A Motorist and Pedestrian Behavioral Analysis Relating to Pedestrian Safety Improvements

The objective of this project was to evaluate motorist and pedestrian behavioral changes that resulted from changes in the roadway environment, traffic enforcement activities, and a public information campaign. A “before” and a four-phased “after” analysis was conducted to evaluate motorist and pedestrian behavioral changes at the study sites: N. 165th St and N. 170th St on SR 99 in the City of Shoreline. The main measures of effectiveness used to evaluate this project were pedestrian crossing locations, changes in pedestrian behaviors (e.g., whether pedestrians used the crosswalks), and changes in motorist behaviors (e.g., the willingness of drivers to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks before and after the improvements).

The results of the study showed that the safety treatments had a positive effect on pedestrian behavior in that pedestrians used the installed refuge island for crossing. The safety treatments also significantly improved vehicle compliance in yielding for pedestrians. However, poor driving behavior can still be improved. A reduction in pedestrian conflict rates and a lack of change in vehicle evasive behavior imply that pedestrians were not any less careful after implementation of the treatments.

While the true effect of each treatment phase may have been limited at the study sites because of the implementation process, construction constraints, and project schedule, the study observed the following findings for the various treatments. First, no meaningful difference was observed in vehicles yielding at marked vs. unmarked crosswalks. The push-button activated roving eyes signs had a positive effect on motorists’ yielding action. Motorists responded positively to yield bars. This study may be limited in reflecting the true impact of traffic enforcement.

Publication Date: 
Saturday, March 1, 2003
Publication Number: 
WA-RD 560.1
Last modified: 
10/12/2016 - 15:42
Jennifer Nee, Mark E. Hallenbeck.
Washington State Transportation Center (TRAC)
Number of Pages: 
Before and after studies, Behavior, Behavior modification, Compliance, Crosswalks, Drivers, Location, Pedestrian safety, Pedestrian signs, Pedestrian vehicle interface, Pedestrians, Safety campaigns, Traffic law enforcement.