FHWA Course on Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation
LESSON 15: PEDESTRIAN ACCOMMODATIONS
AT INTERSECTIONS (INSTRUCTOR'S NOTES)
Upon completion of this lesson,
students will be able to:
- Describe the major issues related to safely accommodating pedestrians
- Explain when, where, and how to use crosswalks.
- Explain how to use curb bulbs to design safe intersections for pedestrians.
- Explain how to use pedestrian signals.
- Explain how to use pedestrian refuge islands.
Review the photographs that
the students took of the four urban intersections. Ask the class to
critique the design of the intersections in terms of their pedestrian-friendliness.
Present and explain the five
lesson goals listed above (V-15-1).
Outline the presentation
of the lecture (V-15-2).
Tell the class about general
design principles that make for safer intersections for pedestrians
Discuss the effective use
of crosswalks (V-15-4).
Discuss the use of curb bulbs
Discuss the use of pedestrian
signals at intersections (V-15-6 and V-15-7).
Discuss the use of pedestrian
refuge islands (V-15-8 through V-15-10).
Show examples (e.g., slides,
videotape) of the different design practices cited in the text.
Use the activity provided
in the Student's Guide.
Provide comment and feedback
to the class as appropriate.
Assign reading for Lesson 16.
Provide a summary of Lesson 15 (V-15-11).
Ask the students to complete the exercise at the end of Lesson 15 in
their workbooks. The exercise is reprinted below for your convenience.
15.7 Exercise: Urban Intersections
The need to develop and detail pedestrian intersection improvements in
a manner that can be constructed within the normal field of highway construction
is an extremely important issue. Pedestrian accommodations at intersections
include both traffic signal and pavement marking improvements. An exercise
covering pavement marking issues was previously addressed in Exercise
14.8. With regard to signalization at intersections, pedestrian improvements
typically include pedestrian signals, pedestrian push buttons, conduit/wiring,
mounting brackets, and pedestrian poles. Traffic signal improvements
are specified through a detailed system of standard drawings, specifications,
and bid item numbers. An example plan view drawing demonstrating this
method for specifying traffic signal improvements using Georgia Department
of Transportation standards is provided for reference in Figure 15-1.
Develop a plan to install pedestrian signals and related improvements
for an intersection in your community. The plan should be developed using
nomenclature and reference standards from your State DOT. A list of standard
drawings pertaining to pedestrian facility construction from Caltrans
(California Department of Transportation) was previously provided in Exercise
14.8. If possible, you should obtain an intersection drawing from your
local traffic engineering department. This drawing typically shows the
location of existing roadway features, travel lanes, signal equipment,
and utilities. In addition to preparing a plan of proposed improvements,
develop an estimate of quantities needed for each construction item and
prepare an engineer's construction cost estimate. You will need to utilize
the following resources:
- Plan view drawing of local intersection.
- Standard drawings (periodically published document).
- Standard specifications (periodically published document).
- Bid item numbers (typically a published list).
Students should conduct this exercise in as much detail as possible. If this
exercise is conducted on a conceptual level only, the effectiveness of this
activity will be significantly reduced. The objective is to help the student
understand to what degree needed improvements for pedestrians can be addressed
within the existing system of standards for roadway construction and traffic
signal installation. It is also intended that students will gain an appreciation
for the level of detail and exacting form that engineering plans take in the
real world of public works construction projects.
- Describe issues related to accommodating pedestrians at intersections
- Explain how to use crosswalks
- Explain how to use curb bulbs
- Explain how to use pedestrian signals
- Explain how to use pedestrian refuge islands
- General design principles that make safer intersections
- Use of crosswalks
- Use of curb bulbs
- Use of pedestrian signals
- Use of pedestrian refuge islands
Intersection Design Principles:
- Encourage crossing at corners
- Make pedestrians visible
- Make the vehicular traffic visible to pedestrians
- Make pedestrian actions predictable
- Ease movement to street level
- Minimize the time pedestrians are in the road
- Slow vehicular traffic
Use of Crosswalks:
- Control of pedestrian movements
- Promote a connected pedestrian network
- Marking types
Use of Curb Bulbs:
- Shortens pedestrian crossing distance
- Shortens pedestrian signal phase
- Allows pedestrians to see the traffic
- Allows traffic to see the pedestrians
Use of Pedestrian Signals:
- Pedestrian walking speeds
- If delay > 30 seconds, pedestrians will cross on their own
- Make the pedestrian signal heads visible from the crosswalks
- Place pushbuttons near curb ramps
Use of pedestrian signals (continued):
- Use pushbuttons with indicator lights (like an elevator call button)
- Place button boxes in medians
- Place pedestrian signal heads on channelized islands
- Provide audible signals where necessary
- Walk/Don't Walk phases
Use of Pedestrian Refuge Islands:
- Street width
- Vehicular volumes
- Pedestrian volumes
- Signal timing
- Roadway alignment
Design of Pedestrian Refuge Islands:
- Cut-through ramps
- Dimensions (minimum)
- 12 feet long
- 6 feet wide
- 50-square-foot area
- Highly visible approach nose
Design of Pedestrian Refuge Islands (continued):
- Pedestrian pushbuttons
- Proper signing
- Guidestrips for the blind
- Barriers for controlling pedestrian movements
- Pedestrians can be accommodated even at wide, high-volume intersections
- There are a wide variety of design elements to effect good pedestrian
design at intersections
The FHWA Safety Office is continually developing new materials to assist states, localities and citizens in improving pedestrian and bicycle safety. The materials listed on this page were completed recently.
New Pedestrian Forum – Spring 2013
New Pedestrian Safer Journey 2013 (Revised)
Bicycle Road Safety Audit Guidelines and Prompt Lists
Proven Countermeasures for Pedestrian Safety
Spotlight on Pedestrian Safety
Promoting the Implementation of Proven Pedestrian Countermeasures
State Best Practice Policy for Medians
State Best Practice Policy for Shoulders and Walkways
Pedestrian Countermeasure Policy Best Practice Report
The State of Florida is developing a statewide Pedestrian Safety Action Plan. They have set up a project website that includes information about the project, workshop presentations and resources relating to pedestrian safety.
Evaluating Pedestrian Safety Countermeasures
Safety Benefits of Raised Medians and Pedestrian Refuge Areas: Brochure, Booklet
Safety Benefits of Walkways, Sidewalks, and Paved Shoulders: Brochure, Booklet
Pedestrian Safety Strategic Plan