Assessment of Driver Yield Rates Pre- and Post-RRFB Installation in Bend, Oregon

Source: Oregon Department of Transportation

The Oregon Department of Transportation improved two crosswalks on US 97 (Bend Parkway) near Bend, Oregon by installing Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFB), replacing signs, and enhancing pavement markings. At the location of the intersections where the RRFBs were installed the highway is a four-lane facility with a center median, bike lanes, and sidewalks. The posted speed is 45 miles per hour. At about the same time that the improvements were made at the two crosswalks on the Bend Parkway, RRFBs were installed at another nearby location in the City of Bend. As the use of RRFBs is considered experimental, particularly at locations with posted speeds in excess of 35 mph , an evaluation of driver compliance rates and conflicts at the three intersections was undertaken.

Driver yielding rates increased significantly at all three intersections where RRFBs were installed. Prior to the installation of RRFBs, data was collected on a total of 159 crossings at the three intersections; following RRFB installation data was collected on a total of 211 crossings. The average yielding rate was 17.8%; following installation the average yielding rate more than tripled to 79.9%.

The conclusion of the study was that RRFBs should be considered for installation on high-speed facilities where there are posted speeds greater than 35 miles per hour if there are pedestrians and bicyclists using the facility and a history of crashes or the potential for them. The design of an RRFB installation needs to include features to improve the visibility of the crossing.

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