My name is Charles Bunting and today I am going to present the results of my analytic research project which was on crosswalk safety.
The purpose of my study was to find out which traffic device would be best suited to improve pedestrian safety on Fort Myers Beach. The beach has 27 crosswalks on Estero Blvd. There has been a problem recently with pedestrian accidents in the crosswalk. The town is actively searching for a solution to this problem.
Let me begin by telling you a little bit about the Town of Fort Myers Beach. Fort Myers Beach is 7 miles long and is located on Estero Island about 18 miles from Fort Myers on the west coast of Florida. Up until 1995, Fort Myers Beach was part of unincorporated Lee County and was under the control of the Lee County Commissioners. In 1995, the residents voted to incorporate and the Town of Fort Myers Beach was formed. The town is run by a town council which consists of a mayor, a vice mayor, and three council members. The town has a small paid staff including a town manager, an administrative assistant, a town clerk, a contract’s manager, and a receptionist. The town has an annual budget of over 28 million dollars.
The town has five different departments: community development, environmental sciences, financial, public works, parks and rec.
Estero island is only 7 miles long and less than one half mile wide. It includes 2.9 square miles of land and the area of water that extends 1000 feet from the shoreline. The town is made up of residents and visitors with a median age for residents of 59 years.
Estero island has three main business clusters. The first and most popular is the downtown area known as time square. This is at the north end of the island directly over the bridge. There is one red light located in this cluster where pedestrians can cross with the help of a traffic patrolman during season. At mid island, there is another business cluster that begins at Town Hall and includes Bay Oaks Rec Center, Sea Grape Plaza, and the library. The south end of the island also has a business cluster centered around the Santini Plaza which is a shopping center with restaurants, shops, and a hardware store. In this same area is a CVS and a Holiday Inn as well as many condonimiums.
The problem of pedestrian safety has become more and more important as the traffic increases during the season which runs from November through April. Fort Myers Beach is a tourist destination and over 30,000 visitors come to enjoy the sun and surf during the season. This triples the amount of traffic that travels on the island’s only road, known as Estero Blvd.
In the past year, at least four pedestrians have been killed while crossing Estero Boulevard at crosswalks. Last year, a Wisconsin woman was hit and killed while crossing Estero at a crosswalk near CVS. The driver of the SUV that struck her says he didn’t see the women until it was too late. Less than a year later, an Ohio couple was struck at a crosswalk across from Bay Beach. They were crossing from the beach to the bayside of the street at a crosswalk when they were struck by a minivan that was traveling 25 miles an hour. The driver of the van said that he saw the couple in the crosswalk but it was too late to stop. Later that year, a visually impaired woman was struck while crossing in front of the Holiday Inn. These accidents have made the Town Council aware of the increasing traffic issues on the island. According to Larry Kiker, former Fort Myer Beach Mayor, there were 24 pedestrian accidents last year alone.
In the past year alone, there has been a 20 percent increase in the number of pedestrian accidents. Four pedestrians were killed last year trying to cross Estero Blvd at crosswalks.
The root cause of this problem is traffic congestion. With only one single lane road on the island, traffic backs up quickly leading to long lines getting on and off the island. The town installed 27 crosswalks along the blvd to encourage drivers to yield to pedestrians when they were trying to cross the road. Most of these are zebra stripes with non activated signs warning of a crossing. These have not worked very well because the people do not pay attention to them and ignore the pedestrians who are trying to cross. Vistors are on vacation and are not paying attention to the crosswalks so they seldom stop. Residents are in a hurry because they have been sitting in traffic and don’t want to stop. Therefore, the pedestrians are left in a dangerous situation. Many pedestrians assume that the drivers will stop, so they just walk out into the crosswalk only to cause the drivers to slam on their brakes causing rear end collisions.
The safety of pedestrians affects everyone on the island including residents and visitors as well as the town council, the lee county commisioners, and the lee county sheriffs department.
As a part of my research project, I researched three case studies. In each of these case studies, a town or city faced the same problem and dealt with it in different ways. The first case study was Miami Florida a city that has one of the highest pedestrian fatality rates in the state. This study was designed to find out which of the traffic control devices installed in the city was the most effective.
