Mid-block crossings

Crossing the road can be a dangerous proposition for pedestrians. In urban areas with multiple lanes of traffic, distractions all around and travelers using various modes of transportation, the hazards are everywhere. City planners typically install crosswalks at intersections to help pedestrians cross. However, the majority of pedestrian fatalities happen when they try to cross the street mid-block — whether at an unmarked crosswalk or in an area where they’re not supposed to cross. Highly visible mid-block crosswalks can help reduce these types of pedestrian crashes and fatalities.

There were 6,227 pedestrian deaths in the U.S. in 2018, according to GHSA — a 28-year high. Almost 75% of those occurred when pedestrians tried to cross the road mid-block, instead of at intersections.
Woman and child confidently crossing the street at mid-block crossing with curb bump out.
An urban safety solution: high-visibility mid-block crossings.

Protect pedestrians. Reduce collisions. Save lives.

Key factors contribute to mid-block pedestrian fatalities:

  • Drivers are less likely to look for pedestrians crossing in these areas.
  • Vehicles are traveling faster than they are at intersections.

Well-marked, highly visible mid-block pedestrian crosswalks are a proven, cost-effective way to improve safety for pedestrians in urban areas. By determining where pedestrians are most likely to cross and installing crosswalks in these locations, we can help increase the visibility of pedestrians and driver awareness of people crossing the road.

  • Standalone sign with yellow background and black image of two people crossing street and words “school crossing.”

    A Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) guide to improving crosswalk visibility

    A number of factors, including low-light conditions, parked cars obstructing views and curved roads can all make it difficult for drivers to see crosswalks in time to react. The FHWA recommends steps to enhance the visibility of crosswalks, including adding traffic lights to crosswalks, using high-visibility markings and installing traffic signs to warn drivers of crosswalks. According to the FHWA, “Crosswalk visibility enhancements can reduce crashes by 23-48%.”

Designing and building effective mid-block crossings

Recommendations for infrastructure and road designers to help pedestrians safely cross the road.

More and more, city planners are realizing that pedestrian crosswalks are needed where people actually cross the street, including mid-block. Infrastructure and traffic safety devices are a low-cost, effective way to help improve pedestrian crosswalk visibility and calm traffic in these locations.

  • Yellow and black sign with image of pedestrian and words “next 1000 feet.”
    High-visibility traffic signs

    Traffic signs help indicate to pedestrians where they can cross while warning drivers of an approaching crosswalk, or curb bump-out, in time to reduce their speed and stop. For traffic signs to be most effective, they need to be highly visible and conspicuous in a range of conditions, including at dawn, dusk, night or in inclement weather.

  • Highly visible pavement markings, including crosswalk and lane dividing line, at night.
    Retroreflective pavement markings

    Highly visible retroreflective pavement markings provide on-road indications of crosswalks for both pedestrians and motorists. Advanced wet retroreflective pavement markings use next-generation optics to improve visibility in all conditions — night or day, rain or shine.

  • Line of orange bollards with white reflective tape to distinguish protected lane on road.
    Channelizers and delineators

    Channelizers and delineators are a cost-effective way to create median refuges — designating safe spaces for pedestrians to wait as they cross larger streets. Apply retroreflective sheeting to channelizers to ensure they’re highly visible to motorists.

  • Stacked road signs, one depicting two driving lanes and one turn lane, and the other with the words “center lane.”
    Road diets

    Road diets are an FHWA-recommended countermeasure to reduce the number of lanes in your street — typically from four lanes to two lanes with a shared turn lane in the middle. This reduces the number of lanes pedestrians must cross while creating more space for other traffic safety enhancements like curb extensions and median refuges.

Building safer roads for urban growth in populated cities

Traffic safety products for mid-block crossings

3M traffic safety devices are engineered to be more visible, more conspicuous, more durable and more versatile, helping you build safe and effective complete streets where pedestrians avoid jaywalking.

Related to mid-block crossings

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