The Impact of a Signalized Crosswalk on Traffic Speed and Street-Crossing Behaviors of Residents in an Underserved Neighborhood

Infrastructure improvements such as pedestrian crosswalks that calm traffic and increase access to physical activity opportunities could alleviate important barriers to active living in underserved communities with outdated built environments. The purpose of this study was to explore how the built environment influences street-crossing behaviors and traffic speeds in a low-income neighborhood with barriers to active living in Columbia, Missouri. In 2013, a signalized pedestrian crosswalk and 400-ft-long median was constructed along a busy 5-lane, high-speed arterial highway linking low-income housing with a park and downtown areas. Data collection occurred prior to June 2012, and after June 2013, completion of the project at the intervention site and control site. Direct observation of street-crossing behaviors was performed at designated intersections/crosswalks or non-designated crossing points. Traffic volume and speed were captured using embedded magnetic traffic detectors. At the intervention site, designated crossings increased at the new crosswalk (p <0.001), but not at non-designated crossings (p = 0.52) or designated crossings at intersections (p = 0.41). At the control site, there was no change in designated crossings (p = 0.94) or non-designated crossings (p = 0.79). Motor vehicles traveling above the speed limit of 35 mph decreased from 62,056 (46%) to 46,256 (35%) (p <0.001) at the intervention site and increased from 57,891 (49%) to 65,725 (59%) (p <0.001) at the control site. The installation of a signalized crosswalk facilitated an increase in safe street crossings and calmed traffic volume and speed in an underserved neighborhood. The authors believe these findings have significant public health implications that could be critical to advocacy efforts to improve infrastructure projects in similar communities.

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    • Copyright © 2015 The New York Academy of Medicine.
  • Authors:
    • Schultz, Courtney L
    • Sayers, Stephen P
    • Wilhelm Stanis, Sonja A
    • Thombs, Lori A
    • Thomas, Ian M
    • Canfield, Shannon M
  • Publication Date: 2015-10


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01607994
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 15 2016 4:02PM