Center for Problem-Oriented Policing

Summary of Responses

The table below summarizes the responses to pedestrian injuries and fatalities, the mechanism by which they are intended to work, the conditions under which they ought to work best, and some factors you should consider before implementing a particular response. It is critical that you tailor responses to local circumstances, and that you can justify each response based on reliable analysis. In most cases, an effective strategy will involve implementing several different responses. Law enforcement responses alone are seldom effective in reducing or solving the problem.

General Considerations for an Effective Response Strategy
# Response How It Works Works Best If… Considerations
A Designating a special pedestrian-safety task force within your agency A subunit within your agency focuses on enforcing pedestrian regulations …your community’s pedestrian-safety problems are common and serious Creating a subunit within your agency may require funds to support additional staffing, training, and equipment
B Training city planners to consider pedestrian safety Educating planners on pedestrian safety could result in “designing out” unsafe walking conditions …planners take training seriously and actually put it into practice and structural modification In some cases, “designing out” unsafe walking conditions might not be possible due to training or structural modification costs; your agency would also have to establish a working relationship with city planners or those responsible for road design
C Creating ordinances to reduce pedestrian-vehicle crashes Officially regulates situations that could increase the crash risks …police enforce ordinances seriously, especially at high-risk locations For reasons mentioned above, police may not give high priority to enforcing safety ordinances
D Guarding against negative public reactions Your agency should work with residents, businesses, and community groups to allay their fears about the negative impact of pedestrian safety strategies …your agency partners with residents, businesses, and community groups early in the problem-solving process Regardless of early efforts to work with the public, there will still likely be some controversy surrounding problem displacement and certain strategies’ fairness
Specific Responses to Pedestrian Injuries and Fatalities
# Response How It Works Works Best If… Considerations
Pedestrian Behavior
1 Establishing hotspot-specific crackdowns on jaywalking (immediate) It increases the threat of citations and penalties …enforcement is focused on hotspots, concentrated at known times in hotspots, seen as necessary by the community, considered high priority, and coupled with sufficient penalties An enforcement crackdown may not be an adequate long-term response; it could also unnecessarily anger the public
2 Launching location-specific pedestrian-safety education/ awareness campaigns (early) High-risk pedestrians are educated on the risks associated with pedestrian-vehicle crashes …the awareness campaign targets pedestrians at high risk and is close to where the problem occurs Avoid campaigns that are too general because the message may not reach the intended audience or address the problem
3 Coordinating crossing devices to facilitate uninterrupted walking paths (immediate) When pedestrians cross one street, the adjacent crossing signal is timed to allow an uninterrupted walking sequence …pedestrian-vehicle crashes occur where pedestrian walking sequences are restricted by lengthy time intervals Adjusting signals to facilitate uninterrupted walking sequences might disrupt vehicle flow, causing traffic congestion; in addition, a timed crossing sequence might not accommodate all pedestrians’ speed
4 Installing pedestrian countdown-timer signals at problem intersections (immediate) It provides a timer indicating how much time is left to cross the street or how much time is left before a “Walk” signal flashes …your community’s pedestrians jaywalk because of the uncertainty of the waiting time before they can cross the street Countdown signals still allow pedestrians to cross against “Don’t Walk” signals, unlike pedestrian barricades
5 Addressing pedestrian drinking behavior (early) It targets unsafe pedestrian behavior as a result of drinking alcohol …if police and other stakeholders (i.e., bar owners) at hotspot locations collaborate The police alone should not bear the burden of addressing pedestrian drinking behavior
Vehicle and Driver Factors
# Response How It Works Works Best If… Considerations
6 Enforcing speeding violations and other unsafe driver behaviors at high-risk locations (early) Enforcement may deter drivers from speeding …enforcement campaigns are waged in high-risk areas where speeding is causing the problem Increased enforcement may increase traffic congestion or cause further distractions; this response could also be hard to maintain over a long time period
7 Increasing driver’s perceptions of risk regarding pedestrian injuries and fatalities (early) During traffic stops, police distribute pedestrian-awareness information; also, driver’s classes/exams could be redesigned to emphasize pedestrian awareness …enforcement strategies are in place to increase the distribution of pedestrian-awareness information Implementing changes in state driver’s exams could be difficult for communities dealing with a local problem
