Yielding Compliance at High Visibility Crosswalks

Yielding Compliance at High Visibility Crosswalks

The ITRE-developed NC Pedestrian Crossing Guidance is a useful resource to NCDOT and local agencies to help them determine when to consider marking a crosswalk. However, once a decision has been made to mark a crosswalk, the guide falls short in recommending a specific marking style outside of NCDOT’s current policy to mark mid-block uncontrolled locations with a high-visibility marking. While the literature is clear that high visibility crosswalks (HVCs) are more visible to both drivers and pedestrians, the existing research is mixed on the effect that HVCs have on pedestrian safety, specifically as it is measured through driver yielding compliance. This can primarily be contributed to the difficulty of isolating the effect of HVCs specifically, as they are often used in conjunction with other crossing treatments such as signage, beacons, curb extensions, or pedestrian refuge islands. Further, no research can be found that studied whether the increasing prevalence of HVCs within a community dilutes the effectiveness of HVCs.  This project seeks to: first, verify that HVCs are more effective at inducing driver yielding than other legal crosswalks (unmarked or marked with transverse parallel lines); and second, - assuming that they are found to be equally or more effective for the first measure - to determine if increasing the prevalence of HVCs within a given area negatively impacts their effectiveness at inducing driver yielding. The scope of work below lays out an approach to address these questions through two phases. In the first phase, the research team will conduct a comparison study matching HVC sites to control sites based on a variety of characteristics to isolate the effect that HVCs have on yielding. Additionally, data collected in phase 1 will serve as the baseline of existing conditions for phase 2. For the second phase, the team will conduct a before/after study to determine if yielding rates change at three site types: existing HVC crosswalks, existing non-HVC crosswalks, and new HVC crosswalks. The before/after data will allow us to test if yielding at existing HVCs is significantly reduced as the overall proportion of HVCs increases in a given area; and if yielding at crosswalks modified to HVCs increases, thus potentially validating conclusions from phase 1 of the project. Temporal changes in average yielding rates will be controlled for in the study area by comparing non-HVC crosswalks that do not change.  The team will seek local agencies with plans for and/or an interest in marking new HVCs to determine three study areas across the state. Additionally, this project requests that NCDOT support the installation of new HVCs within the study areas and accelerate the number that may be installed through labor and/or funding resources. The research team is experienced in executing field studies to collect yielding events through staged crossings and natural observations, both of which are proposed below. Ms. O’Brien will serve as principal investigator for the project. Mr. Chase will manage the data collection efforts, while Ms. Searcy will lead the analyses tasks. Mr. Zegeer will serve as an expert advisor to the project, while additional staff and students will collect and process data, prepare the literature review, and assist with other projectrelated activities.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $316835
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    North Carolina Department of Transportation

    Research and Development
    1549 Mail Service Center
    Raleigh, NC  United States  27699-1549
  • Managing Organizations:

    North Carolina Department of Transportation

    Research and Development
    1549 Mail Service Center
    Raleigh, NC  United States  27699-1549
  • Project Managers:

    Penny, Lisa

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    Highway Safety Research Center
    Chapel Hill, North Carolina  United States  27514
  • Principal Investigators:

    O'Brien, Sarah

  • Start Date: 20170801
  • Expected Completion Date: 20210531
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: 2019-18

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01745998
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: North Carolina Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: FHWA/NC/2019-18
  • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Jul 23 2020 1:07PM