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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-05-106
Date: July 2006

Lesson 11: Pedestrian Design at Intersections

Use of colored crosswalks and median refuges makes this intersection more pedestrian-friendly. This is an aerial photograph of a wide intersection of a seven-lane major road with a four-lane minor road. Crosswalks are defined at each approach using colored paver stones, and refuge islands at the center of the major road make crossing the wide roadway less of a challenge.


Lesson Outline

  • Intersection design principles.
  • Purpose and design of crosswalks, curb ramps, technology, half-signals, curb extensions, pushbuttons, refuge islands, and roundabouts.

Intersection Design Principles

  • Encourage crossing at intersection corners.
  • Make pedestrians visible to traffic.
  • Make vehicular traffic visible to pedestrians.
  • Encourage predictable pedestrian actions.
  • Ease movement to street level.
  • Minimize crossing distance.
  • Slow vehicular traffic.

Reduced Visibility

Reduced visibility of pedestrians behind parked cars can create conflict. In this photo, an older man and woman stand at the front of a car parked on the side of the road and look to their left to scan for any cars coming from behind the row of parked cars.


Alternative Design

This figure has a "before" sketch of a 17.4-meter (58 ft) roadway with (from left to right) a lane for vertically-parked cars, two lanes of traffic, a bike lane, and a lane of parallel parking. The "after" figure has the same total lane width, but it also has curb extensions at the intersection on both sides of the roadway. The curb extensions come out to the end of the parking lanes but do not obstruct the two through lanes or the bike lane. The new distance the pedestrian would have to cross is 9.6 m (32 ft).


Use of Crosswalks

  • Purpose:
    – Control pedestrian movements.
    – Promote a connected pedestrian network.
    – Improve visibility of a crossing place.
  • Design Issues:
    – Location.
    – Marking types.
    – Lighting.
    – Maintenance.

Common Crosswalk Types

This figure has six different crosswalk patterns. The first, Solid, is a filled-in rectangle; the second, Standard, is two parallel lines running vertically; the third, Continental, has seven thick lines running horizontally; the fourth, Dashed, has two dashed lines parallel to each other running vertically; the fifth, Zebra, has two parallel lines running vertically with diagonal lines inside the outer two; and the sixth, Ladder, has two parallel lines running vertically and six thick lines running horizontally inside the other two (like a combination of the Standard and the Continental together).


Use of Curb Ramps

  • Purpose:
    – Provide access for wheelchair users, strollers, luggage, handcarts, etc.
  • Design Issues:
    – Location.
    – Slopes.
    – Flat landing area.
    – Obstructions in or near the ramp.
    – Width.

Curb Ramp Slopes

This illustration shows the recommended layout and dimensions for curb ramps at intersections. The flare to either side of the ramp has a maximum 10% grade, whereas the ramp grade maximum is 8.33%. A level landing is provided on the sidewalk at the top of the curb ramp, having dimensions of 1.5 meters (5 ft) square. A detectable warning is at the base of the ramp abutting the curb line, with dimensions of 1.2 meters (4 ft) wide (same width as curb ramp) by 600 mm (24 in) deep.


Slope and Counter Slope

This illustration shows the recommended layout and dimensions when the sidewalk is separated from the curb by a buffer area. The flare to either side of the ramp has a maximum 10% grade, whereas the ramp grade maximum is 8.33%. A level landing is provided on the sidewalk at the top of the curb ramp. A detectable warning is at the base of the ramp abutting the curb line, with dimensions of 1.2 meters (4 ft) wide (same width as curb ramp) by 600 mm (24 in) deep. The maximum superelevation for the street is shown as 5%. If the algebraic difference between the curb ramp and street exceeds 11%, then a 600 mm (24 in) level strip is required at the base of the curb ramp. The illustration also notes that this change angle between the curb ramp and street must be flush without a lip, raised joint, or gap.


Use of Crossing and Detection Technology

  • Purpose:
    – Provide visibility to crossing.
    – Encourage and assist pedestrian crossings.
  • Design Issues:
    – Which treatment to use (lighting, flags, green signs, flashing beacons, staggered pedestrian crossings, etc.) and where to use?

In-Roadway Warning Lights

The first example shows a person walking across a midblock crosswalk marked with thick bars running parallel to the road (a Continental style crosswalk). On the outside of the crosswalk, in-roadway warning lights face oncoming traffic in either direction and illuminate the boundaries of the crosswalk.

Second photo shows a view from the sky of a zebra crossing (two parallel lines running perpendicular to the roadway with diagonal lines inside the outer two) with in-roadway warning lights located on the outside of the crosswalk.


Use of Pedestrian Half-Signals

  • Purpose:
    – Assist pedestrian crossings on high-volume, unsignalized intersections along arterials.
  • Design Issues:
    – If delay > 30 seconds, pedestrians will cross on their own.
    – Adjust timing for pedestrian walking speeds.
    – Place pedestrian signal heads on channelized islands.
    – Provide audible signals where necessary.

Example of Half-Signal

This photo shows the intersection of a major roadway with a minor one and a continental-style crosswalk going across the major road. Above the major road is a span wire with two signal heads in each direction and a pedestrian sign to warn motorists of pedestrian presence.


Use of Curb Extensions

  • Purpose:
    – Shorten pedestrian crossing distance.
    – Shorten pedestrian signal phase.
    – Allow pedestrians to see the traffic better.
    – Allow traffic to see the pedestrians.
  • Design Issues:
    – Corner radius length.
    – How far to extend into the street?

Use of Signal Timing and Pushbuttons

  • Purpose:
    – Stop vehicular traffic and provide pedestrian crossing phase.
  • Design Issues:
    – Location (near ramps, in medians, etc.).
    – Lights (like an elevator call button) to indicate actuation of the pushbutton.
    – Quick response time to actuation.
    – WALK/DON'T WALK signal phase timing.

Pushbuttons

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Source: PBIC, www.pedbikeimages.org

Use of Pedestrian Refuge Islands

  • Purpose:
    – Provide a safe resting/waiting area for pedestrians.
    – Allow pedestrians to cross only one direction of traffic at a time.
  • Design Issues:
    – Accessible path through island.
    – Offset crosswalks to orient crossing pedestrians to oncoming traffic.
    – Minimum dimensions—1.8 meters (m) long by 3.7 m wide (12 feet (ft) long by 6 ft wide).
    – Highly visible approach nose.
    – Guide strips for the visually impaired.

Use of Roundabouts

  • Purpose:
    – Lower vehicular speeds.
    – Reduce the number of conflict points.
    – Shorten crossing distances and waiting times.
  • Design Issues:
    – Marked versus unmarked crosswalks.
    – Accessibility for visually impaired pedestrians.
    – Splitter islands.
    – Discouraging pedestrians from crossing to the center island.

Conflict Points at Intersections

1) Roundabouts have eight vehicle/pedestrian conflict points. This diagram shows a modern roundabout design with a four-leg approach and the limited (8) conflict points that vehicles can have with pedestrians. 2) This diagram shows a standard intersection with a four-leg approach and the various (16) conflict points that vehicles can have with pedestrians.

1) Roundabouts have eight vehicle/pedestrian conflict points. This diagram shows a modern roundabout design with a four-leg approach and the limited (8) conflict points that vehicles can have with pedestrians. 2) This diagram shows a standard intersection with a four-leg approach and the various (16) conflict points that vehicles can have with pedestrians.


Lesson Summary

  • Pedestrians can be accommodated even at wide, high-volume intersections.
  • A wide variety of design elements exist to make good pedestrian design possible at intersections.

 

FHWA-HRT-05-106

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