U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations
|This report is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information|
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-11-035
Date: May 2011
Pedestrian and Bicyclist Traffic Control Device Evaluation Methods
Walking and cycling are modes of transportation that can help improve air quality and quality of life. Unfortunately, they are also hazardous because pedestrians and bicyclists are vulnerable when their movements interact with vehicular traffic. Traffic control devices are a low-cost safety solution that inform, warn, and regulate all road users. Effective traffic control devices can promote walking and cycling by providing a feeling of security to users. As new traffic control device technologies and applications are introduced, cost-benefit evaluations are necessary, and these evaluations are often conducted by local and State agencies.
This report is intended to educate practicing engineers, planners, and public works employees at the local, county, and State levels in conducting or overseeing an evaluation of traffic control device effectiveness. The guidance provided, though presented in the context of devices meant for pedestrian and bicyclist facilities, can be applied in a more general sense to evaluations of traffic control devices in any setting.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), through its Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), requires evaluations of the effectiveness of new traffic control devices.(1) When determining whether these countermeasures are effective, most engineers and planners rely on anecdotal observations or their professional judgment. In some cases, a limited quantitative safety evaluation is conducted. However, these evaluations are typically limited in scope, experimental design, and statistical rigor because many State and local agencies lack research funds or the specialized knowledge of experimental design and statistics necessary to conduct reliable evaluations of new traffic control devices or other traffic features.
This report is organized as follows: