations for how we should go about lighting our
Slide title: Sample Illustrations from New FHWA Report
This slide shows sort of the old way and the new way. The Figure 11 on the left shows
the traditional midblock crosswalk lighting layout that does show the light pole right
directly over the crosswalk, but we know now that drivers can’t see pedestrians very well
when the light is directly overhead, it doesn’t even really cast a very good shadow.
Whereas Figure 12 on the right shows one light on either side of the marked crosswalk
and this makes the pedestrian much more visible to the motorist at night because one
light shines so the light reflects back to the driver and the other one as well so it gives a
much better perspective of the pedestrian at night for the motorist.
Slide title: (No title – Figures 13-15)
This next figure (Figure 13) on lighting shows sort of a traditional way with the lighting
sort of in each quadrant versus the upper right (Figure 14) which shows the new design
for intersection lighting we talked about with the lights in front of the marked crosswalk.
The sketch in the bottom center (Figure 15) would be for the wide multilane roads where
you’d also implement a light in the median so that for the major approaches there’d be a
light on each side of the approach covering both lanes.
Slide title: Ped crossing signs: old vs. new MUTCD standards
Ok, other kinds of treatments for pedestrian crossings. Upper left hand corner, these are
pedestrian warning signs – the upper left shows the old way with the pedestrian symbol
in the marked crosswalk, the new way in the lower left that you can implement a
pedestrian warning sign with a down arrow indicating the crosswalk is here. With the
advanced pedestrian warning sign it shows the pedestrian symbol with the word “Ahead.”
This is sort of the new guideline in the MUTCD.
Side title: In-street pedestrian crossing signs
In-street pedestrian crossing signs – there’s really two different varieties we show you
here. Some people refer to these as the knock down signs, for obvious reasons because
trucks or cars hit them and knock them down, but that’s not the idea. We want them to
stand there so motorists can see, in this case it says “state law yield to pedestrians within
crosswalk.” That would be appropriate for states that have the yield requirement in the
law. The other signs that say motorists must stop for pedestrians in crosswalks is the
other sign, the one on the upper right that says “state law stop for pedestrians within
Slide title: In-street signs increase yield rates, especially on slow-speed streets
So these are variations of signs, we’ve actually evaluated these for some of our research
for Federal Highway Administration. We have found that installing these signs
particularly on low speed, downtown, two lane roads does result in an increase in
motorists yielding to pedestrians. Fairly dramatic from less than 15-20% up to as high as
about 60-65%. Of course the downside is that it’s still not 100% yielding. Now I’m not
particularly one to recommend a sign like this on the multilane roads, you know 4, 5, 6
lane roads, until those have been fully researched and evaluated. But on the low volume,
low speed, two lane roads, at least our research indicates, that they can improve motorist
Slide title: Rectangular Rapid Flash LED Beacon
The next device, now this one we call the rectangular rapid flash LED beacon. It received
interim approval for the MUTCD with its own separate warrants but it’s not fully adopted
in the MUTCD mainly because of the timing. So if the state wants to apply to the FHWA
to get this approved for implementation statewide, I’m told by someone on the National
Committee of Uniform Traffic Control Devices that they can do a sort of blanket request
for approval to Federal Highway Administration to have this device implemented within
their state. It’s a fairly routine thing and it’s not even a requirement to do the formal
evaluation although more evaluation would certainly be more beneficial.
We call this sort of the rectangular rapid flash beacon. Studies by Dr. Ron Van Houten
have shown that it can increase motorist yielding behavior from less than 20% in some
locations up to more than 80% after this is installed. It does have kind of a rapid flash
device you can see between the pedestrian sign and the down arrow. It has really been
evaluated at several locations primarily in Florida, but it gives the warning message. It’s
much more noticeable by motorists because of the rapid flash device. It does have to be
activated by pedestrians by pushing the button or by passing a detector.
Slide title: Beacons required on the both right side and the left side or in a median if
This is a photograph in this slide showing that the beacons are really required on both
sides of the travel lane in case it’s a multilane road for example and you’re on the right
lane behind a truck, you need to be able to see the sign and the sign might be hidden if its
only on the right side of the road – it would be hidden by the truck ahead. This shows
how it should be installed on the left and the right of the drivers view.
