Traffic Engineering Measures That Reduce Pedestrian Crashes

Pedestrian fatalities have reduced significantly in the United States in the last few years. However, at eleven percent, pedestrians still account for a high number of those that die in motor vehicle crashes within the U.S. Children aged between five and nine years make up the highest population-based rate of those injured in these crashes, while those over 80 years account for most population-based rate of the fatalities. One of the main factors attributed to the high pedestrian fatalities is the minimal consideration accorded to road designs in the U.S.  A majority of road networks in the country give minimal priority to pedestrian safety, although various engineering modifications can be put into place to reduce vehicle-pedestrian crashes.

Management of Speed

Speed management in residential areas is effective in reducing pedestrian crashes, especially those involving children.  It is advisable to put visible road signs with speed limits not exceeding twenty-five miles per hour in residential settings to allow motorists to react if a child darts into the street unexpectedly. In convectional intersections, installing modern roundabouts helps in controlling speed effectively.  Multi-way stop control signs and setting up speed bumps on busy roads may also help in managing speed, thereby minimizing pedestrian fatalities.   


Another effective engineering measure is separating the vehicles and passengers to reduce conflict. Installing lighted crosswalk systems at high speed intersections make it easier for pedestrians to cross the road. Traffic signal phasings stop vehicular traffic for a stipulated amount of time, allowing pedestrians to cross the road without any conflict. Engineers can also install underpasses and overpasses at wide crossings with heavy high speed traffic.  When designing the aforementioned, it is important to consider accessibility and convenience to encourage pedestrian use.  In residential areas, sidewalks significantly reduce pedestrian crashes. Another effective approach is setting up raised refuge islands in the middle of a two-way street to allow pedestrians to cross the road in two stages. In a multilane, this approach simplifies crossing for the slower pedestrians, thereby lowering the possibility of a crash.

Enhancing Passenger Visibility

Over half of the fatal pedestrian crashes occur at night, when traffic is light and visibility poor. Increasing the intensity of the road lighting, especially at pedestrian crossings, will enhance visibility and minimize night time crashes. Also, parked vehicles obscure the driver and pedestrian vision, especially on residential streets. It is important for engineers to include parking restrictions in the road design by implementing diagonal parking. The latter involves parking vehicles at a thirty degrees angle to the curb in the direction where the traffic flows, making it easier for pedestrians to see the roadway.

If you're in charge of a traffic engineering project, consider bringing in a specialist, such as GBA INC., to help you with the work.