Safety Effects of In-Roadway Warning Lights or “Flashing Crosswalk” Treatment

A Review and Snythesis of Research
Source: UNC Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC)

In-roadway warning lights or "flashing crosswalks" are a currently-accepted treatment in MUTCD for use at uncontrolled crosswalks. This review of nine before-after evaluation studies including surrogate measures of safety effectiveness indicates that the treatment is not a panacea for all problem crosswalk locations. While motorist yielding to pedestrians has improved to varying degrees at most locations examined, the evidence is relatively weak, and yielding has also decreased or remained at low levels at some locations. Effects on traffic speeds, and on pedestrian use of the crosswalks have also varied, even in direction. Positive effects observed may also degrade over time. While there is suggestive evidence, it is not clear from the evaluation studies to date, under what conditions flashing crosswalk treatments may be most beneficial over the longer term, and not recommended for others.

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