Pedestrian Refuge Island

Most pedestrian crashes happen while the pedestrian is attempting to cross the road. Crossing a busy road with fast flowing traffic can be very difficult.

Pedestrian refuge islands can help pedestrians to cross such roads safely. They can be used where there is a demand for pedestrians to cross the road, but where the numbers of pedestrians are not high enough to warrant a signalised pedestrian crossing.

Pedestrian refuge islands are raised median islands that provide a location for pedestrians to safely wait for a gap in the traffic so they can finish crossing the road. This makes crossing the road easier for pedestrians by allowing them to cross in two stages and deal with one direction of traffic flow at a time.

Pedestrian refuge islands should ideally be at least 1.8 metres wide (narrow refuge islands put pedestrians at risk of being hit by truck side mirrors) and can be part of an unsignalised pedestrian crossing.

Refuge islands are usually used on wide, multi-lane roads. They can be helpful where pedestrian crossings would result in traffic congestion.

Traffic islands at intersections can also act as refuge islands (especially to assist in movement across the minor road), and provide additional safety benefit at these locations.

  • Reduced pedestrian crashes.
  • Separating traffic moving in opposite directions to reduce head-on and overtaking crashes.
  • May slow vehicular traffic by narrowing the lanes.
  • Ensures pedestrians need only cross one lane of traffic at a time.
  • Pedestrian refuge islands must be clearly visible to traffic during both day and night.
  • Refuge islands should be placed where there is a demand from pedestrians to cross.
  • Where cyclists are present, refuge islands must not narrow the lanes too much.
  • Turning movements from driveways and intersections must be considered in planning the location of pedestrian refuges.
  • Consideration should be given to improving accessibility for the mobility impaired. This may include design features such as paved footpaths with sufficient width to accommodate wheelchairs, dropped kerbs at pedestrian crossing points and tactile paving.

Benefits

  • Reduced pedestrian crashes.
  • Separating traffic moving in opposite directions to reduce head-on and overtaking crashes.
  • May slow vehicular traffic by narrowing the lanes.
  • Ensures pedestrians need only cross one lane of traffic at a time.

Implementation issues

  • Pedestrian refuge islands must be clearly visible to traffic during both day and night.
  • Refuge islands should be placed where there is a demand from pedestrians to cross.
  • Where cyclists are present, refuge islands must not narrow the lanes too much.
  • Turning movements from driveways and intersections must be considered in planning the location of pedestrian refuges.
  • Consideration should be given to improving accessibility for the mobility impaired. This may include design features such as paved footpaths with sufficient width to accommodate wheelchairs, dropped kerbs at pedestrian crossing points and tactile paving.

Did you know?

Lane-change crashes are common on high volume multi-lane roads

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