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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-10-043
Date: September 2010

Effects of Yellow Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacons on Yielding at Multilane Uncontrolled Crosswalks

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FOREWORD

The overall goal of the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Research Program is to increase pedestrian and bicycle safety and mobility. From better crosswalks, sidewalks, and pedestrian technologies to growing educational and safety programs, the program strives to make it safer and easier for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers to share roadways.

This study was part of a larger FHWA research study to quantify the effectiveness of existing and new engineering countermeasures in improving safety and operations for pedestrians and bicyclists. This effort involved data collection and analysis to determine whether these countermeasures increased driver yielding to pedestrians. In this study, the safety effectiveness of the rectangular rapid-flashing beacon (RRFB) for pedestrians was evaluated using a before-after time-series analysis.

This report will interest engineers, planners, and other practitioners who are concerned about implementing pedestrian and bicycle treatments as well as city, State, and local authorities who have a shared responsibility for public safety.

Monique R. Evans

Director, Office of Safety

Research and Development

Notice

This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers' names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.

Quality Assurance Statement

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides high-quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. FHWA periodically reviews quality issues and adjusts its programs and processes to ensure continuous quality improvement.

Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.

FHWA-HRT-10-043

2. Government Accession No. 3 Recipient's Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle

Effects of Yellow Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacons on Yielding at Multilane Uncontrolled Crosswalks

5. Report Date

September 2010

6. Performing Organization Code
7. Author(s)

Jim Shurbutt and Ron Van Houten

8. Performing Organization Report No.

 

9. Performing Organization Name and Address

Western Michigan University
Psychology Department
3700 Wood Hall
Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5439

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)

11. Contract or Grant No.

DTH61-01-C-00049
Task Order #25

12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

Office of Safety Research and Development
Federal Highway Administration
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101-2296

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

Technical Report:
October 2007–September 2009

14. Sponsoring Agency Code

 

15. Supplementary Notes

The Contracting Officer's Technical Representative (COTR) was Ann Do, HRDS-07.

16. Abstract

The rectangular rapid-flashing beacon (RRFB) device is a pedestrian-activated beacon system located at the roadside below side-mounted pedestrian crosswalk signs. This study examined the effects of the RRFB at uncontrolled marked crosswalks. Several methods have been examined to increase driver yielding to pedestrians at multilane crosswalks at uncontrolled locations with relatively high average daily traffic (ADT). Previously, only treatments that employed a red phase have consistently produced sustained high levels of yielding at high-volume multilane crosswalks. A series of five experiments examined the efficacy of RRFBs. These studies found that RRFBs produced an increase in yielding behavior at all 22 sites located in 3 cities in the United States. Data collected over a 2-year follow-up period at 18 of these sites also documented the long-term maintenance of yielding produced by RRFBs. A comparison of RRFBs to a traditional overhead yellow flashing beacon and a side-mounted traditional yellow flashing beacon documented higher driver yielding associated with RRFBs that was not only statistically significant, but also practically important. Data from other experiments demonstrated that mounting additional beacons on pedestrian refuge islands, or medians, and aiming the beacons to maximize its salience at the dilemma zone increased the efficacy of the system, while two other variants were not found to influence the effectiveness of the system.

17. Key Words

 

18. Distribution Statement

 

19. Security Classification
(of this report)

 

20. Security Classification
(of this page)

 

21. No. of Pages

 

22. Price
Form DOT F 1700.7 Reproduction of completed page authorized

SI* (Modern Metric) Conversion Factors

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER 2. LITERATURE REVIEW

CHAPTER 3. EXPERIMENT 1

CHAPTER 4. EXPERIMENT 2

CHAPTER 5. EXPERIMENT 3

CHAPTER 6. EXPERIMENT 4

CHAPTER 7. EXPERIMENT 5

CHAPTER 8. SUMMARY, CONCLUSION, AND DISCUSSION

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

REFERENCES

LIST OF FIGURES

LIST OF TABLES

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