Slide title: Advance Stop or Yield Line: Reduces Multiple-threat Crashes
The next thing we’re going to talk about – oh by the way, that last device has been
evaluated for traffic volumes up to about 30,000 vehicles a day or a little more but it
hadn’t really been evaluated for the really high traffic volumes so we’re not sure if that’s
going to be a good solution for the five and six lane roads carrying 50,000 vehicles a day.
Slide title: Multiple Threat Crash Problem
The next device is fairly low cost; it has been evaluated also in recent years to really try
to reduce the risk of this multiple threat crash. Now you can see here, this is a depiction
of what we showed you earlier where this Car A, vehicle 1 stops right at the crosswalk
and you can see the pedestrian has stepped out in front. The pedestrian cannot see that
second car, that Car B that is approaching nor can the driver of that Car B sees that
pedestrian yet until it’s too late.
One logical solution which is being used more and more is – now you can see we’ve
moved that stop line back. The MUTCD allows you to move it 20-50 feet. Now assuming
Car A stops at that advanced stop line, you can see the visibility distance of driver in Car
B has improved dramatically. Now the pedestrian can see that oncoming vehicle and
either the vehicle will have time to stop for the pedestrian or the pedestrian may have
time to take evasive action if not. This is a fairly low cost treatment.
Slide title: (No title, image of MUTCD signs)
And you say “well how can you get Car A to stop at the stop bar?” and well here’s the
answer. In the MUTCD, in the 2003 version, it allowed you to use these signs that would
say “Yield here to pedestrians” with a down arrow and that sign would go right at the
advance stop line or yield line. The signs on the right say “Stop here for pedestrians” with
a down arrow this was adopted in the 2009 MUTCD. Again, where the local law says
motorists must stop for pedestrians instead of yield to pedestrians.
Slide title: Advanced yield line (shark’s teeth) & sign
Here’s a photograph of the combination of these treatments. You have your high
visibility crossing with the pedestrian warning sign and the down arrow and then on the
approach of that crossing you have what are called yield lines, or the shark’s teeth we call
them – those were in the 2003 MUTCD – and we have the accompanying sign that says
“Yield here to pedestrians” with a down arrow. So this is a message to the driver that this
is the place you’re supposed to stop and yield for that pedestrian to cross. This looks like
it’s a little close, I think I’d probably recommend moving those shark’s teeth back about
another 10-15 feet, but anyway you get the idea.
Slide title: Advanced stop line and sign
Here’s an example of a stop line with a “Stop here for pedestrians” down arrow message
on the advance of the pedestrian crossing. Without this sign I’m not sure how many
drivers are really going to stop at the stop line or the yield line. So you need to have both
in combination to optimize your yielding.
Slide title: MUTCD recommends 20’ to 50’ setback
Here’s a crossing, actually in Las Vegas, that illustrates that they’ve installed a stop line
it looks like about 30 feet back from the crosswalk itself which really opens up that site
Slide title: Marking a Crosswalk Summary
I guess in conclusion/summary on the marked crosswalk, when is it OK to mark a
crosswalk without other treatments? Again the two lane road with less than 40 mph. Also
on the multilane roads with traffic volumes less than 12,000 vehicles a day no median or
less than 15,000 vehicles a day if there is a median. Medians are always good, but even
with a median you may need something in addition to the marked crosswalks in those
How can you increase the effectiveness of marked crosswalks? Add a median and an
advanced stop line; there are textured crosswalks, and it’s best to use white crosswalks
when possible; signs can supplement other markings; and illumination is always
recommended where pedestrians are crossing.
Slide title: Raised Medians and Islands Reduce Pedestrian Crashes
Let’s talk a little bit about sort of along the route that includes midblock crossings and
many of you may have major roadways where pedestrians are crossing sort of all along
that route, there’s not one particular crossing point. So one good rule of thumb is if you
have a multilane road, particularly a road with four lanes or more, if you can put in a
raised median or raised median island along there where pedestrians are crossing the
research shows that you could reduce pedestrian crossing crashes by about 46% in
marked crosswalks and about almost 40% in unmarked crosswalks. So that’s one of the
best medicines you can use for pedestrian crossings on multilane roads. I know it’s not as
cheap as some other treatments but it can be really effective.
