How To More Safely Accommodate Pedestrians Through An Intersection With Free Flow Legs

Status:  Complete
Report Date:  06/24/2004


Slip lanes (free-flow legs) help the traffic flow by allowing right turning traffic to continue through the intersection without having to stop on red. Yet, pedestrians are often unaware that right turning traffic is not required to stop as per the traffic lights when using the slip lane. Likewise, drivers often do not realize that pedestrians may be crossing the slip lane assuming the right-of-way. As such, the unresolved right-of-way puts pedestrians at risk. A national online survey was conducted, and an in-depth literature review was completed to identify potential countermeasures to promote pedestrian safety at slip-lanes. Numerous countermeasures were identified with a particular focus on communicating the presence of pedestrians crossing slip lanes to the drivers by means of novel, innovative, and effective traffic control devices. Six intersections were selected to monitor and record pedestrian and vehicle behaviors in slip lanes in Rochester, Minnesota. Potential countermeasures were evaluated for their effectiveness to convey the pedestrian presence information to the drivers, yet not interfering with the vehicle free-flow at other times. An automatic pedestrian-activated active in-sign and in-pavement flashing LED system was identified as the best candidate for implementation. An intersection was also selected among the six candidates to have the selected countermeasure be implemented.

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