Safety evaluation of pedestrian countdown signals: Definitive results from two cities in the United States
Author(s): Srinivasan, Raghavan; Lan, Bo; Carter, Daniel; Smith, Sarah; Persaud, Bhagwant; Signor, Kari; Saleem, Taha
Publication Date: Dec-2021
Journal: Transportation Research Record: The Journal of the Transportation Research Board
Abstract: The pedestrian countdown signals (PCS) treatment involves the display of a numerical countdown that shows how many seconds are left in the flashing DON’T WALK interval. Although many studies have attempted to evaluate the safety of PCS, the results have been inconsistent for many reasons, including inadequate sample size and the inability to control for possible bias from regression to the mean and from exposure. This study performed a before-after empirical Bayes analysis using data from 115 treated intersections in Charlotte, North Carolina and 218 treated intersections in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to evaluate the safety effects of PCS. The evaluation also included 136 reference intersections in Charlotte, and 597 reference intersections in Philadelphia. Following the implementation of PCS, total crashes decreased by approximately 8% and rear-end crashes decreased by approximately 12%, and these reductions were statistically significant at the 95% confidence level. Pedestrian crashes decreased by about 9% and this reduction was statistically significant at the 90% confidence level. Economic analysis revealed a benefit-cost ratio of 23 with a low of 13 and a high of 32.