The Effects of Pedestrian Countdown Signals in Lake Buena Vista

Source: Florida Department of Transportation

A "treatment" and "control" study design was used: countdown signals at two intersections were matched with three control intersections that were similar but did not have countdown signals. The countdown signals were evaluated according to three measures of effectiveness:

  1. Pedestrian compliance with the Walk signal
  2. Pedestrians who ran out of time
  3. Pedestrians who started running when the flashing Don't Walk signal appeared

The countdown signals had the positive effect (compared to sites without countdown signals) of reducing the number of pedestrians who started running when the flashing Don't Walk signal appeared. They had the undesired effect of reducing compliance with the Walk signal. There was no effect on the number of persons who ran out of time while crossing.

It is recommended that countdown signals be tested at other locations. The use of countdown signals should be accompanied by public educational campaigns that explain what these devices are and how pedestrians can benefit from them.

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