Crosswalk Marking Field Visibility Study

Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

The objective of this study was to investigate the relative daytime and nighttime visibility of three crosswalk marking patterns: transverse lines, continental, and bar pairs.

Crosswalk markings provide guidance for pedestrians crossing roadways by defining and delineating paths on approaches. These markings are used in conjunction with signs and other measures to alert road users to a designated pedestrian crossing point. Part 3 of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) contains basic information about crosswalk markings. Because some States adopt their own supplement or manual on traffic control devices and some develop policies and practices for subjects not discussed in the MUTCD, differences in markings occur among States, cities, and other jurisdictions.

While greater emphasis has recently been placed on researching pedestrian treatments, there is insufficient research to identify the relative visibility and driver behavior effects of the many different styles and patterns of crosswalk markings being used in the United States and abroad. Previous studies focused on whether the presence of the markings (rather than a specific pattern) was effective. The lack of knowledge of the relative visibility of different marking patterns has inhibited the development of a consensus on whether more uniformity is needed in the form of tighter MUTCD standards or more comprehensive guidance on crosswalk markings.

Filed in: Engineering, Crashes and Safety

Back to Search Results