Assessing the Impact of Pedestrian-Activated Crossing Systems

Principal Investigator(s):

John Hourdos, Former Research Associate Professor, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering


  • Gary Davis, Professor, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering

Project summary:

Pedestrian-Activated Crossing (PAC) systems have been shown to have a generally positive impact on driver yield rates. However, there has been insufficient research on the effect PAC treatments have on pedestrian crash rates, and there is little guidance as to when and where each treatment should be used. This project estimated the effects of PACs on pedestrian crash rates using Monte Carlo simulation and examines the relationships between driver yield rates and a variety of treatments and site designs by conducting an observational study using video data from 34 locations. The simulation outcomes suggests that while the percentage of yielding drivers might be a useful indicator of pedestrian level of service, it is less helpful as safety surrogate. This could be because a driver?s yielding to a pedestrian, as observed in field studies, might not be the same behavior as a driver attempting to stop during a vehicle/pedestrian conflict. The observational study showed that the number of lanes to cross at a crossing is positively correlated with the rate at which pedestrians activated the system, but it is not correlated with the delay. Additionally, the study showed that the effect of PAC systems is most pronounced at sites with a higher number of movements conflicting with the crossing or poor visibility from upstream without signs warning drivers of an upcoming crosswalk.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2016031
  • Start date: 11/2015
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Transportation Safety and Traffic Flow
  • Topics: Pedestrian, Safety, Traffic operations

Reports or Products: