Researcher demos methods for safer crossings
This past August, RSI researcher Ron Van Houten, professor of psychology–human factors at Western Michigan University, took his research findings to the street—literally—by leading several pedestrian safety workshops and presentations in Minneapolis. On August 29, Van Houten accompanied approximately 15 City of St. Paul (Minnesota) staff on a bus tour of some key pedestrian conflict sites in the city and provided insight about how to best address these sites. RSI director Max Donath and Minnesota Traffic Observatory director John Hourdos also attended. On August 30, Van Houten gave a follow-up presentation to 31 St. Paul city staff and citizen representatives and two Minnesota Department of Transportation staff, sharing research findings about effective and low-cost ways to improve pedestrian safety at street crossings.
On August 31, Van Houten presented a pedestrian safety workshop and walking tour for 15 attendees at the American Public Works Association (PWX) annual conference, held in Minneapolis. After giving a presentation about research-based pedestrian safety improvements, he led a walking tour to a nearby intersection, where, with assistance from the City of Minneapolis, he set up a demonstration of an R1-6 sign gateway. Participants observed driver behavior and pedestrian crossings before and after the temporary gateway installation. Prior research has shown that a gateway configuration of R1-6 in-street signs placed on each side of a road, on lane lines, and on the centerline produces a marked increase in the percentage of motorists yielding right-of-way to pedestrians on uncontrolled crosswalks on multilane roads.