U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
NCHRP Report 500 / Volume 5: A Guide for Addressing Unsignalized Intersection Collisions
Unsignalized intersections that experience crashes involving pedestrians and/or bicyclists with motor vehicles or that have the potential for such crashes.
Photos by: FHWA
Nearly one-third of all pedestrian-related crashes occur at or within 50 feet of an intersection. Of these, 30% involve a turning vehicle. Another 22% of pedestrian crashes involve a pedestrian either running across the intersection or darting out in front of a vehicle whose view was blocked just prior to the impact. Finally, 16% of these intersection-related crashes occur because of a driver violation (e.g., failure to yield right-of-way). Improvements to pedestrian facilities (short of grade separation) that may reduce conflicts between motorists and nonmotorists include:
Some of the problems that bicyclists face at intersections include high traffic volumes and speeds and lack of space for bicyclists. Possible improvement projects include:
Further details may be found in the implementation guide (NCHRP Report 500, Volume 10) for addressing pedestrian crashes. FHWA maintains a site that provides detailed information on pedestrian crash countermeasures at intersections. (http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov)
Get the appropriate agencies to look at pedestrian and bicycle facilities from a more systematic point of view. That is, rather than making improvements where problems occur, the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists should be anticipated during the design of other intersection improvements, and appropriate improvements should be incorporated in the design before such problems occur. It is desirable to involve groups representing pedestrians and bicyclists in the early stages of a program's development.
Improving pedestrian and bicycle facilities is not a one-time process. The facilities also need to be properly maintained. For example, some issues are often overlooked—a missing or broken section of sidewalk or a construction zone that forces pedestrians to walk in a traffic lane.
The implementation time for improvements to pedestrian and bicycle facilities is highly variable.
The cost of improvements to pedestrian and bicycle facilities is highly variable.
VARIES: It is expected that improvements to pedestrian and bicycle facilities at unsignalized intersections will reduce the number of crashes between motorists and nonmotorists. Quantitative estimates of effectiveness may exist for some of the countermeasures that may be employed, but not for others. See http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/safer journey/Library/matrix.htm for further details.
One study concluded that installing pedestrian crossings at rural locations can reduce pedestrian crashes by 60%. Another study indicated that bicycle crashes can be reduced by up to 36% by providing bicycle lanes.
Strategies to reduce pedestrian and bicycle crashes are compatible with most other strategies for improving safety at unsignalized intersections.
State and local highway agencies and other local agencies should ensure that policies for new roadway construction include pedestrian and bicycle considerations (e.g., provision of sidewalks or shoulders).
For more details on this and other countermeasures: http://safety.transportation.org
For more information contact:
FHWA Office of Safety Design
E71, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE
Washington, D.C. 20590
FHWA Resource Center – Safety and Design Team
19900 Governor's Drive, Suite 301
Olympia Fields, IL 60461