Pedestrian Crossing - Grade Separation

Most pedestrian crashes occur while the pedestrian was attempting to cross the road. One effective way of preventing crashes between vehicles and pedestrians is placing them at different levels, or 'grade separating' them.

In urban situations where pedestrian crossing signals would cause congestion or crashes (due to high traffic speeds), a grade separated pedestrian crossing, such as an overpass or an underpass, may be used. Outside of urban areas in situations where there is pedestrian demand in high speed environments, this treatment may also be applied.

Grade separated pedestrian crossings reduce pedestrian crashes but they also have some disadvantages

  • they are costly
  • they sometimes become crowded with street traders
  • pedestrians may avoid them if there are a lot of steps to climb up or down
  • if they are not well-lit and patrolled, they may pose a personal security risk
  • underpasses are susceptible to flooding and can become unusable if not routinely maintained.

    • Reduced pedestrian/vehicular conflict.
    • Can help to reduce fatal and serious injuries involving pedestrians and bicyclists.
    • Traffic flow improvements.
    • Pedestrians tend only to use crossing facilities located at, or very near, to where they want to cross the road. Pedestrian fencing can be used to encourage pedestrians to use crossing facilities.
    • Where a lot of bicyclist traffic is present a pedestrian underpass or overpass can be used by cyclists as well as pedestrians, but this will require shallow approach ramps and therefore additional land.
    • Consideration should be given to improving accessibility for the mobility impaired. This may include design features such as sufficient width to accommodate wheelchairs and ramps or lifts as an alternative to steps.

    Benefits

    • Reduced pedestrian/vehicular conflict.
    • Can help to reduce fatal and serious injuries involving pedestrians and bicyclists.
    • Traffic flow improvements.

    Implementation issues

    • Pedestrians tend only to use crossing facilities located at, or very near, to where they want to cross the road. Pedestrian fencing can be used to encourage pedestrians to use crossing facilities.
    • Where a lot of bicyclist traffic is present a pedestrian underpass or overpass can be used by cyclists as well as pedestrians, but this will require shallow approach ramps and therefore additional land.
    • Consideration should be given to improving accessibility for the mobility impaired. This may include design features such as sufficient width to accommodate wheelchairs and ramps or lifts as an alternative to steps.

    Did you know?

    Where pedestrian fencing is required to control pedestrian movements, it also provides useful guidance for vision impaired pedestrians.

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    Treatment Summary

    Costs
    High
    Treatment life
    20 years +
    Effectiveness
    60% or more

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