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Crosswalk Types

Crosswalks: Increasing Pedestrian Safety

Maggie Kearns Francis

December 7, 2020

The car was invented in 1886, but the majority of American households did not own cars until the 1950s. This transition meant an increase in traffic and public interest in pedestrian safety measure. Along with many other safety measures, this brought about the introduction of crosswalks.


As the volume and speed of cars continue to increase, greater attention must be given to keeping pedestrians safe. Especially today, as modes of active transportation continue to gain popularity and there are more pedestrians to yield to.

Crosswalks Increase Safety

Crosswalks serve multiple purposes simultaneously by:

  • Alerting drivers of approaching pedestrian crossing
  • Offering a safe crossing location to pedestrians
  • Assisting pedestrians in navigating skewed, offset, or complicated intersections


Studies have revealed the design of the crosswalk markings make a large impact on visibility. Installing high-visibility continental markings can lower pedestrian/vehicle crashes by 40%. Continental markings are visible at approximately twice the distance of conventional transverse markings. As a bonus, the continental markings can be strategically placed on the roadway to avoid the wheel path of traffic, reducing long-term maintenance costs. An example of highly visible continental crosswalks can be seen at our Hamilton Road Widening + Roundabouts project!


The width of crosswalks is another important safety consideration. Crosswalks six to ten feet in width have the highest visibility. The width should also be able to safely accommodate local pedestrian traffic volume.


Additional improvements to increase pedestrian safety at crosswalks and in pedestrian zones can include:

  • Raised mediums
  • Pedestrian signals
  • Signage
  • Curb extensions
  • Lighting
  • & more!

Reinforce Walkability

Walkability measures the extent the surrounding built environment is friendly to pedestrian movement. Walkability is increased by the installation of crosswalks. Frequent crosswalks and pedestrian safety zones reinforce walkability and have the potential to increase demand. 


High walkability scores have proven health, environmental, and economic benefits for the surrounding community. One national philanthropy organization has awarded grants to 10 cities across the country to install “Asphalt Art” in roadways (intersections and crosswalks), pedestrian spaces, and on vertical infrastructure. This is part of a larger project studying the safety, economic, and civic impacts of the installations.

Increase Pedestrian Safety in Your Community

By installing crosswalks at intersections, visibility is increased, speed is reduced, and pedestrians are kept safe! Contact us today to get started on your project and increase pedestrian safety in your community.