Slide title: Continuous raised median – basic principle
This kind of shows the illustration of pedestrians crossing with a median – they stop at
the curb, look to the left and all they have to do is get to that median in one crossing
period. So as long as traffic is clear to the left, they can cross to the median and then wait
to cross to the other side.
Slide title: A flush median is not a refuge
The problem with this flush median, some people call it a suicide lane, but a five lane
with no raised median, is it really does not function anything like a raised median.
According to our research, it’s no safer by having five lanes than four lanes. It doesn’t
give you the safety benefit of a raised median.
Slide title: Add a raised island
So if you add the raised median, this is done by Photoshop, in this case it’s got sort of a
jag to the right so pedestrians can walk to the median, walk to the right as you’re looking
for oncoming traffic, wait for a gap in traffic on each side of the street before they cross.
Slide title: Crossing island at marked crosswalk – same principle
That sort of gives you a sense of some possible options here. You can see again, that it
does break the crossing into two steps.
Slide title: Option: stagger or angle cut-through so pedestrians face oncoming traffic
before 2nd crossing
There’s also the option, you can see the little red arrow showing you how the little jag to
the right can get you to the median and the pedestrians sort of angle to the right so they
can see, they’re forced to look at oncoming traffic to their right before they finish the
second half of the crossing. So that’s also kind of a nice feature.
Slide title: Pedestrian Signal
What about pedestrian signals? Everything we’ve talked about so far has been where a
traffic signal does not exist, no pedestrian signals exist.
Slide title: Now easier to meet pedestrian volume warrant
But, it is now easier to meet the minimum pedestrian volume warrant with the new
MUTCD and this is based partly on some of the research conducted by the Texas
Transportation Institute plus a lot of other information that indicates that it’s so difficult
to meet that old warrant of 190 pedestrians per peak hour or 100 pedestrians per hour in
any one of four hours in the day. So this new warrant really incorporates pedestrian
volume and traffic volume. It’s much easier to meet that warrant under certain conditions.
So do go look at the new MUTCD, see if some of your pedestrian crossings may now
meet the warrant whereas they did not before.
Slide title: Provide a HOT response
We want to make sure our pedestrians have a hot response, so the pedestrian pushes it
and it doesn’t take a long time to respond –
Slide title: If wait is to long, pedestrians will seek gaps
– because if it is, pedestrians won’t wait that long. They’ll cross against the light and
Slide title: And then traffic waits for no reason
then the light will stop traffic needlessly and we don’t want that to happen.
Slide title: Pedestrian Signal: 2-Stage Crossing
I’ll quickly go over a 2-stage crossing and this is something that may be appropriate in a
suburban area like when you have a bus stop.
Slide title: Stage 1
You can see the overhead traffic signal. The pedestrian pushes the button and stops traffic
in the direction from their left, meanwhile traffic from the other direction keeps going.
(Image changes) Pedestrian crosses to the center island on the red light, meanwhile
traffic continues on from their right, but to our left.
Slide title: Stage 1 over
Then traffic is released in the first direction while the pedestrian walks in the center
island over to push the button in the median.
Slide title: Stage 2
Traffic continues now in the direction on the right and is stopped in the direction on the
left due to the pushing the button.
Slide title: Stage 2 over
Then as soon as the pedestrian gets across, traffic resumes on the second direction. So
you can see what’s happened is the delay to the pedestrian has been minimized so the
pedestrian has to push two buttons, the delay to motorists has been reduced greatly, and it
does add protection to pedestrians to get to that bus stop or cross that wide street when
there may not have been adequate gaps before.
Slide title: Detail 1
The requirements here are you have to have the second button in the island and the island
has to be separated so that the walk signal is not directly across the street because
otherwise the pedestrian may just try to go all the way across in one step.
Slide title: Detail 2
You do have to have the fence to force pedestrians to walk to the right so they can push
the second button and stop traffic coming from their right.