The city had different types of devices installed at different crosswalks. Results showed that some of these devices worked well while others had little or no effect on driver behavior. The most effective device was the retangular rapid flashing beacon which showed a 65 percent increase in yielding rate at one location and a 92 percent yielding rate at a second location.
Another city that I read about was Seattle. Even though this city is known for its pedestrian safety, the city leaders were concerned because390 pedestrians were killed from 200-2009. In order to solve this problem, the city began installing overhead crosswalk signs at their busiest intersections. These signs would light up when a pedestrian wanted to cross the road.
The treatment was moderately successful by increasing driver yielding behavior from 45 percent to 52 percent. The signs were also effecting in improving the behavior of pedestrians in the crosswalk. Prior to the signs being installed 58 percent of the pedestrians ran, aborted or hesitated when crossing the street. After this signs were installed this rate went down to 34 percent.
The last city studied was lakeland, florida which is located in Polk County. The city saw 13 pedestrians killed in 2012 alone so they were very concerned and needed to find a solution to this problem. Their solution turned out to be flashing crosswalks. This is a device that embeds flashing LED lights in the road on both sides of a marked crosswalk. When the pedestrians wants to cross, he or she will press a button and the lights will begin to flash. The flashing lights warn approaching drivers that peoplew ant to cross and to stop.
The flashing crosswalk was found to be an effect method of improving pedestrian safety in lakeland. Before the flashers were installed the percentage of drivers who yielded to pedestrians was only 15.8 percent. Once the flashers were installed this rate went up to 41 percent.
In addition to the three case studies, I also completed an extensive review of literature related to crosswalk safety. One of the most quoted studies was done in 2000 by Huang, Zegeer, and Nassi who studied three different traffic control systems at various locations to find out what devices worked best. The study included safety cones that were used in New York State, Pedestrian Flashing Amber Beacons and Stop for Pedestrian signs put in crosswalks.
In this study, the device the produced the most consistent results was the pedestrain safety cone which increased driver yielding from 69.8 percent to 82.1 percent. These cones are inexpensive and easy to install on a marked crosswalk.
The Federal Highway Administration has conducted many studies regarding pedestrian safety. The purpose of this study was to determine the most effect control devices and to come up with specific recommendations that would improve pedestrian safety.
The Federal Highway Association conducted another study which was called the “Pedestrian Safety Countermeasure Deployment Project.” Using pilot projects in three cities (San Francisco, Miami, and Nevada) the study was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of different methods used to improve citizen safety in crosswalks. These were called “countermeasures.” San Francisco, Miami, and Nevada were chosen as the test cities because city officials admitted they had problems with pedestrian safety. They also understood how important it was to use data to make decisions. The countermeasures that were studied included the following: “automated video detection of pedestrians, flashing beacons, in street pedestrian signs, and median refuge islands”. The study lasted 6 years.
This study found that the most effective traffic control device was the Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon. The second most effective device was street lighting, followed by pedestrian count down signs. The yield here signs came in last
Do, et al conducted a comprehensive study of traffic control devices in 2011. They studied the RRFB, the HAWK, Shared Lanes and crosswalk markings. The results of their study showed that the type of marking made a difference and that the signals were effective in reducing accidents by 69 percent.
Finally, in 2012, Bartlett, et al studied medians and pedestrian refuge areas and found that this is a good way to reduce pedestrians fatalities on multi laned roads.
Based on my research, I came up with four different alternatives for improving pedestrian safety on Fort Myers Beach. The first alternative is the rectangular rapid flashing beacon which has been proven to be effective effective for increasing the number of drivers who yielded to pedestrians in the crosswalk. The cost for two units ranges from 10,000 to 15,000 dollars so this is an affordable option.
The second alternative is the HAWK crossing system which was used successfully in many cities. This stystem uses a crosswalk signal with two red lights over one yellow light. The light is dark until the button is pushed and the system is activated. At this time the yellow light changes from flashing to solid alerting the driver to stop. Then the two red lights come on and the pedestrians get a signal telling them that it is safe to cross.
