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design and engineeringthe walking environment

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Marked crosswalks and enhancements

Marked crosswalks indicate locations for pedestrians to cross and signify to motorists to yield to them. Crosswalks are often installed at signalized intersections and other selecdted locations. Various crosswalk marking patterns are given in the MUTCD.2 Marked crosswalks are desirable at high pedestrian volume locations to guide pedestrians along a preferred walking path. They can be raised or installed in conjunction with other enhancements that physically reinforce crosswalks and reduce vehicle speeds. It is also useful to supplement crosswalk markings with warning signs. In some locations, signs can get "lost” in visual clutter so care must be taken in placement. The most effective approach combines engineering treatments with enforcement and education.

Pedestrians are sensitive to out-of-the-way travel, and reasonable accommodation should be made to make crossings both convenient and at safe locations with adequate visibility. Recommended guidelines for crosswalk installation at controlled locations are given in Appendix C. These guidelines are based on a major study of 1000 marked crosswalks and 1000 unmarked crossings in 30 US cities.3

Crosswalk materials

It is important to ensure that crosswalks are visible to motorists, particularly at night. Crosswalks should not be slippery or create trip hazards. Even though brick, granite, or cobblestones are aesthetically appealing materials, they are generally not appropriate for crosswalks. The best material today for marking crosswalks is inlay tape which is installed with new or repaved streets. It is highly reflective, long lasting, slip-resistant and does not require maintenance. Although initially more costly, inlay tape is more cost-effective than paint or thermoplastic in the long run. Thermoplastic is also superior to paint, being longer lasting and more visible.

The “ladder” pattern shown above is more visible to motorists and requires less maintenance if painted to allow the tires of motor vehicles to track between the paint lines.

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.

sidewalks or walkways

street furniture

curb ramps

marked crosswalks and enhancements

transit stop treatments

roadway lighting improvements

pedestrian overpasses / underpasses


• Warn motorists to expect pedestrians crossing.

• Indicate preferred crossing locations.


• Crosswalk locations should be convenient for pedestrian access.

• Crosswalk markings alone are unlikely to significantly affect pedestrian safety. Ideally, crosswalks should be done in conjunction with other measures such as curb extensions to improve the safety of a pedestrian crossing.

Estimated Cost:

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

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