Center for Education and Research in Safety (CERS)
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Crosswalks with an Uncontrolled Approach

This device was evaluated at a midblock crosswalk on Central Avenue in the city of St. Petersburg, Florida. The midblock crosswalk linked two major bus stops on each side of Central Avenue. Pedestrians were detected using two departure microwave sensors. The sensors were directional and turned on the eyes and illuminated the appropriate pedestrian symbol depending on the direction that pedestrian was departing the curb line. The ITS ‘‘eyes’’ sign was compared to an ITS flashing beacon at this site using an alternating treatments design that allows collection of data under both conditions at the same site each day. Only 15% of motorists yielded to pedestrians during the baseline phase. The introduction of the ITS beacon and the ITS ‘‘eyes’’ sign led to an increase in yielding to 36% for the beacon and 62% for the ITS ‘‘eyes’’ sign (F= 44.54 (P = .0001). The percentage of drivers stranded at the center line declined from 17% during baseline condition to 6% during beacon operation and to 3% for the ITS ‘‘eyes’’ sign operation. The results of this experiment showed that the ITS ‘‘eyes’’ display produced a significantly larger increase in the percentage of drivers yielding to pedestrians than the flashing beacon produced even though both devices only operated when a pedestrian was crossing the street. One reason why the ITS ‘‘eyes’’ display may have been more effective was because it provided more information than the flashing beacon. Specifically, the pedestrian symbol showed the direction of the pedestrian who was crossing the street, and the searching ‘‘eyes’’ display provided a specific request of the driver to look for the pedestrian. Both the ITS ‘‘eyes’’ display and the beacon were associated with a reduction in conflicts, and a reduction in the percentage of pedestrians stranded in the center of the road. Taken together the results of this study and the previous study at the garage exit show that the ITS ‘‘eyes’’ display is inherently understood by drivers and produced a significant increase in yielding behavior and a reduction in conflicts. Because the symbol icon informs motorists of the pedestrians direction of travel it can also help reduce the risk of multiple threat when a yielding vehicle screens the view of the drivers approaching in the next lane of travel.