8 Diverting or calming traffic near pedestrian-vehicle crash hotspots (early and immediate) The use of speed bumps or route redirection slows traffic in high-risk areas or lessens congestion in those areas …your agency accurately identifies high-risk areas Traffic redirection could create high-risk areas on adjacent streets
9 Addressing drunken drivers (early) DUI check points deter drunken drivers from driving in dense pedestrian areas …your pedestrian injury and fatality problem is concentrated in heavily trafficked nightlife districts DUI checkpoints could increase traffic congestion, create additional distractions, and disrupt neighborhood businesses
Immediate Physical Environment
# Response How It Works Works Best If… Considerations
10 Constructing pedestrian barriers to separate foot traffic from vehicles at pedestrian-vehicle crash hotspots It prevents pedestrians from jaywalking by physically taking away the opportunity to do so …your agency has properly planned to identify high frequency crash sites where the barriers would be most effective Installation of pedestrian barriers could be expensive and disliked by hurried pedestrians
11 Installing curb extensions at problem locations Street curbs are extended into roads to narrow crossing distances and improve driver/pedestrian visibility at intersections or midblock areas …poor driver/pedestrian visibility or long crossing distances are creating problems Curb extensions put pedestrians closer to moving traffic; in addition, curb extensions could potentially create several infrastructure problems (see description above)
12 Installing curb extensions at problem locations Street curbs are extended into roads to narrow crossing distances and improve driver/pedestrian visibility at intersections or midblock areas …poor driver/pedestrian visibility or long crossing distances are creating problems Curb extensions put pedestrians closer to moving traffic; in addition, curb extensions could potentially create several infrastructure problems (see description above)
13 Installing fluorescent strong yellow-green (SYG) pedestrian warning signs Traditional pedestrian warning signs are replaced with signs made from highly reflective and more-visible material …crashes occur during daytime hours, when reflective material is most visible SYGs are not as effective (i.e., less reflective) in low ambient-light conditions
14 Designing wider roads and increasing existing roads’ width to deter jaywalking Increasing crossing distances could create the illusion of risk, keeping some pedestrians from jaywalking …many of your community’s pedestrian-vehicle crashes occur on narrow streets Redesigning streets may be costly and may inconvenience travel ease during construction; this could also increase the crash risk for specific groups of pedestrians (i.e., the elderly) by increasing crossing distance; if this is the case, increasing crossing signal intervals may be necessary
15 Increasing the length of crossing signal intervals It adjusts crossing devices to increase the time pedestrians have to cross the street …longer walking intervals are needed at wider roads; also, it works best if the area has a high proportion of slower moving pedestrians Longer crossing intervals mean that traffic will stop at intersections longer; this could result in traffic congestion at certain intersections
16 Improving sidewalks and other pedestrian walkways Better walking conditions may provide pedestrians with more incentive to stay on designated walking paths …a high frequency of pedestrian-vehicle crashes occur near locations where sidewalks are damaged and overcrowded Sidewalk improvement and redevelopment may be costly and temporarily inconvenience pedestrian travel
17 Encouraging pedestrians to cross at controlled intersections Public transportation systems establish pickup/drop-off spots near areas with crossing devices …your community relies heavily on public transportation Rerouting bus stops may make public transportation more time-consuming and less convenient for riders
18 Increasing lighting near high-risk intersections and pedestrian routes Better visibility may help pedestrians and drivers assess the safety of walking/driving conditions …high-risk areas are marked by inadequate lighting and poor visibility Installing and maintaining lights may be costly
19 Providing midblock pedestrian islands when blocks are long and streets are wide It allows two shorter crossings when streets are wide …pedestrians have to travel long distances to cross certain streets; also, islands should be clearly marked and visible to vehicles Installing islands may require extensive road construction and costs
20 Providing marked midblock crossings on narrow streets Midblock crossings are marked with signs to calm traffic and alert drivers to pedestrians’ right-of-way …street crossing is common away from intersections and areas without crossing devices Midblock crosswalks impede vehicle traffic and should be used on streets where flow speed is not essential
21 Establishing parking regulations in low-visibility areas It removes parked cars that restrict the visibility of both pedestrians and drivers …they are established at locations where pedestrians frequently cross streets between cars Removing parking spots could increase moving traffic if drivers cannot find parking places; also, drivers may avoid such areas due to the inconvenience; therefore, this strategy may not be suitable for business districts
