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FHWA Home / Safety / Pedestrian & Bicycle / FHWA Course on Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation

FHWA Course on Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation

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Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the major issues related to safely accommodating pedestrians at intersections.
  2. Explain when, where, and how to use crosswalks.
  3. Explain how to use curb bulbs to design safe intersections for pedestrians.
  4. Explain how to use pedestrian signals.
  5. 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).

Information Presentation:



Information Sequence

Outline the presentation of the lecture (V-15-2).


Tell the class about general design principles that make for safer intersections for pedestrians (V-15-3).

Discuss the effective use of crosswalks (V-15-4).

Discuss the use of curb bulbs (V-15-5).

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.

Student Participation:




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).

Solution Commentary

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.

Lesson Objectives:

Lesson Outline:

Intersection Design Principles:

Use of Crosswalks:

Use of Curb Bulbs:

Use of Pedestrian Signals:

Use of pedestrian signals (continued):

Use of Pedestrian Refuge Islands:

Design of Pedestrian Refuge Islands:

Design of Pedestrian Refuge Islands (continued):

Lesson Summary:


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Page last modified on February 1, 2013
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