FHWA issues new guidance on pedestrian crossings

By Eric Sundquist

Despite many DOTs’ attention to complete streets, pedestrian fatalities are spiking nationwide. One problem is that, even with good sidewalks, in many places controlled crossings are widely spaced, and uncontrolled crossings can be quite dangerous.

FHWA’s Every Day Counts program has attacked this problem, last month releasing a clear and concise guide to improving midblock and other uncontrolled crossings. The guide lays out a systematic process for identifying and addressing hazards using several countermeasures:

  • Improved crosswalk visibility, including curb extension and/or signage
  • Raised crosswalk
  • Refuge island
  • Pedestrian hybrid beacon (aka HAWK signal)
  • Road diet

The guide discusses the applicability and effects of these measures, summarized in tables and text that are accessible to both professionals and interested citizens. For example, the table below shows countermeasure applicability by roadway capacity and speed limit.

Complementing the guide is a set of very readable two-page handouts on the countermeasures, which include such critical data as expected crash reductions and implementation costs. Still more resources can be found on the EDC project website.

Eric Sundquist is Director of SSTI.