22 Creating pedestrian flag locations The city installs warning flags at intersections or other crossing areas …flags are installed at risky locations and are visible to both drivers and pedestrians Pedestrian flags might not be as noticeable or effective as more permanent environmental changes; also, pedestrians should still use caution while crossing, as there is no guarantee drivers will notice the flags
23 Using portable pedestrian warning signs The city places portable warning signs at intersections or other crossing areas …warning signs are installed at risky locations and are visible to both drivers and pedestrians Portable warning signs might not be as noticeable or effective as more-permanent environmental changes
24 Installing in-street yield-to-pedestrian signs The city installs pedestrian signs in the middle of roads to warn drivers to yield to pedestrian traffic …drivers have difficulty seeing pedestrian warning signs that are posted near sidewalks at intersection crosswalks These signs’ effectiveness might depend on where they are placed (e.g., which intersections)
Special Conditions
# Response How It Works Works Best If… Considerations
25 Maintaining walking surfaces in inclement weather It makes walking surfaces safe and accommodating, even in poor weather …your community experiences winter weather that includes ice and snow Substances used to clear sidewalks (i.e. de-icers, salt) could damage surfaces, resulting in additional costs
26 Improving conditions for pedestrians with limited mobility It makes sidewalks more usable and pedestrians with limited mobility more visible …it is implemented in areas with a high proportion of pedestrians with limited mobility Improvements to sidewalks could be costly and benefit only a few
27 Making streets safer for children and teens It addresses the specific needs of children and teens …special circumstances put children and teens at particular risk You need to examine carefully the particular needs of children and teens and bring older children and teens brought into the problem-solving process
28 Improving pedestrian safety in shopping-center parking areas It uses measures similar to those aimed at making city streets and intersections safer for pedestrians …safety measures are aimed at both pedestrians and drivers, since both are distracted in parking areas Surrounding businesses might have to cover the expense of the safety measures
29 Monitoring construction sites It ensures that pedestrian routes are convenient and accessible …your agency forms partnerships with building companies so that monitoring continues throughout the project’s duration Construction sites are temporary and frequently change locations; changing conditions could make monitoring difficult; therefore, your agency could work with local government to require contractors to agree to site monitoring at the permitting stage of construction
30 Improving safety for workers at higher risk of crashes It trains high-risk workers to consider dangerous conditions and behavior while on the job; also, workers can use special gear to make themselves more visible to drivers …workers take the training seriously Workers may not use safe practices unless they are regulated
31 Separating pedestrians from highway entrance/exit ramps It provides safe walking routes for pedestrians near high-speed traffic …pedestrian tunnels and bridges are built so that pedestrians are physically separated from merging traffic Various unintended consequences of both structures might not be considered before construction; see above for possible consequences
32 Relocating popular attractions or services Frequently patronized stores, restaurants, or other businesses are relocated to the side of the road where people live so they do not need to cross the street …a crash hotspot results from many residents having to continually cross from a central location to patronize attractions or services Relocating businesses is likely very expensive and would require major rezoning; also, established business owners might be reluctant to move their location
Responses With Limited Effectiveness
# Response How It Works Works Best If… Considerations
33 Redesigning dangerous vehicles Vehicle body changes can minimize the seriousness of injury and chance of death upon collision …problematic designs (e.g., light truck vehicles) are identified and improved This response requires cooperation with government agencies and vehicle manufacturers, which may be beyond your agency’s scope
34 Launching a general pedestrian-safety education/aware-ness campaign It uses the mass media to promote pedestrian safety to a general audience …the problem is widespread and affects many people in your community Most problems affect only certain people during certain times; therefore, a general message may not reach those who would benefit the most
32 Launching a general enforcement campaign against jaywalkers Police crack down on jaywalking throughout the jurisdiction …crashes are common, largely due to jaywalking, and there are no concentrations It can create perceptions of racial profiling, puts police in conflict with many citizens who are not at risk, maybe expensive, and is difficult to maintain

*“Immediate” refers to responses that take effect just moments before a possible crash. “Early” marks responses that take effect long before potential crashes. See Figure 3 and accompanying text.