Slide title: Included in current 2009 MUTCD
Now, the next device I want to talk about is the HAWK signal, it’s called the pedestrian
hybrid beacon. It was initially developed in Tucson for use on high volume, high speed
roadways when a full signal was not warranted. This also is included in the 2009
Slide title: Drivers see Hybrid Beacon/Peds see Pedhead
This is what a driver sees, just a blank signal when there’s no pedestrian there.
Pedestrians see a red hand when the button has not been activated.
Slide title: Hybrid Beacon Sequence
I’m not sure if this is flashing on your screen. After the button is pushed, it goes to a
flashing yellow in number 2, and then a steady yellow in number 3 and there’s still a
hand message to the pedestrian, number 4 now the driver sees the two red signals and the
pedestrian gets a walk signal with time enough for the pedestrian to get to the island, then
it goes to the flashing red, the wig wag, for the motorist and the pedestrian gets the
flashing hand. For motorists it means you’ve got to stop but if it’s clear of pedestrians
then you can stop and proceed. Then it goes back to the blank out and the red hand. So
it’s really a different signal sequence than normal pedestrian signals.
Slide title: Over & Undercrossings
OK, we’re kind of on the last stage. I’m going to talk a little bit about overpasses and
Slide title: In theory, grade separation = no conflicts
You know in theory, grade separation should result in no conflicts right? Well not exactly.
Slide title: In reality, pedestrians often ignore structures placing themselves in
What often happens is in reality, pedestrians often ignore the overpass or underpass, they
may be crossing at street level when it’s not fit to do so placing themselves in greater
danger. As you can see here one pedestrian in the street, one just waiting to come out.
Slide title: Sometimes fences are needed to direct users
Sometimes communities may put up fences to keep people from crossing then pedestrians
cut the fences or climb over the fences and this doesn’t work very well.
Slide title: Grade separation is more useful for purposes beyond imply crossing
from sidewalk to sidewalk
So basically grade separation is most useful for purposes beyond simply crossing from
one side of the street to the other such as to connect buildings in urban areas, to connect
totally different land uses, to cross freeways, or cross major roads connecting to light rail
Slide title: Overcrossings are expensive because of their height, which requires long
It’s very expensive, particularly as you can see here (image of ramp zoomed) with the
long ramps that are required to meet ADA requirements. Overpasses are very expensive
Slide title: Undercrossings require generous dimensions to be attractive
Now undercrossings also have to be designed properly so that people will use them.
Pedestrians have to see the light at the end of the tunnel quite literally.
Slide title: Undercrossing must not intimidate potential user
You can see here one that is not designed very well, it is quite intimidating. And you can
see the photograph of this pedestrian who is not too happy as she came out of the tunnel
with the look on her face.
Slide title: Elevated roadway allows open, airy undercrossing
So here’s an example of an elevated roadway actually on a university campus, University
of Colorado, where it’s very attractive, the crossing itself is inviting, it’s very well lit with
natural sunlight, attractive.
Slide title: Undercrossings work best if well lit & attractive
This gentleman is stopping to admire the artwork. So if done right, undercrossings can
work. You can see this one even has a skylight over it (image of skylight appears) to get
natural light during the daytime.
Slide title: Over/undercrossings should be a last resort
Overpasses/underpasses we’re saying should be a last resort because they’re so expensive,
try other options first. Because they add direction of travel – who wants to climb a long
ramp or even stairs to get on an overpass when they could cross at street level. When are
they useful? To connect different land uses separated by a major highway like a freeway
or interstate. How can you increase their effectiveness? Well, by providing more of a
direct route, more security – but it is expensive, it’s a very expensive option.
Slide title: Crossing treatments cost comparison
So here’s a summary of some of our different devices we’ve talked about with cost and
effectiveness. Signing is fairly low cost, but you’re probably not going to solve a major
safety problem with signing. High visibility crosswalks are a little better, a little more
costly. Advance stop bars have some fairly promising outcomes based on the research
we’ve seen so far. Illumination can benefit pedestrians, certainly where pedestrians are
crossing at night. Raised median islands are a really good investment to improve
pedestrian safety particularly where crashes are happening or crossing 4, 5, 6 lane
roadways. Traffic signals – more expensive. If they’re warranted, they might be an
appropriate solution in some cases. Overpasses/undercrossings are very expensive and
again a last resort. Certainly choosing the proper location of one or more of these devices
is priceless. And that’s the key, don’t just pick one device and say where can I put this
device? Go in and analyze each problem and figure what is the best solution.
