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0-6702-1 Report Abstract

Characteristics of Texas Pedestrian Crashes and Evaluation of Driver Yielding at Pedestrian Treatments

Kay Fitzpatrick, Vichika Iragavarapu, Marcus A. Brewer, Dominique Lord, Joan Hudson, Raul Avelar, and James Robertson, May, 2014

For Texas, the average number of pedestrian fatalities for 2007 to 2011 is about 400 per year. Due to the high number of pedestrian crashes, Texas is considered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to be a “focus” state. Researchers found that 2 percent of all Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)-reportable traffic crashes and 15 percent of all TxDOT-reportable fatal crashes were pedestrian related. Most non-fatal crashes are associated with daylight, at intersections, and on city streets, whereas most fatal crashes are associated with dark conditions, midblock locations, and high-speed roadways. Twenty-one percent of all fatal TxDOT-reportable pedestrian crashes occurred on freeways—a location where pedestrians are least expected. Additional research into how to address pedestrian crashes, especially freeway crashes, is needed, perhaps using FHWA’s new systematic safety project selection tool. In the past decade, the pedestrian hybrid beacon (PHB) and rectangular rapid-flashing beacon (RRFB) have shown great potential in improving driver yielding rates and conditions for crossing pedestrians. Researchers conducted a field study at 7 traffic control signal (TCS) sites, 22 RRFB sites, and 32 PHB sites in Texas with the effectiveness measure being the percent of drivers yielding to a staged pedestrian. Results showed that driver yielding rates varied by type of treatment. Overall, TCSs in Texas have the highest driver yielding rates (98 percent), followed by PHBs (89 percent) and RRFBs (86 percent). Those cities with a greater number of a particular device (i.e., Austin for the PHB and Garland for the RRFB) had higher driver yielding rates as compared to cities where the device was only used at a few crossings. Also, as drivers became more familiar with the PHB, a greater proportion yielded, perhaps because they gained a better understanding of expectations or requirements over time. As part of this study, researchers conducted a before-and-after field study at four RRFB sites and one PHB site to identify the changes in driver yielding and selected pedestrian behaviors resulting from installing these treatments at previously untreated crosswalks. The installations resulted in noticeable improvement in the number of yielding vehicles.

Keywords: Pedestrian Crashes, Pedestrian Treatments, Funding, Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon, Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacon

ENTIRE REPORT (Adobe Acrobat File – 4.3 MB)