Pedestrian Study on Crosswalk Flags in Las Vegas

The study investigates the impact of pedestrian crossing flags (PCFs) on driver yielding behavior at marked crosswalks in Las Vegas, Nevada. The motivation for the study stems from the relatively low rates of active transportation in the United States and concerns about pedestrian safety. The research notes that safety concerns contribute to the hesitance of individuals to walk or bike, supported by statistics indicating a significant number of traffic-related pedestrian deaths in the country. The study aims to explore whether the use of PCFs by pedestrians influences driver yielding behaviors.

Two midblock crosswalks with similar characteristics were selected for the study, and observations were conducted with two female participants acting as pedestrians. The participants carried bright orange safety flags (PCFs) during some crossings while crossing without flags in others. The analysis focused on two key aspects: the number of vehicles that passed without yielding when the pedestrian was ready to cross and the number of vehicles that passed through the crosswalk while the pedestrian was in the roadway.

The results of the study indicate a significant association between the use of PCFs and increased driver yielding. Drivers were more likely to yield to pedestrians carrying PCFs, both when the pedestrian indicated the intention to cross and when they were already in the roadway. The findings suggest that the visibility provided by PCFs may enhance driver awareness and promote yielding behavior.

The study acknowledges the limitations, such as its specific geographical focus on Las Vegas and the cross-sectional nature of the observations. The research recommends further investigation into the long-term effects of PCFs on driver behavior and emphasizes the need for multifaceted approaches to pedestrian safety, considering factors like technology, built environment, and policy changes. Despite these limitations, the study concludes that pedestrian crossing flags may offer a simple and affordable means to enhance pedestrian safety at midblock crosswalks, encouraging more sustainable and active transportation.

SOURCE: The Impact of Pedestrian Crossing Flags on Driver Yielding Behavior in Las Vegas, NV by Sheila Clark