Slide title: “Right design invites right use”
I’ll sort of this part of it on engineering with saying the “right design invites right use.” If
people are doing things that look dangerous, go look at the site and see how the road is
designed. There are things that can be done to the roadway environment to make it more
logical, safer, and so pedestrians and motorists can operate in a safer manner. There’s
often times we design wide streets and wonder why people were speeding. It’s because
we designed them for high speeds.
Slide title: (No title, image of woman and children)
And then, I want to add that many pedestrian crashes cannot be prevented by engineering
measures alone. Many pedestrian crashes are the result of erratic behavior by motorists or
pedestrians or both, drunk drivers, drivers on cell phones, pedestrians not paying
attention. So good pedestrian behavior and driver behavior need to start early. Certainly
parents and teachers teaching children,
Slide title: Education: Transit Riders
educating adults and seniors. These are examples of different kinds of educational posters
that were put on buses in Miami Dade County. Each of the six posters done in sequence
over a several month period helping to educate pedestrians in Spanish, English, and
Haitian Creole on sort of the safe ways to cross the street at night, at intersections, at
midblock, on and off buses, things of that type.
Slide title: Education: The Elderly
Here’s an example of some of the educational measures from the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration in English and Spanish aimed at older, Hispanic
Slide title: Driver Education & Enforcement
Certainly it’s important that we provide appropriate driver education and enforcement.
This kind of shows an enforcement project in Miami Dade County as part of this project
we were involved with, Miami Dade pedestrian demo study, and it was a really important
ingredient in reducing pedestrian crashes along certain corridors in South Florida. So
really, there’s a lot we can do with engineering but we can’t stop there. You have to also
think about the education and enforcement.
Slide title: Questions?
So we can put all these different ideas together and try to make the best solution for the
site, then we have a chance to make things safer for pedestrians. So Jeremy with that I’ll
turn it back over to you.
Alright Charlie, thank you very much. We had a couple of minutes with a technical glitch
so we’re just about at the end of our time but we’re going to go over a little bit, about 10
minutes of questions here. I think we were saved because we had a computer here that is
running on wireless and the network connection went down to the rest of the computers
here in our office so thanks to wireless today we kept going. Sorry for that pause earlier.
We’re going to take a quick look at your questions and start from the top.
Our first question is Do curb extensions lose effectiveness if there are bike lanes present?
Good question. Those have to be done carefully. Think about the road user for that given
roadway. I’ve seen some designs that do incorporate bike lanes with curb extensions but
you certainly need to pick the curb extension design that doesn’t infringe on the bike lane.
So there are ways to do those designs and we could probably find some good examples of
some design plans from cities like Seattle and Portland that have shown how to do this
properly. So that’s something we could maybe include in a follow up to this.
Absolutely. The next question is Do you have experience with midblock crosswalks on
major urban arterials with speeds of 40-50 mph and three or more lanes of traffic in each
direction separated by a wide median? Can you give some recommendations?
Yes, that’s a good one. In fact that is a very similar situation to what I showed you from
the hybrid pedestrian signal, the HAWK signal that they’re using in Tucson. I’d say that
there are probably again two candidates of all the different treatments we talked about. If
you’re going to have a relatively safe pedestrian crossing on this multilane, high speed,
high volume – those are pretty high speeds. It really kind of boils down to only one or
two different options it seems from what I’ve seen in the research and the guidelines and
that would be to determine whether a full blown traffic signal is warranted and possibly
the HAWK signal, the pedestrian beacon. Again, there are criteria for warrants in the new
MUTCD that should be looked at along with the full traffic signal warrants to see
whether the situation you’re describing would meet the warrants of the pedestrian hybrid
signal and/or full signalization. But I would not recommend in that situation just putting
paint or not just paint with advanced warning signs because with those high speeds at 40-
50 mph it really is going to take a lot for vehicles to come to a complete stop. So we
really need to be looking at full signalization or possibly the pedestrian HAWK signal.
Thanks Charlie. So its winter time and we have a good question here Can you talk about
treatments for environments prone to significant snow and ice?
