Motorist Yielding to Pedestrians at Unsignalized Intersections

Findings from a National Study on Improving Pedestrian Safety

Transportation Research Board

"This paper describes the evaluation of engineering treatments that can be used to improve the safety of pedestrians crossing in marked crosswalks on busy arterial streets. The research team collected extensive data at 42 study sites in different regions of the country to gauge the effectiveness (as measured by motorist yielding/stopping) of various engineering treatments. Motorist yielding data was collected for crossing pedestrians from the general population as well as staged crossings by the research team. In preliminary analyses, the treatments were grouped into three categories based upon function and design: 1) red signal or beacon devices; 2) "active when present" devices; and, 3) enhanced and/or high-visibility treatments. The authors found the red signal or beacon devices to be the most effective, with yielding rates above 94 percent for all study sites. Other treatments had varying rates of motorist yielding, and it was shown that several variables (e.g., number of lanes and speed limit in particular) were statistically significant in predicting motorist yielding. Most of the treatments in the other two categories had statistically similar motorist yielding levels. An implementation matrix (currently being finalized by the research team) is recommended to assist in selecting appropriate crossing treatments for streets with known road widths, traffic volumes, and pedestrian volumes. The authors also recommend the adoption of red signal or beacon devices (e.g., midblock signals, half signals, HAWK) into the engineer's toolbox to improve pedestrian crossing safety along busy arterial streets."

Filed in: Engineering, Enforcement, Crashes and Safety

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