Leading Pedestrian Intervals Treating the Decision to Implement as a Marginal Benefit-Cost Problem

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Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board

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To improve the safety of people walking at particular signalized intersections, traffic signal engineers may implement leading pedestrian intervals (LPIs) to provide pedestrians with a walk signal for a few seconds before the parallel vehicular green indication. Previous before-and-after studies and simple economic analyses have indicated that LPIs are low-cost tools that can reduce vehicle–pedestrian conflicts and crashes at some signalized intersections. Despite this evidence, municipalities have little guidance for when to implement LPIs. A marginal benefit–cost framework is developed with quantitative metrics and extends the concept of traffic conflicts and marginal safety–delay trade-offs to analyze the appropriateness of implementing an LPI at specific signalized intersections. The method provides guidance to help quantify the probability of a conflict occurring and direction on whether to implement an LPI at a given location from macroscopic-level inputs, including number of turning movements, crash data, and geometry. A case study with sample data indicated that an LPI was cost-effective for the scenario presented.

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