Marked crosswalks indicate optimal or preferred locations for pedestrians to cross and help designate right-of-way for motorists to yield to pedestrians. Crosswalks are often installed at signalized intersections and other selected locations. Various crosswalk marking patterns are given in the MUTCD.5 Marked crosswalks are desirable at some high pedestrian volume locations (often in conjunction with other measures) to guide pedestrians along a preferred walking path. In some cases, they can be raised and should often be installed in conjunction with other enhancements that physically reinforce crosswalks and reduce vehicle speeds. It is also sometimes useful to supplement crosswalk markings with warning signs for motorists. At some locations, signs can get “lost” in visual clutter, so care must be taken in placement.
Pedestrians are sensitive to out-of-the-way travel, and reasonable accommodation should be made to make crossings both convenient and safe at locations with adequate visibility.
Recommended guidelines and priorities for crosswalk installation at controlled locations are given in Appendix D. These guidelines are based on a major study of 1,000 marked crosswalks and 1,000 unmarked crossings in 30 U.S. cities. Recommendations are also given for providing other pedestrian crossing enhancements at uncontrolled locations with and without a marked crosswalk.6
It is important to ensure that crosswalk markings are visible to motorists, particularly at night. Crosswalks should not be slippery, create tripping hazards, or be difficult to traverse by those with diminished mobility or visual capabilities. Granite and cobblestones are examples of materials that are aesthetically pleasing, but may become slippery when wet or be difficult to cross by pedestrians who are blind or using wheelchairs. One of the best materials for marking crosswalks is inlay tape, which is installed on new or repaved streets. It is highly reflective, long-lasting, and slip-resistant, and does not require a high level of maintenance. Although initially more costly than paint, both inlay tape and thermoplastic are more cost-effective in the long run. Inlay tape is recommended for new and resurfaced pavement, while thermoplastic may be a better option on rougher pavement surfaces. Both inlay tape and thermoplastic are more visible and less slippery than paint when wet.