Yeah, good question. I lived in Michigan 7 years and we had our share of that. Yeah, I
mean that creates all kinds of problems – certainly at the crossings – but the sidewalks
themselves. In snow belt states, Michigan where I lived, Minnesota, Maine, whatever,
some agencies have some fairly good policies on snow removal on sidewalks and on
pedestrian crossings. Again that's something we ought to do a little bit of searching to
find some good examples of case studies of how some agencies are handling that.
Certainly snow removal on pedestrian facilities needs to get priority, and not just
removing snow on streets and dumping the snow on the sidewalks and on the pedestrian
Thank you Charlie. There’s a question about the HAWKs – Why are pedestrian hybrid
beacons, the HAWK, better than installation of a traditional signal that is only activated
when called by the pedestrian?
Ok, good question. There are probably about three different answers to that. Number 1,
the HAWK signal, the way that it’s timed, is first of its less expensive the way it’s been
used so far because there’s not signalization on the side street. So it’s a less expensive
traffic signal. Number 2, it has a signal sequence that reduces motorist delay compared to
some traditional traffic signals. Number 3, there’s another benefit to it – and I’m trying to
think of the version I showed you. A lot of the HAWK signals that have been installed
more recently in Tucson are very visible not only from the large signal heads but also
they have some supplemental signing that says crosswalk and stop for pedestrians. So
that in itself makes that crossing more visible to motorists, in fact some of the yielding
behavior of data we collected and also collected by the Texas Transportation Institute of
these devices shows that about 95% of motorists will actually stop at a red light at one of
these HAWKs, whereas a lower percentage will stop at a red light for a standard
pedestrian signal believe it or not. So it actually has higher compliance, in fact the TTI
study found that about a 60% reduction in pedestrian crashes compared before and after
these HAWKs were installed where there’d previously been in overhead warning sign. So
more effective, less delay, less costly.
You showed us the new pedestrian crosswalk ahead sign, now Is this crosswalk ahead
sign required for unsignalized crossings and does the placement of a crosswalk ahead
sign vary depending on posted speed?
Good question. First answer, it’s not a required sign at all unsignalized crossings. The
MUTCD, I was just looking at the wording this morning again, it does give a fair amount
of discretion to the engineer on when and where to use these. I think the second part of
that was the placement of it, does it depend on the speed limit? And the answer would be
generally yes. There’s a section of the MUTCD that does give recommended distances
for the advanced signing based on speed limits, so yes.
Ok, let’s take one more question here. This one’s interesting. How do you get state
highway departments, who are used to a most cars in the least time mindset, come to the
local municipality’s point of view that bike/ped safety should be paramount?
Oh- good question. This is an issue that a lot of local agencies have been facing. I would
start out by saying that I think that there’s a real value in training and education,
particularly to engineers and planners who may not be enlightened so to speak with
understanding the need for safe pedestrian facilities. I would add that there are a couple
things to keep in mind. Number 1, not only are some of these devices in the MUTCD and
in the AASHTO pedestrian guide – so AASHTO promotes some of these things and the
Federal Highway Administration – but many of these states that are not promoting safe
pedestrian crossings may have some of their own guidelines that may require or
recommend some of these pedestrian treatments. If they don’t, that’s something that
needs to be looked at.
But, there’s also training – in fact, I’ll use this as a commercial opportunity – but there
are training courses that are offered by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center,
from Federal Highway Administration, several courses to try to educate people on the
value of providing for pedestrians and better ways to do that. We basically teach stuff
that’s right out of the AASHTO guidelines, MUTCD, the latest research, best practices.
One of the courses is called Designing for Pedestrian Safety – in fact most of the slides
I’ve used here today are taken from that course and modified. That course is aimed at
engineers, planners, as well as educators, health professionals, police.
We have another course called How to Develop a Pedestrian Safety Action Plan. It’s sort
of a more general course that talks about strategies for how you get funding to make
pedestrian improvements, how you analyze data to identify pedestrian crash and safety
problems, how you select countermeasures, what are some of the details of the
engineering, education, and enforcement, and sort of put it all together in a package. In
fact, that course recommends that each state and local agency develop there own unique
pedestrian safety action plan. So that’s a two day course.
