Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Stop Lines in Increasing the Safety of Stop-Controlled Intersections

July 2020

Report no. MnDOT 2020-17

Stop lines are ubiquitous, but do they really impact intersection safety? Prior to this project, no long-term studies on intersection safety with stop lines had been completed. This project was developed with two parallel research efforts: a safety study and an observational study. The safety study was developed to address stop lines' effects over the long term and used crash data from five cities' stop-controlled intersections to perform regression and see if stop lines actually influenced safety. The observational study was developed to determine if stop lines have an effect on driver behavior at intersections and to look at where drivers were stopping. Video was collected at 16 different intersections before and after a stop line was painted. The safety study and observational study showed that stop lines did not have a significant impact on driver behavior or intersection safety, but other factors like speed limits and sight distance did. Implications for practice include carefully examining sight distance at the intended stopping point to ensure drivers have adequate sight distance in both directions. If sight distance is not adequate, moving the intended stop location or reconsidering whether the intersection should have signage -- stop or yield -- or be uncontrolled could yield better driver compliance and safety.

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