August 9


Are LED Lit Pedestrian Crossing Signs Effective?

By Mike Spack

August 9, 2011

LED Lit Pedestrian Crossing Sign

IMAG0020 Here is a before/after study ( Download Elm Creek Blvd Ped Crossing Study) we just completed studying the effectiveness of a new push button activated, LED lit pedestrian crossing sign (thanks to Marc Culver at the City of Maple Grove for letting me share this with you).  We collected data (from video) for 12 hours on two days before and two days after the sign installation (48 hours total of data).

The hope is this type of sign would cause vehicles to yield to pedestrians more frequently than with the standard crossing signs.  Unfortunately, we found negligible difference in vehicles yielding to the pedestrians with the new signs compared to the yielding at the old signs. 

BUT, that was largely due to only 7 pedestrians pushing the button in the after condition (and 5 of those could cross without any cars coming).  The punchline is that we don't know if these LED lit signs cause vehicles to yield more frequently to pedestrians (compared to typical pedestrian crossing signs) because pedestrians don't push the buttons to turn them on.

  • Why didn’t they collect data beyond 7pm.
    Maybe this eight-led lit sign has better performance at night. Although, in some locations night pedestrians are lower than day time…

  • Good point. The data collection went until 8 pm, but the sun sets around 9 pm.
    Typically, this is an area with a low amount of pedestrian crossings. They installed the flashers because there is a park on one side of the street and a neighborhood on the other. In the evenings when they have softball games (which occurred on days we collected video), they have some overflow parking that spills into the neighborhood. We were trying to capture that pedestrian activity, which the city traffic engineer thought would end by 8 p.m.

  • Mike, I am so excited to get my new countCAM. Studies like yours are going to be so easy to setup and complete once we have the video files.
    I’m like a kid in a candy store.
    Interesting data on your ped study. I am upgrading a crosswalk with a similar device. Hopefully my countCAM will come before we do the install so we can get some “before” data.
    BC MoT

  • Maybe the study needs to be redone on a busier ‘pedestrian crossing day’, and inform pedestrians of the push button as well, since it is not a normal thing to have.

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    Mike Spack

    My mission is to help traffic engineers, transportation planners, and other transportation professionals improve our world.

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