The HAWK system has been shown to be effective but it does have some drawbacks. The dark beacons are difficult to see and some drivers may view the dark lights and think that this is a traffic signal that is not working. This may cause them to stop unnecessarily. Another major drawback is the cost which is 80.000 each.
Raised medians are areas between lanes of traffic. They are very effective as they give pedestrians a safe refuge between lanes of traffic. These are effective ways to improve pedestrian safety, but they are very expensive and need to be carefully planned because they become a permanenet part of the traffic pattern. They can cost anywhere from 15,000 to 30,000 per100 feet and require extensive construction and widening of the road.
The last alternative is the flashing crosswalk. These LED lights are embedded in the road and warn motorists that pedestrians want to cross. The cost is reasonable at 15,000 to 18,000 each and they are effective. They can increase the yielding rate from 16 percent to 92 percent.
The purpose of this ARP was to provide the best solution to a problem in a public service organization. The project was designed to use a quantative method to select the most effective traffic control device for the Town of Fort Myers Beach. This comparative analysis determined which of the four traffic devices would be the best choice for Fort Myers Beach.
Results of the analysis showed that the Flashing Crosswalk is the best choice for the town. This alternative scored 172 points. The second choice was the rectangular rapid flashing beacon which scored 166 points. The last two alternatives were very close, the HAWK crossing system came in with 145 points followed by the medians which scored 145 points.
The quantitative and comparative analysis, which waflas conducted for this paper, concluded that the best alternative for creating a pedestrian crosswalk traffic device for the Town of Fort Myers Beach is the flashing crosswalk. The main selling point for the flashing crosswalk was the lower cost and the high effectiveness of the device. Alternatives 3 (Raised Medians) and 4 (HAWK System) would involve major right of way issues with the county and the state, whereas the flashing crosswalk and the RRFB systems had less intrusion onto the highway. In addition to the cost and right of way issues, the flashing crosswalk had another advantage when it came to the storms and street flood that is a common occurrence on the island. The lights are embedded in the road, and they are waterproof. There is no risk that they will be torn down by high winds or a major storm. The lights are also easy for the pedestrians to control so they will not disrupt the flow of traffic on Estero Blvd as much as some of the other devices.
Implementing this traffic control device will be a four year process. In the first year, the traffic engineers will need to set up control crosswalks using only zebra stripes to determine which ten crosswalks will get the treatment. In the second year, the town will need to determine the total cost and work with Lee County to secure fundng and install the treatment on the ten selected crosswalks. The third year will begin the evaluation process. The crosswalks with the treatment will be studied and compared to those without the treatment. IF the system is shown to be effective, in year four, funding wil be sought and the device will be installed on the remaining crosswalks.
Evaluating the effectiveness of the treatment will involve observation and recording of behaviors of both drivers and pedestrians as they interact with the crosswalk. The trained observers will record the number of times that a driver or pedestrian is forced to take evasive action to avoid an accident in the crosswalk. The observers will also study the number of accidents that occurred in the croswalk before and after the installation of the devices.
Thank you for taking time to listen to this presentation. The town of fort myers beach should make every effort to install the flashing crosswalk on all pedestrian crossings on Estero Blvd. This will ensure the safety of all residents and visitors.
Bunting power point crosswalk safety
The purpose of this paper will be to
determine the best pedestrian traffic
control device to install on the 27
crosswalks on Fort Myers Beach, in
order to increase pedestrian safety by
encouraging drivers to yield to
pedestrians in the crosswalk.
T Town of Fort Myers Beach
The town was created in 1995.
The town is run by a town council consisting of a
mayor, a vice mayor, and 3 council member.
The town employs a town manager, an
administrative assistant, a town clerk, a contracts
manager, and a receptionist.
The town has an annual budget of 28,656, 308
2.9 square miles of land
Area of water extending
1000 feet from the
Population in 2,000 was
Median age for residents is
Three Main Business Clusters
Downtown area known as
time square and the pier.
A mid island cluster which
includes Town Hall, Bay
Oaks, and the Library.
The south end of the island
includes Santini Plaza, the
Holiday Inn, CVS
Pharmacy, and many high
From November through
April the population
30,000 visitors descend on
This triples the amount of
traffic that travels on the
islands main road known as
In the past year, four
pedestrians have been
killed while crossing Estero
Blvd at crosswalks.
