FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Second quarter crosswalk assessments conducted through the City’s SGF Yields pedestrian safety program indicate driver compliance at City-managed crosswalks has increased to an average of 52% across Springfield. This is an increase of four percentage points when compared to first quarter 2022.
The quarterly assessment, performed by Springfield Public Works Traffic Operations division since 2017, evaluates driver compliance at six crosswalk sites with similar traffic speeds and characteristics. Two locations are studied every quarter as a control group. The remaining sites are selected from each of the four City Council zones. Results from each location are averaged to produce a snapshot of driver compliance across the city.
“We’re excited to see the yielding average slowly going back up,” says Traffic Safety Professional Mandy Buettgen-Quinn. “After reaching an all-time high of 63% last fall after completing our Yield Check crosswalk enforcement events with the Springfield Police Department, compliance dipped back down to 48%. It’s great to see that even without enforcement, our education and engineering efforts are continuing to make a difference in driver behavior.”
Study sites for the second quarter of 2022 included crosswalks on Jefferson Avenue at Sunset Street, Campbell Avenue at Pershing Street, Bennett Street at Delaware Avenue, Grant Avenue north of Talmage Street, Bennett Street at Prince Lane (Pittman School) and Grant Avenue at Calhoun Street.
Springfield’s crosswalk yielding average began with 25% of drivers yielding when crosswalk assessments began in 2017. Since then, efforts in public education, crosswalk improvements, amendments to local crosswalk regulations and crosswalk enforcement have made a measurable impact in local driving habits. Crosswalk improvements made include the construction of pedestrian refuge medians and the installation of Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) at multiple crosswalks.
“RRFBs are pedestrian activated warning lights that are visible to drivers from a distance away, which gives drivers more time to slow down when walkers are present,” explains Traffic Safety Professional Mandy Buettgen-Quinn.
Initial compliance with stopping at crosswalks increased dramatically upon installation of the RRFBs, however, a recent study of compliance at all City-managed RRFB locations showed a general decrease in the yielding rate of these installations.
“We monitor driver compliance at RRFBs and have found them to be a very effective safety measure for two-lane roadways. Crosswalks that had less than 10% compliance shot up to 70-90% after RRFB installation,” Buettgen-Quinn says. “However, right now we’re observing that driver speeding may be causing lower RRFB compliance. As speeds increase, the less time drivers have to see the beacons and stop."
Buettgen says SGF Yields is stepping up education and awareness surrounding RRFBs. A public service announcement video and infographics about RRFBs are available at springfieldmo.gov/sgfyields. The SGF Yields Action Group, a group of concerned citizens, has also begun conducting outreach events at busy RRFB locations to offer community support and help raise awareness.
For more information on crosswalk compliance studies and the City’s efforts to increase pedestrian safety, visit the SGF Yields webpage at springfieldmo.gov/sgfyields.
For more information, please contact Communication Coordinator Kristen Milam at 573-819-3713 or [email protected].