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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-11-039
Date: April 2011

Evaluation of Pedestrian and Bicycle Engineering Countermeasures: Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacons, HAWKs, Sharrows, Crosswalk Markings, and the Development of an Evaluation Methods Report

CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) continuously seeks to demonstrate and evaluate the effectiveness of existing and/or new engineering countermeasures that reduce pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities, injuries, conflicts, and other surrogate safety measures. In 2008, 4,378 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the United States—a decrease of 16 percent from the 5,228 pedestrians killed in 1998 (see figure 1).(1) Bicyclist fatalities have averaged about 740 per year during the previous 5 years, and there were 716 in 2008 (see figure 2).

Many pedestrians and bicyclists are injured as well. In 2008, around 69,000 pedestrians were injured. Although fatality and injury numbers have remained roughly the same (if not slightly lower), pedestrians still face risks. The goal of this project was to identify medium- to low-cost pedestrian and bicyclist engineering countermeasures that will improve safety and operations for pedestrians and bicyclists. An additional goal was to provide guidance for practitioners on how to properly conduct evaluations of traffic control devices.

Figure 1. Graph. Total pedestrian fatalities. Click here for more information.

Figure 1. Graph. Total pedestrian fatalities.(1)

Figure 2. Graph. Total bicyclist fatalities. Click here for more information.

Figure 2. Graph. Total bicyclist fatalities.(1)

STUDY OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to quantify the effectiveness of medium- to low-cost engineering countermeasures. The project focused on existing and innovative engineering countermeasures for pedestrians and bicyclists that have not yet been comprehensively evaluated.

SCOPE OF WORK

The scope of this project included selecting appropriate pedestrian engineering countermeasures for study, developing evaluation plans and data, and performing statistical analysis to assess effectiveness. This scope was accomplished through the following tasks:

  • Identifying pedestrian countermeasures to be evaluated using peer input and review.
  • Developing an evaluation plan for each selected countermeasure.
  • Collecting and analyzing data for each selected countermeasure.
  • Developing a marketing plan for the evaluation results.
  • Preparing technical brief(s) for each countermeasure.
  • Preparing a handbook on how to evaluate traffic control devices.
  • Developing a final technical report.
  • Providing periodic briefings, reports, and presentations.

PROJECT REPORTS

This report summarizes the entire project. Additional details are provided in the following publications generated during the project:

  • Shurbutt, J. and Van Houten, R. (2010). Effects of Yellow Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacons on Yielding at Multilane Uncontrolled Crosswalks, Report No. FHWA-HRT-10-043, Federal Highway Administration, Washington, DC.
  • Shurbutt, J. and Van Houten, R. (2010). TechBrief: Effects of Yellow Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacons on Yielding at Multilane Uncontrolled Crosswalks, Report No. FHWA-HRT-10-046, Federal Highway Administration, Washington, DC.
  • Fitzpatrick, K. and Park, E.S. (2010). Safety Effectiveness of the HAWK Pedestrian Crossing Treatment, Report No. FHWA-HRT-10-042, Federal Highway Administration, Washington, DC.
  • Fitzpatrick, K. and Park, E.S. (2010). TechBrief: Safety Effectiveness of the HAWK Pedestrian Crossing Treatment, Report No. FHWA-HRT-10-045, Federal Highway Administration, Washington, DC.
  • Hunter, W.W., Thomas, L., Srinivasan, R., and Martell, C.A. (2010). Evaluation of Shared Lane Markings, Report No. FHWA-HRT-10-041, Federal Highway Administration, Washington, DC.
  • Hunter, W.W., Thomas, L., Srinivasan, R., and Martell, C.A. (2010). TechBrief: Evaluation of Shared Lane Markings, Report No. FHWA-HRT-10-044, Federal Highway Administration, Washington, DC.
  • Fitzpatrick, K., Chrysler, S.T., Iragavarapu, V., and Park, E.S. (2010). Crosswalk Marking Field Visibility Study, Report No. FHWA-HRT-10-068, Federal Highway Administration, Washington, DC.
  • Fitzpatrick, K., Chrysler, S.T., Iragavarapu, V., and Park, E.S. (2010). TechBrief: Crosswalk Marking Field Visibility Study, Report No. FHWA-HRT-10-067, Federal Highway Administration, Washington, DC.
  • Chrysler, S.T., Fitzpatrick, K., Brewer, M.A., and Cynecki, M. (2010). Pedestrian and Bicyclist Traffic Control Device Evaluation Methods, FHWA-HRT-11-035, Federal Highway Administration, Washington, DC.
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