2016 - Research

Driver Approach Speed and Its Impact on Driver Yielding to Pedestrian Behavior at Unsignalized Crosswalks

Key takeaway:

  • As driver speed increases, the rate of yielding to pedestrians decreases.
  • The researcher suggests that speed enforcement and design to reduced speeds through skinny lanes or traffic calming devices could improve unsafe crossings.

Results:

  • Drivers are nearly four times more likely to yield for pedestrians on streets with posted speed limits of 20 mph than at 40 mph.
  • The yield rate was 75% at 85thpercentile speed of 20 mph compared to 17% at 37 mph.
    • Pedestrian yield rates were only 9% on the one four-lane road used in the study.

Methods:

  • This experimental study measured the 85th percentile speed at nine locations in Boston and Brookline, MA and conducted 100 tests at each location to check for motorist yielding at this speed.
  • All but one of the roads were two-lane, and most had on-street parking and were in residential areas.

Bertulis, T. and Dulaski, D.M. (2014). Driver Approach Speed and Its Impact on Driver Yielding to Pedestrian Behavior at Unsignalized Crosswalks. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2464. 46-51.

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Authored by: 
Bertulis T.
and Dulaski D.M.