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Recessed stop lines

At signalized intersections, the vehicle stop line can be moved further back from the pedestrian crosswalk for an improved factor of safety and for improved visibility of pedestrians. In some places the stop line has been moved back by 5 to 10 m (15 to 30 feet) relative to the marked crosswalk with considerable safety benefits for pedestrians.

The recessed stop lines allow pedestrians and drivers to have a clearer view of each other and more time in which to assess each other’s intentions. The effectiveness of this tool depends upon whether motorists are likely to obey the stop line, which varies from place to place.

Recessed stop lines are also applicable for non-signalized crosswalks on multi-lane roads to ensure that drivers in all lanes have a clear view of a crossing pedestrian.

Recessed stop lines are used at this signalized mid-block crossing to improve sight distances and to give the motorist who initially fails to see the crosswalk more time to stop. The cyclist can advance ahead which aids in cyclist safety, particularly with right-turning motorists.

The material provided on this page is from the FHWA publication "Pedestrian Facilities User Guide." This guide is currently under review by practicioners and others in the field. Subsequently, the material provided on this page is subject to change in the future.

traffic signals

upgrade / modify pedestrian signal timing

traffic signal enhancements

pedestrian signals

right turn on red

recessed stop lines

add / modify signing


• Improve visibility of pedestrians to motorists.

• Allow pedestrians to advance in a crosswalk before motor vehicles turn.


• Effectiveness depends on motorists compliance with the marked stop line.

• If placed too far in advance of the crosswalk, motorists may ignore the line.

• In some locations, a wider crosswalk may be an effective alternative.

Estimated Cost:

Low. There is no extra cost when the recessed stop line is installed on new paving or as part of repaving projects. A “stop here” sign can be used to supplement the recessed stop line.

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