According to former
Mayor Larry Kiker, there
were 24 pedestrian
accidents on the island last
Estero is a very busy road
with major traffic
during the tourist season.
There has been a 20
percent increase in the
number of pedestrian
accidents this year (Kiker,
The main cause of this problem is congestion.
Visitors are on vacation and do not pay attention when they
cross the road.
They walk out in front of traffic assuming the drivers will
stop because they are in a crosswalk.
Likewise, the drivers are also on vacation and are paying
attention to their surroundings, rather than the people in the
Residents of Fort Myers
Visitors to Fort Myers
Town Council of Fort
Lee County Sheriffs
Lee County Commission
Miami Case Study
Miami has one of the highest pedestrian fatality
rates in the state.
In order to solve this problem, the city set up
research teams to explore different
countermeasures that could be used in the city to
help make it a safer place for pedestrians.
These included “intelligent video pedestrian
detection devices” and rapid flash beacons
The results showed that some of the
countermeasures worked very well, while others had
no significant effect on the behavior of the drivers or
In Miami the use of the RRFBs increased the
percentage of drivers who yielded to the pedestrians
quite a bit.
At site #1 the yielding rate went from 0 percent to
65 percent. At site #2, the rate went from 1
percent to 92 percent.
Seattle Case Study
City leaders were not
happy with the fact that
398 pedestrians were killed
The city began installing
overhead crosswalk signs at
their busiest crosswalks.
Before the signs were installed, the driver yielding rate was
After the signs were installed, the driver yielding rate went
up to 52 percent.
The crosswalk signs were also effective in improving the
behavior of the pedestrians in the crosswalk.
Before the signs were installed 58 percent of the pedestrians
“ran, aborted, or hesitated” in crossing the road.
After the signs were installed, this rate went down to 43%.
Lakeland Case Study
Lakeland, Florida is located in Polk County where there
were 13 pedestrians killed last year (Parody, 2013).
The city has tried to improve the safety of the pedestrians in
crosswalks by installing “flashing crosswalks.”
This device embeds lights into the roadway on both sides of a
When a pedestrian approaches the crosswalk, he or she will
see a button to push that will turn on the flashing lights.
The flashing lights are designed to warn approaching drivers
that someone is waiting to cross the road.
The flashers were effective
in increasing the number of
drivers who yielded to
Before the flashers were
put in, the percentage of
drivers who yielded to
pedestrians was 15.8
After the flashers were
installed, the rate went up
to 41.0 percent.
Lit Review One
Huang, Zegeer, and Nassi (2000)
Studied three different traffic control
systems that have been employed in various
locations to make it safer for pedestrians to
cross the road.
Safety Cones in New York
Pedestrian Activated Flashing Amber
Stop for Pedestrians in Crosswalks signs.
Results Huang, et al (2000)
The device that
produced the most
consistent results was the
pedestrian safety cones.
Before the cones were
put up, 69.8 percent of
the drivers yielded to the
After the treatment, this
rate went up to 82.1
Lit Review Two:
Federal Highway Administration (2001)
Purpose was to find out if
marked crosswalks were
effective traffic control
Second objective was to
come up with
improve pedestrian safety.
Lit Review Three:
Federal Highway Administration (2007)
video detection of
In street pedestrian
Median refuge islands
Lasted 6 years
Results FWA (2007)
Most effective were
Next was in street
came in third
Yield here signs came
Lit Review Four: Do, et al (2011)
The purpose of this study was to identify some
countermeasures that could make crosswalks safer for
The countermeasure study included RRFB, HAWK,
Shared Lanes, and Crosswalk Markings.
Results showed signals were effective in reducing
accidents by 69 percent.
The type of marking made a difference.
Bar pairs and continental markings were most effective.
Lit Review Five:
Bartlett, et al (2012)
Bartlett, et al,
studied medians and
Reports showed that
using medians and
walkways can reduce
the number of
Alternative 1: Rectangular Rapid
RRFB contains two LED
Distance between flashers
is 9 inches.
Flashing pattern catches
Uses a stutter flash effect
similar to EMS vehicles.
