Designing and implementing an effective pedestrian crosswalks is far more complex than just adding a set of signals and some lines on the road. Furthermore, pedestrian behavior can be quite unpredictable and rely heavily on the motorists speed, reaction time and awareness. Fortunately, there are many options available to to those wishing to mitigate these dangers.
The first and most obvious of the these are a reduction in speed. Reducing the speed in critical pedestrian crossings such as school zones is the most effective way to reduce pedestrian fatalities. Slower speeds translate to a larger field of view. This raises the possibility of the motorists detecting pedestrians wishing to cross and increases their reaction time. Speed has been proven time and again to reduce overall pedestrian fatalities in studies worldwide.
Secondly, the design of the surrounding area can impact crosswalk safety. Factors such as lane width, sidewalk width and whether or not there are protective pathways will inevitably affect the overall crosswalk design parameters.
Last but not least is the effective use of technology or ITS. With so many options available, it can be difficult to determine which method is going to provide the best solution at a sustainable cost. Fortunately, Can-Traffic has been involved in the implementation and utilization of many of these technologies and systems. The most notable of these being the Aurora Project in Edmonton Alberta. The Aurora project was a first of it’s kind locally. It promoted the use of wireless connected vehicle technology to the control systems. This technology can be applied at pedestrian crossings whereby the pedestrians information is detected and this is communicated directly to the vehicle.
Other pedestrian detection technologies adaptable at crosswalks include,
-Video Image Processing
With each project being unique it is important to have a broad spectrum understanding of the related and pertinent traffic dynamics.