Reduce Pedestrian Fatal Crashes in Louisiana by Improving Lighting Conditions

Due to the stochastic nature of pedestrian crash occurrence, it is a challenge to investigate and pinpoint the exact common crash attributes. However, due to limited visibility at night, it is well accepted that pedestrians are vulnerable during that time. Thus, the nature of crashes and the effect of lighting at night should be clearly understood. The primary objective of this study is three fold - to review lighting policies/guidelines/practices in Louisiana and other states, investigate the impact of lighting conditions on pedestrian crashes, and estimate the benefit of lighting over the cost of crashes. The collected lighting policies and guidelines show that the majority of the states and cities within the United States have similar pedestrian lighting or overall streetlight policies. A total of 8,149 pedestrian crash data from 2014 to 2018 was explored. The data showed a higher fatality rate between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. The majority of crashes occurred in urban areas; however, the fatality rate was higher in rural areas. Even in rural areas, most pedestrian fatalities occurred in dark areas without light. The statistical model at intersections and segments found that areas with low pedestrian visibility are more likely to have illumination. In addition, the data-mining model suggests that driver impairment and their physical condition (inattentive, distracted, illness, fatigued, asleep), specific pedestrian and driver age group (>64 years), and crashes occurred in locations such as interstate and open country that were associated with the daylight condition. At dark with or without lights, pedestrian alcohol/drug involvement, pedestrian walking with/against the traffic, and pedestrian dark clothing were detected as key factors leading to crashes. Additionally, pedestrians on high-speed roadways were found to be vulnerable to fatal crashes in dark lighting conditions. A Crash Modification Factor (CMF) from the clearinghouse website was used to conduct the cost-benefit analysis. It revealed a significant effect of lighting, especially in reducing fatal and severe pedestrian crashes. Overall, the result indicates the positive impact of lighting on pedestrian crashes at both intersections and segments.

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  • Summary URL:
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    University of Louisiana, Lafayette

    Department of Civil Engineering, 104 University Circle
    Lafayette, LA  United States  70503

    Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development

    1201 Capitol Access Road, P.O. Box 94245
    Baton Rouge, LA  United States  70804-9245

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Thapa, Raju
    • Sun, Xiaoduan
    • Hossain, Ahmed
    • Mavra, Syeda Batool
  • Publication Date: 2022-9


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Maps; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 102p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01859810
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: FHWA/LA.17/674
  • Contract Numbers: LTRC Project No. 19-2SA; SIO No. DOTLT1000291
  • Created Date: Sep 30 2022 11:56AM