Alternative 1: RRFB
In St. Petersburg, this was
the most effective
increasing the number of
drivers who yielded to
pedestrians in the
The cost for two units
ranges from 10,000 to
HAWK Crossing System
Uses standard crosswalk signal with two red lights over one
Light is dark until button is pushed and system is activated.
Yellow light changes from flashing to solid.
Alerts drivers to stop.
The two red lights come on and the pedestrians get a walk
Alternative 2: HAWK
Overall reviews were good
but there were two issues
with this system.
The dark beacons are hard
Some people think it is a
broken traffic light and
Cost is 80,000 dollars.
Medians are areas between lanes of traffic.
Raised medians are the most effective but they cost
anywhere from 15,000 to 30,000 dollars per 100 feet.
The road also needs to be wide enough for the raised
Alternative 3-Flashing Crosswalk
Flashing crosswalks are a series of flashing lights installed just
below the pavement surface.
They warn motorists that pedestrians want to cross.
Cost is 15,000 to 18,000 dollars.
They increase the yielding rate from 16 percent to 92
The purpose of the ARP was to provide the best solution
to a problem in a public service organization.
The project was designed to use a quantative
methodology to select the most effective traffic control
device to improve pedestrian safety on Fort Myers
The comparative analysis will determine which of the
four traffic devices studied will be the best choice for the
Town of Fort Myers Beach.
Selection of Best Alternative
The quantative and comparative analysis
concluded that the best alternative for Fort Myers
Beach is the flashing crosswalks.
Alternative 4 scored 172 points.
The rectangular rapid flashing beacon came in
second with 166 points.
The raised medians was third at 146.
HAWK system came in last with 145.
Year One-Set up control crosswalks using only zebra stripes
to determine which 10 crosswalks will get the treatment.
YearTwo-Determine the total cost and work with Lee
County to secure funding and install the treatment on the 10
crosswalks that were chosen.
YearThree-Begin the evaluation process which will compare
the crosswalks with and without treatment to determine if
the system is effective.
Year Four- If the system is effective, install it in the
Observe and record the behaviors of the drivers
and the pedestrians as they interact with the
Observe and record the number of times a driver
or pedestrian is forced to take evasive action to
avoid an accident in the crosswalk.
Study the number of accidents that have
occurred in the crosswalk before and after the
Thank you for taking
the time to listen to
The Town of Fort
Myers Beach should
make every effort to
install the flashing
crosswalk to ensure
the safety of all
residents and visitors.
Bartlett, Jennifer, Brett Graves, Theo Petritsch, and Tamara Redmon.
(2012). Proven countermeasures for pedestrian safety. Public Records.
United States Department of Transportation. FHWA-HRT-12-003.
Retrieved from www.flfhwa.dot.gov/publications/public roads 29
Do, Ann, Kay Fitzpatrick, Susan Chrysler, Jim Shurbutt, William
Hunter, and Shawn Turner. (2011) Safety Strategies Study. Public Roads.
United States Department of Transportation. FHWA Number: HRT-
11-004. Retrieved from www.flhwa.dot.gov/publications/public
roads. 20 May 2013
Federal Highway Administration.(2010). Safety beneﬁts of raised medians
and pedestrian refuge areas . United States Department of Transportation.
medians_brochure.pdf1 June 2013.
Godfrey, David. (1999). Kirkland's experience with in-pavement flashing
lights at crosswalks. Institute of Transportation Engineers Annual
Meeting. Retrieved from
PageMode=Print. 29 May 2013.
Hefferan, Jennifer and Peter Laggerwey (2004). The city of Seatle, WA, USA,
crosswalk and inventory improvement plan. ITE Journal. Retrieved from www.
Ite.org/membersonly/itejournal/pdf/2/2004. 24 May 2013.
Huang, Herman, Charles Zeeger, and Richard Nassi (2000). Effects of innovative
pedestrian signs at unsignalized locations: three treatments. In Annual meeting
compendium of technical papers [CD-ROM]. ITE. Washington, DC. Retrieved
from http://www.ite.org/traffic/documents/AB00H5102.pdf. 17 May 2013.