We have a three day combined course that sort of combine’s information from those two
two-day courses. And each of those involves one or two in field workshop where you
look at a site, come up with recommended changes in the design or the signal timing or
the roadway design or policies that agency has. Then there’s another course that’s a one-
day course it’s called Creating Livable Communities Through Public Involvement. That
course is really the first one that we developed that is directed more at advocates, at
health professionals, and at the business leaders or developers in a community. So it
brings those folks together with engineers and planners to sort of talk about how the
groups can work together more effectively because many times we want the same goals
even though we have different ways to go about getting them. So anyway, if you’re
interested in hearing more about the training, actually we have some details on our
website www.walking.org/training. Where you can just scroll down to the cover page and
click on the courses, it’s got a link to those, it tells you all about the courses. If you’re
interested in finding out more, get in touch with either Jeremy or myself, respond to
through the website, and we’ll call and we can talk about sort of what course might be
appropriate for your agency.
OK, how about one more question? It looks interesting – sorry we’re keeping everyone
over time but there are so many great questions that everyone asked that we just never
had a chance to get to. This one comes from Virginia DOT. Are there any studies on in-
pavement flashing beacons and what was the outcome?
Yes. I knew I was going to get that question, but thank you Virginia. There are a few
studies done on that, in fact I just had one of our researchers do a summary on the
research that was done on in-pavement flashing lights. First let me tell you that I checked
this morning to see if in-pavement flashing lights were still in the new manual, it is, its
under the traffic signal section of all things because the beacon is considered a signal. So
it is still an allowable device and there has been a limited amount of research that has
looked at things like conducting surveys to pedestrians liking in pavement flashing lights,
looking at conflicts and the distance away that motorists yield to pedestrians in
crosswalks with those. Without spending two hours discussing it, Jeremy wouldn’t let me
do that, but basically there are some mixed results. We had certainly seen some evidence
that there have been some maintenance issues with some of them – that they’re installed
and they break and they don’t work very well or they have to undergo regular
maintenance work. So there are the installation costs – well you can look at the prices –
but it’s not insignificant. And then there are potential maintenance issues with some
devices, I’m not saying with all.
The effectiveness has not been looked at in terms of pedestrian crashes. It has been
looked at in terms of behaviors and the results are very mixed. If anybody wants to see
kind of a summary of the research on in-pavement flashing lights it was done by Libby
Thomas of our group. I think it’s a very fair, balanced analysis of what we know about
in-pavement flashing lights. We’ll be glad to link that article online as well.
Ok, I guess that’s all the time we do have for questions today. We ran a little over. Thank
you so much for sending all the questions that you do have, there are lots of great ones
unanswered unfortunately. If we didn’t get to your question today and there’s something
that you’d really like to find out more, don’t hesitate to contact us. My email address is
email@example.com and you can call me at (919) 843-4859.
Before we end, I want to point you to some related resources compiled and produced by
On the engineering section of the web site www.walkinginfo.org/engineering/ we
describe a wide range of engineering solutions to improve the quality of the
pedestrian network, including Roadway and Pedestrian Facility Design, Street
Crossings, and Traffic calming
You can browse a selection of FAQs developed by PBIC by the subject heading
And, PBIC offers 2- and 3-day training courses on Designing and Planning for
Pedestrian Safety, intended to help state and local transportation professionals
address pedestrian safety issues through design and engineering solutions. See
http://www.walkinginfo.org/training for full details. Charlie is actually your
contact for these great trainings.
- I want to remind you that you will be able to access a recording and transcript of toda y’s
program, as well as view a PDF copy of the slide presentation at
-On this page you also will be able to register for the next Livable Communities Webinar,
“Community Approaches to Pedestrian Safety Education,” scheduled for Thursday,
March 18 from 2PM to 3:30PM, E.T.with Dr. Gillian Hotz and David Parisi. The link to
register for both of these webinars can be found at walkinginfo.org/webinars.
-Finally, I want to remind you that a very brief survey will appear once the webinar is
ended. Again, we very appreciate you taking a moment to complete it.
-Thank you again to our speaker Charlie Zegeer, and thanks to all of you for attending
today’s PBIC Livable Communities Webinar.