As of October 1, 2016, the SWUTC concluded its 28 years of operation and is no longer an active center of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. The archived SWUTC website remains available here.


SWUTC Research Project Description

Development of Pedestrian Crash Countermeasures & CRF

University: Texas A&M University

Principal Investigator:
Kay Fitzpatrick
Texas Transportation Institute
(979) 845-7321

Funding Source: SPR Program

Total Project Cost: $222,933

Project Number: 0-6702

Date Started: 9/1/12

Estimated Completion Date: 8/31/13

Project Summary

Project Abstract:
This TxDOT project is to assist the state with identifying characteristics of Texas pedestrian crashes and appropriate countermeasures to address those crashes. For Texas, the average number of pedestrian fatalities for the past five years is about 400 per year. Texas is considered by FHWA to be an “opportunity” state due to the high number of pedestrian crashes. This project can assist TxDOT with making decisions regarding pedestrian treatments. It will also provide a better understanding of the characteristics of crashes associated with pedestrians. Tasks within the proposed project include reviewing the literature, understanding the Texas environment, determining Texas pedestrian crash characteristics, identifying the best approach for evaluating pedestrian countermeasures, conducting evaluation of selected countermeasures, and documenting the findings from the research.

Project Objectives:
The objectives of this project are:

  • Identify characteristics of pedestrian crashes in Texas.
  • Identify potential safety treatments or combinations of treatments that reduce pedestrian fatalities and injuries.
  • Evaluate selected pedestrian treatments.
  • Document findings so that the information can be used by TxDOT in selecting appropriate pedestrian treatments.

Task Descriptions:

Task 1: Review of the Literature

Task 2: Understand the Texas Environment

Task 3: Determine Texas Pedestrian Crash Characteristics

Task 4: Develop Research Approach for Studying Selected Pedestrian Treatment(s)

Task 5: Evaluation of Pedestrian Treatment(s)

Task 6: Document Findings

Implementation of Research Outcomes:
In Texas, the average number of pedestrian fatalities for 2007–2011 was about 400 per year. Due to the high number of pedestrian crashes, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) considers Texas a focus state. To address these concerns, the Texas Department of Transportation desired to learn more about the characteristics of Texas pedestrian crashes, as well as appropriate countermeasures to those crashes.

Key findings from the project include the following:

  • Every respondent in the five metropolitan areas noted an issue with uncontrolled midblock crossings without marked crosswalks. Midblock crossings in general—marked, controlled, or otherwise—were perceived as a safety issue.
  • Driver yielding rates vary by type of treatment. Overall, traffic control signals in Texas had the highest driver yielding rates with an average of 98 percent. The average driver yielding for RRFBs in Texas was 86 percent, while the average for PHBs was 89 percent. These rates were similar to those found in other states.
  • Driver yielding rates for staged pedestrian crossings at untreated sites were below 30 percent, including some sites with 0 yielding. Those rates increased noticeably after treatments were installed, as high as 89 percent for RRFBs and nearly 95 percent for PHBs.
  • The number of treatments within a city may have a positive impact on driver yielding, and driver yielding improves as drivers become more familiar with these treatments over time.
  • Two percent of all traffic crashes and 15 percent of all fatal crashes were pedestrian related.
  • Most non‐fatal pedestrian crashes were found to be associated with daylight, at intersections, and on city streets. Meanwhile, most fatal crashes were found to be associated with dark conditions, midblock locations, and high‐speed roadways.
  • Of all fatal pedestrian crashes, 21 percent occurred on high‐speed access‐controlled facilities, half of which involved a pedestrian attempting to cross the freeway.

Impacts/Benefits of Implementation:
The research team suggests consideration of the following infrastructure improvements, traffic control devices, and education or enforcement campaigns:

  • Proactively addressing pedestrian crashes on a system‐wide basis would reduce the risk of and the potential for the occurrence of future crashes. As a
    focus state, Texas is eligible for training and technical assistance from FHWA to implement the systematic approach for pedestrian safety.
  • Traffic control devices (e.g., traffic control signals, PHBs, and RRFBs) that attract pedestrians to cross at marked locations would generate the needed gap in
    traffic to permit a pedestrian to cross the road. A jurisdiction that decides to install these devices should look for multiple places at which to install them, to provide more opportunities for both pedestrians and drivers to become accustomed to their presence and their expected operation.
  • Educational and enforcement programs that address the following findings would be beneficial:
  1. Driver yielding to PHBs and RRFBs improved with higher user experience with the devices.
  2. Pedestrians involved in 61 percent of all crashes and 72 percent of fatal crashes were male, despite an equal proportion of the male and female population in Texas.
  3. Fifty percent of fatal pedestrian crashes occur over the weekend (Friday through Sunday), with more than half of them occurring between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m.
  4. Twenty‐one percent of fatal pedestrian crashes occurred on access‐controlled facilities. Most of these crashes involved a pedestrian attempting to cross the road.

Web Links:
Final Technical Report