Thursday, August 27, 2009

Things that go bump in the night

Oh what do we have here? Looks like an in-road pedestrian crossing sign. This photo was taken at the intersection of Fort Davis St and Pennsylvania Ave SE. I was on Fort Davis St northbound and the photo is looking westbound. There is also one at the westbound intersection. They must have been erected overnight by the sign fairies (relatives of the tooth fairy), because they surely were not there when I walked my dogs yesterday at 6:30 pm-ish. I took this photo at 7:30 AM this morning.

I will try to get video of pedestrians crossing Pennsylvania Ave to see how effective they are. When you are coming westbound on Pennsylvania Ave, you don't even know there is a crosswalk at Fort Davis St until you are almost at the crosswalk because of the topography. I'll also try to get video driving westbound to see how far back motorist can see them.

I don't know the whats, whys, hows, and whos of where they came from, but I'll take this opportunity to thank the sign fairies at DDOT. It's nice to know we have friends in DDOT that are paying attention to the issues in our neighborhood.

Effectiveness of in-road Pedestrian Signs
The engineer in me was interested to know the effectiveness of these type of pedestrian safety devices at unsignalized intersections (i.e. no traffic light). I found a study from 2000 issued by the Federal Highway Administration Turner-Fairbanks Highway Research Center. The study found that motorists were more likely to yield to pedestrians after the signs were placed in the roadway. They were most effective on two-lanes, low-speed roads.

I also found a study by the Transportation Research Board issued in 2006 that confirmed the findings of the other study.


  1. Thanks for the study information. Sheriff Road in my neck of the woods just received in-road pedestrian signs. Noting that they work well with low speeds could help convince the police to deploy their manpower over here for yielding, jaywalking, and other unsafe practices.

  2. You're welcome. Let me know if you need anymore information. Enforcement is a big thing.