Webinar: Improving Walkability at Signalized Intersections with Signal Control Strategies

Seminar Speaker: 
Edward Smaglik, Northern Arizona University; Sirisha Kothuri, Portland State University
Seminar Cost: 
Event Date: 
Thursday, January 26, 2017, 10:00am to 11:00am PST
Seminar Credit: 

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The goal of signal timing at an intersection should be to maximize efficiency for all users. In many jurisdictions, however, traffic signals are timed mostly with the goal of reducing vehicular delay.

Other road users, such as pedestrians, deserve similar focus. In legacy transportation systems, pedestrians experience delays much in excess of those that would be deemed acceptable for a motor vehicle at the same location.

Excessive delay can lead to pedestrian frustration, non-compliance and ultimately decreased safety.

In the North American context, implementation of strategies to address pedestrian service varies greatly across jurisdictions, and there has been limited research on incorporating alternative pedestrian treatments at signalized intersections.

Recent updates to the Highway Capacity Manual (HCM 2010) have included specific multimodal delay modeling techniques offering a bit more accommodation to pedestrians, but still remain heavily vehicle-centric. While strategies such as an exclusive pedestrian phase and leading pedestrian intervals can help improve the safety of pedestrian operations, legacy service of pedestrians requires that they still must wait for their turn

This webinar will present the details of alternative pedestrian strategies, as well as the results of recent research into the impact on delay that these treatments have on all users. At the conclusion, practitioner recommendations will be presented developed from the results of a user survey, field implementations of strategies, and software-in-the-loop (SITL).

Learning Outcomes:

  • Describe the details of various alternative pedestrian strategy designs to increase pedestrian safety and / or efficiency
  • Explain the impacts of these strategies on vehicle and pedestrian efficiency (delays)
  • Implement one or more of the presented strategies in a state-of-the-practice traffic controller
  • Select an alternative pedestrian treatment based upon operational objectives

Dr. Edward J. Smaglik is an associate professor of civil engineering at Northern Arizona University with over 10 years of academic research experience. He currently serves as a member on multiple national committees on traffic signals and operations and has taught courses in the area of traffic signals, urban transportation planning, and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). In addition to his teaching duties, Dr. Smaglik has served as the Principal Investigator on a variety of research projects.

Dr. Sirisha Kothuri is a research associate in civil engineering at Portland State University. Her research interests are in the areas of multimodal traffic operations and signal timing, pedestrian and bicycle counting, and performance measurement. She currently serves as the research co-chair of TRB’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Data subcommittee. She is involved with several research projects including evaluating signal timing strategies for reducing bicycle-vehicle conflicts and testing counting technologies for counting nonmotorized modes.