Where to Install Marked Crosswalks

Marked crosswalks have been shown to be successful in encouraging pedestrians to cross at a specific location, and crosswalk markings help discourage stopping vehicles from blocking the walking path across the intersection and help remind motorists of the presence of pedestrians.

Still, the results are mixed with respect to getting drivers to drive slower or safer, or to be more courteous to a pedestrian.

With all crosswalks, highly reflective material should be used for crosswalk lines and those lines should be maintained in good condition. In some cases, towns or cities may have to install pedestrian crossing signals and pedestrian push buttons. A zebra, ladder, or continental crosswalk marking pattern makes crosswalks more visible to motorists.

Intersections with existing traffic signals

Marked crosswalks should normally be installed at traffic signals where pedestrians are expected to cross. Pedestrians should be expected to cross from every corner of an intersection unless there are extraordinary and extenuating circumstances that make a part of the intersection unsafe and that cannot be mitigated.

Crosswalks are located at an intersection with a Stop sign in Florida.Intersections with existing STOP signs

It is helpful to install a marked crosswalk at a crossing controlled by a STOP sign, especially when there is a moderate to high number of pedestrians that use the crossing or if the crossing is near a school or in a business district.

Locations without traffic signals or STOP signs

Installing crosswalks lines alone may not be enough to improve pedestrian safety at mid-block areas and intersections without a stoplight or STOP sign (also known as an "uncontrolled crossing"), especially across wide, high-speed streets.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) conducted a national study on whether it is safer to have a marked or unmarked crosswalk at a crossing where no traffic signal or STOP sign is present. This study involved analysis of five years of pedestrian crashes at 1,000 marked crosswalks and 1,000 matched unmarked comparison sites.

The study results revealed that on two-lane roads, the presence of a marked crosswalk alone at an uncontrolled location was associated with no difference in pedestrian crash rate, compared to an unmarked crosswalk. However, on multilane roads with traffic volumes above about 12,000 vehicles per day, having a marked crosswalk alone (without other substantial improvements) was associated with a higher pedestrian crash rate (after controlling for other site factors) compared to an unmarked crosswalk.

Recommendations and guidelines are provided in the report on the use and placement of marked crosswalks and other crossing measures.