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

Principal Investigator(s):

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


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

Project summary:

Stop-controlled intersections are the most common type of road geometry. The stop sign is the most common, clear, and important traffic control. For example, the current Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) states that a stop sign is warranted if the combined vehicular volume is greater than just 300 vph or if there is high pedestrian volume. The stop sign can also be the most violated, causing crashes among vehicles and between vehicles and pedestrians. Contrary to traffic lights or other control devices, drivers have a spectrum of stopping behaviors at stop signs--full stop, short stop, rolling stop, etc. Accompanying the stop sign in some cases are stop lines. According to the Minnesota MUTCD, stop lines are optional at stop-controlled intersections. Research on the effects that stop lines have on driver behavior is practically non-existent. Regardless, when citizens encounter an intersection where the stop sign is frequently violated, they often request that a stop line be installed. As described in NS458, although installing a stop line is not a big expense, maintaining thousands of stop lines just in the city of Edina is a major effort. This is especially true given that in Minnesota, traditional paint lane markings don't last longer than a couple of years. This project involves two studies: 1) a statistical study to estimate the crash reduction effect of stop lines and 2) a field study of driver behavior at locations with and without stop lines in order to test hypotheses concerning driver response. The field observations will fuel a matched case-control study to determine, among other factors, the role of stop lines in promoting safer driving behavior.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2018022
  • Start date: 09/2017
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Transportation Safety and Traffic Flow
  • Topics: Safety, Traffic operations