The Connecticut Transportation Safety Research Center (CTSRC) and the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) recently released the Connecticut Pedestrian Safety Guide, a comprehensive report of goals, objectives and key emphasis areas for improvement of pedestrian safety on public roads. The development of the safety guide began with the 2017 Connecticut Pedestrian Observational Safety Study, conducted by CTSRC and CTDOT. The study centered on gaining a better understanding of pedestrian risk-taking behavior and how it can be used to evaluate and predict pedestrian-vehicle crashes in Connecticut. This guide is unique in that it focuses exclusively on countermeasures to change the behavior of pedestrians, tying together the industry’s best practices and the results of naturalistic observation to attack pedestrian traffic safety issues in targeted areas.
Video footage of pedestrian behaviors was captured via CTDOT issued Leetron Vision, LLC traffic monitoring cameras. Cameras were set up in the cities of Hartford, New Haven, Waterbury, New Britain, and Hamden. The study team decided to focus on the analysis of four main classifications of risky pedestrian crosswalk behavior:
- Did the pedestrian look for vehicles;
- Did the pedestrian wait before crossing;
- Was the pedestrian distracted (listening to music, looking at electronics, talking on the phone or texting); and
- Did the pedestrian use the crosswalk, ramp, island or crossing signal (if applicable).
General findings suggest that risky crossing behavior is more prevalent than distraction among pedestrian populations in these high crash areas. Distraction was present in only 5.24% of the overall study population, but a stronger correlation did emerge among the pedestrians who were exhibiting other risky crossing behaviors (31.13%). The study results also revealed that more than 86% of the pedestrians did not wait for the appropriate pedestrian signal to cross. Pedestrians either did not utilize the available signal at all or did not wait for the signal to change before they started walking across the intersection. Only 24.3% of observed pedestrians scanned the roadway for approaching vehicles. Pedestrians not waiting for the designated pedestrian walk signal prior to crossing the road was the predominate form of crosswalk misuse observed. There were no substantial findings in terms of age, gender or race cohorts.
Distracted walking and other risky crossing behaviors appeared to be positively correlated at all but two of the study sites (New Haven – Chapel St/Temple St and New Britain – Lafayette St/Main St No 1). The New Haven intersection of Chapel St/Temple St revealed the highest percentage of pedestrians exhibiting risky behaviors (33.72%) but the lowest rate of distracted pedestrians (5.89%). The proportion of distraction observed among pedestrians exhibiting other risky behaviors was highest at the Hamden study site (50.4%) and the lowest at New Haven – Chapel St/Temple St (6.86%).
The CT Pedestrian Safety Guide was selected by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) as one of the nation’s recipients of the 2019 Sweet Sixteen High Value Research Projects award. Only 16 projects from around the United States are selected each year. States selected were invited to give a poster session presentation at the Sweet Sixteen session at the 2019 AASHTO RAC/TRB Representative Annual Meeting in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The 2017 Connecticut Pedestrian Observational Study was conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration. Read the full Connecticut Pedestrian Safety Guide here.