Investigation of crashes at pedestrian hybrid beacons: Results of a large-scale study in Arizona Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Introduction

    The pedestrian hybrid beacon (PHB) is a traffic control device used at pedestrian crossings. A recent Arizona Department of Transportation research effort investigated changes in crashes for different severity levels and crash types (e.g., rear-end crashes) due to the PHB presence, as well as for crashes involving pedestrians and bicycles.

    Method

    Two types of methodologies were used to evaluate the safety of PHBs: (a) an Empirical Bayes (EB) before-after study, and (b) a long-term cross-sectional observational study. For the EB before-after evaluation, the research team considered three reference groups: unsignalized intersections, signalized intersections, and both unsignalized and signalized intersections combined.

    Results

    For the signalized and combined unsignalized and signalized intersection groups, all crash types considered showed statistically significant reductions in crashes (e.g., total crashes, fatal and injury crashes, rear-end crashes, fatal and injury rear-end crashes, angle crashes, fatal and injury angle crashes, pedestrian-related crashes, and fatal and injury pedestrian-related crashes). A cross-sectional study was conducted with a larger number of PHBs (186) to identify relationships between roadway characteristics and crashes at PHBs, especially with respect to the distance to an adjacent traffic control signal. The distance to an adjacent traffic signal was found to be significant only at the α = 0.1 level, and only for rear-end and fatal and injury rear-end crashes.

    Conclusions

    This analysis represents the largest known study to date on the safety impacts of PHBs, along with a focus on how crossing and geometric characteristics affect crash patterns. The study showed the safety benefits of PHBs for both pedestrians and vehicles. Practical Applications: The findings from this study clearly support the installation of PHBs at midblock or intersection crossings, as well as at crossings on higher-speed roads.

author list (cited authors)

  • Fitzpatrick, K., Park, E. S., Cynecki, M. J., Pratt, M. P., & Beckley, M.

publication date

  • January 1, 2021 11:11 AM