This paper examines safety impacts of a Pedestrian
Countdown Signal (PCS) installed on a busy downtown intersection in San Diego,
California. Crossing episodes of over 5000 pedestrians were videotaped and
analyzed using multivariate statistical methods. Details of timing of
pedestrian crossing as well as information about vehicular traffic and signal
timing were carefully coded for each pedestrian. Significant safety benefits of
the PCS system were found on the long crossings over a street with high
vehicular volumes: most pedestrians were able to effectively increase their
walking speed to complete their crossing without committing the exit
violation—even if they have already committed the entry violation. However, on
the short crossing with light vehicular traffic, PCS was generally ineffective
in preventing the entry violations from becoming exit violations. Over there,
many pedestrians felt safe enough to walk over a short crossing with no
apparent vehicular traffic in sight instead of waiting for a green signal. The
length of crossing and volume of interfering vehicular traffic were
consistently found the most significant variables affecting the crossing violation
rates of different categories of pedestrians. Crossing violation rates were the
highest for runners, bicyclists and older males. Crossing violation
characteristics were found to be consistent over time.
Cite this paper
J. Supernak, V. Verma and I. Supernak, "Pedestrian Countdown Signals: What Impact on Safe Crossing?," Open Journal of Civil Engineering
, Vol. 3 No. 3, 2013, pp. 39-45. doi: 10.4236/ojce.2013.33B007
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