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Research Reports

MRR 223: Vehicle Speed Approaching Zebra Crossing On Federal Roads

Federal roads in Malaysia are one of the most travelled routes after expressways. However,   unlike  expressways,   these  main  arterial   roads  acting  as  connectors between cities and towns are often built alongside residential areas thus generating pedestrian activities. The presence of at-grade unsignalised pedestrian crossings on roads with drastic  changes  in traffic  patterns  or upgraded  roadways  is a concern that requires attention to. In the light of the above statements, there is a need to study the Malaysian scenario on speed at unsignalised pedestrian crossings.
Marked crossings generally only improve safety where there is sufficient pedestrian and traffic flow to result in significant numbers of pedestrians making risky crossings when  the  marked  crossing  is  absent.  For  example,  Ward,  1992,  (quoted  in  Ogden, 1996)   suggests   on   the   basis   of   British   data   that   installation   of   refuges   near pedestrian  generators  can  reduce  pedestrian  accidents  by  as  much  as  60%,  but where they are introduced  at uncontrolled  intersections,  even for safety reasons, accidents  are  only  reduced  by  10%;  if  no  safety  reasons  exist,  accidents  can increase. But risk at marked crossings is also very dependent on drivers respecting the need to stop for pedestrians,  which should match the operating  speed of the environment.
This  study  covers  all  of  the  four  unsignalised  pedestrian  crossings  on  a  primary arterial   road,   Federal   route   F005.   Findings   show   that   there   are   significant differences  of vehicle  speeds  at the  four  unsignalised  crossings.  Mean  speeds  of vehicles  were  found  to be lower  in urban  areas  (60 km/h)  as compared  to rural areas (77 km/h), incidentally  also school areas. In comparing the number of lanes, average speed differs significantly between two lanes and four lanes, where speeds were  recorded  to be lower  at crossings  on  two  lanes roads  (65  km/h  versus  73 km/h).  For  vehicle  class,  mean  speed  of  passenger  vehicles  was  found  to  be significantly  higher  (more  than  70  km/h  at  three  of  the  locations)  than other vehicles (below 70 km/h) at all locations. In terms of presence of pedestrians, both urban and rural areas recorded higher mean speeds during presence of pedestrians, the figure is being significant for urban areas (p<0.001). Mean speeds for both areas in  both  situations  of  presence  and  non-presence  of  pedestrians,  however,  were within the gazette speed limit.
Analysis on speed limit violations revealed that at all four locations; speed limit violations  were  less  in  presence  of  pedestrians.  In  the  presence  of  pedestrians, speed limit violations were also significantly lower on both sites with two lanes carriageway (11% compared to 47%%), and in comparing area type, the percentage of speed limit violations were higher in urban areas (51%) compared to rural areas (19%), possibly due to the lower speed limit set in these areas.
In conclusion,  the overall findings of speed of vehicles approaching  zebra crossing on federal road reveals that although majority of the vehicles were traveling within the posted speed limit, speed of vehicles at all crossing approaches,  as well as on crossing were no where near the safe speed for pedestrians of 30 km/h or even 50 km/h (Pasanen, 1992). Similar findings are expected to be seen on roads designed for high speed traffic (i.e. primary roads that are non residential roads). In this, the review  of  speed  patterns  on  roads  is  pertinent  in  the  placement of  type  of pedestrian crossings. This is reflective in the instances when roads are upgraded or receive   heavier   traffic,   necessary   changes   are   required   for   the   provision   of pedestrian facilities. In consideration that only four unsignalised crossings were recorded along F005 in Selangor, it is, therefore advisable that these crossings are given   consideration   for   upgrades   to signalised   crossings,   or   in   cases   where pedestrian volume is low and almost non-existent, these locations may instead use the uncontrolled crossing.

MRR223 Vehicle Speed Approaching Zebra Crossing on Federal Roads.pdf
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