Click for next page ( 28

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement

Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 27
27 CHAPTER 5 Findings From Surveys This chapter summarizes the findings from surveys used to pedestrian crossing treatments (in sum total) that range obtain information on pedestrian treatments as well as the from the inexpensive (e.g., pedestrian crossing flags or in- challenges of identifying and providing pedestrian treat- street pedestrian crossing signs) to just-as-expensive-as- ments, including traffic control signals. Survey techniques vehicle traffic signals (e.g., midblock pedestrian traffic were as follows: signals). Each agency by itself has not experimented with such a wide range of crossing treatments, but several agen- Focus groups of providers, cies have experimented enough to prefer a particular type Phone meetings with providers, of treatment to others. City transportation departments On-site interviews of providers, were more likely to use innovative or non-standard treat- A focus group of bus drivers, and ments than state transportation agencies. The state agen- On-street interviews of pedestrians. cies typically favored conservative, traditional approaches that could be more easily defended in tort or liability court Appendixes J and K contain details on how each of the sur- cases. veys was conducted. The observations are summarized below. There are no universal winners or losers, but treatment effectiveness does vary by street environment. For specific crossing treatments, no universal "winners" or "losers" Observations From Survey emerged from the site visits, focus groups, and interviews. of Providers Instead, the persons interviewed indicated that certain Several common themes appeared in the phone conversa- crossing treatments could be more effective than others in tions, focus groups, and interviews conducted by the research certain street environments with particular ranges of traffic team between December 2002 and June 2003. These themes characteristics. For example, several cities use crossing treat- fall into the following categories and are summarized in the ments with steady or flashing red signal displays on high- following sections: volume, high-speed roadways to achieve better motorist yielding in this high-risk street environment. These same Providing pedestrian crossing treatments, cities might also use basic crosswalk markings and signs on Experience with the pedestrian warrant for traffic signals, streets with low to moderate traffic speeds and volumes and because motorists are more likely to yield to pedestrians. Transit agency involvement with pedestrian crossings and traffic signals. Common themes in comments for specific types of treat- ments follow: Providing Pedestrian Crossing Steady or Flashing Red Signal Displays. Several cities use Treatments treatments with red signal displays on high-volume, high- The findings on providing pedestrian crossing treatments speed arterial streets. For example, the City of Tucson uses are summarized as follows: a steady and flashing red signal display on pedestrian acti- vation of their HAWK signals. The City of Los Angeles uses Agencies are installing a wide variety of treatments. The midblock pedestrian signals that display a flashing red sig- agencies interviewed have installed a wide variety of nal when activated. The Cities of Seattle and Portland use

OCR for page 27
28 intersection pedestrian signals that, when activated, display not mark" decision rather than a "mark versus more sub- a steady red signal on the major street and a Stop sign on stantial treatment" decision. the minor street. In-Street Pedestrian Crossing Signs. Interest in in-street Flashing Beacons. Flashing amber beacons are being pedestrian crossing signs has been growing. They are installed with particular attention to pedestrian expecta- viewed as an appropriate treatment for lower-speed (30 tions. Many of the engineers interviewed noted that once mph [48 km/h] or less) roadways. The signs are used to some pedestrians press a pushbutton, they expect all vehi- remind drivers of their legal obligation with respect to cles to yield and thus they may be less cautious crossing the pedestrians in crosswalks. street. Several agencies are using passive detection by sen- Flags. Pedestrian crossing flags are also viewed as an sors instead of manual pushbuttons to detect waiting or appropriate treatment for lower-speed (35 mph [55 km/h] crossing pedestrians, but this passive detection requires or less) roadways. Salt Lake City, Utah, has 120 locations more resources for installation and maintenance. Also, with flags, and Kirkland, Washington, has several installa- most cities prefer manual pushbutton activation of flash- tions. Some of the other communities interviewed ques- ing amber beacons to continuously flashing beacons, tion the flags' effectiveness and replacement efforts and which traffic officials think eventually lose effectiveness. costs. The flags are to be picked up by a pedestrian and In-Roadway Warning Lights. Many cities have installed used to indicate the desire to cross the street. The pedes- in-roadway warning lights, but several cities were taking a trian is to place the flag in the holder when done crossing cautious approach. Several agencies were concerned about the roadway; however, sometimes flags are not returned. the visibility of in-roadway warning lights (absent any Cities with experience observe that the rate of disappear- additional overhead or side-mounted flashing beacons) in ance decreases after the treatment has been in place for a direct sunlight or in queued traffic. A few cities also men- while. Salt Lake City requires that neighborhood associa- tioned concerns about pedestrian expectations with pedes- tions or businesses "adopt" the crossing and maintain the trian activation or detection problems with passive supply of crossing flags. detection sensors. A few cities also mentioned that they did not want to jump on the "in-roadway lights bandwagon" Experience with the Pedestrian Warrant and that these devices might be an engineering fad that for Traffic Signals slowly falls out of favor after more extensive installations. Median Refuge Islands. Nearly all cities interviewed indi- Comments on experiences with the pedestrian warrants cated that, where possible to install, a median refuge island follow. was almost always considered, either alone or in conjunc- tion with other treatments. Even the state DOTs, which The pedestrian volumes in the MUTCD warrant are too seemed to favor more traditional approaches, considered high to meet. The engineers who expressed concern about median refuge islands an effective treatment to be used the MUTCD pedestrian warrant unanimously agreed that wherever possible. One state transportation representative the required pedestrian volumes were too high to ade- did mention others' concerns about the crash-worthiness quately address many pedestrian crossing issues in their of curbed median refuge islands on high-speed streets. jurisdiction. To address their pedestrian issues, many engi- Advanced Stop/Yield Lines. Several cities interviewed are neers either installed crossing treatments that are less using advanced stop or yield lines (i.e., transverse trian- restrictive than traffic signals, modified the existing gles), typically placed between 30 and 40 ft (9 and 12 m) in MUTCD pedestrian warrant, or used a supplementary advance of the crosswalk markings. The advanced engineering analysis to justify a traffic signal installation. stop/yield lines were held in similar regard as median Cities' modifications to the existing MUTCD warrant refuge islands, in that they were being used as a standard might have merit. Some of the agencies developed new cri- design element with crosswalk markings alone or with teria for pedestrian signals to better address pedestrian other more substantial crossing treatments. accommodation issues in their respective jurisdictions. For Crosswalk Markings. Numerous cities indicated that they example, Redmond recently adopted an approach that use the 2002 FHWA guidelines on crosswalk markings (50) includes pedestrian volumes that are 80 percent of the val- to find out where to mark crosswalks as well as where to ues included in the MUTCD. Other cities incorporate provide more substantial pedestrian crossing treatments. reduction factors for different street environments or dif- Numerous cities also mentioned that they use much ferent pedestrian populations (e.g., school children, elderly greater care in selectively marking crosswalks than they pedestrians, and those with physical disabilities) and con- have in the past. A few engineers interviewed still interpret sider project demand or project transit ridership in their these recommendations as supporting a "mark versus do warrant analyses.