Award Date

12-1-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Committee Member

Moses Karakouzian

Second Committee Member

Alexander Paz

Third Committee Member

Saman Ladkhany

Fourth Committee Member

Ashok Singh

Fifth Committee Member

Vernon Hodges

Number of Pages

97

Abstract

As the U.S. population ages and as more people choose to walk, it is critical to improve pedestrian safety. One of the best ways to encourage both pedestrians and vehicle drivers to behave safer is to make use of the most effective engineering traffic control systems. One such new technology is the Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon System (PHB), formerly known as the High-intensity Activated crosswalk (HAWK), a pedestrian-activated traffic-warning device. It features immediate activation of traffic warning lights from a dark state, a pedestrian countdown timer, and shorter pedestrian crossing times and traffic stoppage times compared to a traditional midblock traffic signal.

This study involves the evaluation of a PHB system installed in March 2012 at a midblock crossing on a large arterial street in Las Vegas, NV. Pedestrian and vehicle statistics were gathered several days before and after system installation and one year after installation. Evaluation of the observations indicate that the installed PHB system enhances pedestrian safety after installation and that significant pedestrian safety benefits continue one year later.

This study evaluates only one particular site at three points in time, so the measures of effectiveness of the new PHB system are limited. The PHB system was proven effective in decreasing the unnecessary delay for the drivers, increasing the number of vehicles that stopped, and increasing pedestrian compliance in terms of pushing the activation button and avoiding jaywalking incidents. The result instills confidence that midblock crossings with installed PHB systems can achieve levels of pedestrian safety that exceed that of locations where traditional traffic signals are installed. One confusing aspect for those new to the system that needs to be improved is that both motorists and pedestrians seemed confused as to whether the system was operational when the lights were totally dark.

Keywords

Nevada – Las Vegas; Pedestrian crosswalks; Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon System; Pedestrian Perspectives; Pedestrians; Pedestrian accidents – Prevention; PHB

Disciplines

Civil Engineering

Language

English


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