4 - Pedestrian Facilities
Published: January 20, 2023
This chapter expands on the guidance provided in Chapter 3, focusing on specific factors that influence the design of pedestrian facilities. Pedestrian facility design decisions should be informed by the context of the complete roadway environment, including the adjacent and nearby land uses and traffic operations. The quality of the pedestrian environment is impacted by a number of factors, including traffic volumes and speeds, sidewalk widths, sidewalk buffer widths, block lengths, landscaping, lighting, and the design of street crossings, among others. The biggest determinants of pedestrian safety are a person’s proximity and exposure to motor vehicles while walking along streets and crossing streets.
4.2 Disabilities and Accessibility
A disability is the result of a medically defined condition that limits a person’s movement, sense, or activities. Disabilities can be permanent or temporary and can affect anyone at some time in their life. Disability types include:
- Physical (Orthopedic)
- Physical (Medical)
Orthopedic physical disabilities often require the use of a mobility device, including a cane, walker, wheelchair or prosthetic. Medical physical disabilities affect a person’s body, such as the lungs or heart, and can limit physical exertion. Vision and hearing disabilities include both full loss of either sense as well as low levels of function for those senses. Cognitive and neurological disabilities can include effects of brain injuries, autism or other impairments that can decrease decision making and recognition abilities.
Individuals with disabilities may experience accessibility issues when faced with:
- Curbs located along the edge of a roadway, at a driveway, on a median island, at roundabouts, or anywhere that the straight vertical face prohibits pedestrians from moving without requiring a step up, down, or over the curb
- Vertical discontinuities
- Route widths that prohibit movement through a corridor
- Steep grades or cross slopes that require extra exertion to overcome or that can cause instability
- Obstructions within the pathway that may go undetected and be struck by the individual
- Excessive reach distances to pushbuttons
- Accessible facilities that are blocked by other infrastructure and prohibit access
- Rough surfaces that cause jarring of the individual or impede manuverability over the surface
- Striping that is not high contrast
- Horizontal gaps in infrastructure that can cause tripping or catch mobility devices
- Roadway crossings
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, all programs and new and altered facilities, regardless of funding, must be designed to remove these barriers, create consistency in the accessible features, and ensure access for all users. Accessible designs are required for the following:
- Pedestrian over- and underpasses
- Pedestrian circulation paths (including temporary paths provided during construction or closure activities)
- Pedestrian street crossings including medians or crossing islands, roundabouts, and channelized turn lanes
- Signalized intersections
- Curb ramps
- Pedestrian signals and pushbuttons
- On-Street parking that is marked or metered
- Passenger loading zones
- Transit stops
- Pedestrian at-grade rail crossings
- Pedestrian signage
- Street furniture
- Ramps, stairways, or other facilities to access buildings that fall within the public right-of-way
ODOT has identified the 2011 Proposed Accessibility Guidelines for Pedestrian Facilities in Public Rights-of-Way (PROWAG) as the current governing design document for accessible features on transportation projects. With this identification, the requirements found within the 2011 PROWAG, except for R306.3.2 Pedestrian Activated Signals, are mandatory and must be complied with on ODOT-Let and Local-Let projects. This chapter provides guidance on accessible design criteria as defined by ADAAG, PROWAG, and ODOT requirements. For ODOT’s current roundabout guidance, see Section 9.4.4.
To satisfy the requirements of the ADA, transportation projects must provide accessible designs as outlined in this chapter. Deviations from accessible design standards should be justified and documented (see Section 126.96.36.199).
4.3 Pedestrian Zone Design
4.3.1 Types of Pedestrian Facilities
A variety of facilities can accommodate pedestrians. The design of each facility is dependent on the adjacent land uses and overall project context. This section provides an overview of these facilities with guidance for each provided throughout this chapter.
188.8.131.52 Walkways and Sidewalks
Sidewalks and paved or improved walkways are the primary facility for accommodating pedestrians. A sidewalk is a walkway that is located along a roadway. A walkway may follow the roadway alignment, or it may be located on an independent alignment that is for use by pedestrians.
184.108.40.206 Shared Use Paths and Side Paths
Shared use paths and side paths are walkways that are also used by bicyclists and other non-motorized users. They are discussed in more detail in Chapter 5.
220.127.116.11 Roadway Shoulders
Wherever pedestrians are expected, pedestrian facilities should be provided. ORC Section 4511.50 states:
- Where a sidewalk is provided and its use is practicable, it shall be unlawful for any pedestrian to walk along and upon an adjacent roadway.
- Where a sidewalk is not available, any pedestrian walking along and upon a highway shall walk only on a shoulder, as far as practicable from the edge of the roadway.
- Where neither a sidewalk nor a shoulder is available, any pedestrian walking along and upon a highway shall walk as near as practicable to an outside edge of the roadway, and, if on a two-way roadway, shall walk only on the left side of the roadway.
The preferred facility for pedestrian travel along a road is a sidewalk. Shoulders are not a substitute for well-designed pedestrian facilities, however when pedestrians are expected and the roadside space is constrained, it is preferable to accommodate pedestrians by providing a wide shoulder to reduce pedestrians walking within the roadway. The use of a shoulder as a pedestrian facility will be determined on a case-by-case basis and approved by the ODOT Office of Roadway Engineering. In some situations, such as accessing transit stops or key community resources, the provision of accessible slopes, accessible widths, and detectable warning surfaces within the shoulder may be appropriate.
Wide shoulders may also be used as an interim measure until sidewalks can be installed. For other techniques where sidewalks are not possible or for interim treatments, designers may reference the information on the design and implementation of pedestrian lanes in FHWA’s Rural Design Guidance.
Shoulders intended to be used by pedestrians should be maintained in a manner that supports pedestrian use. This includes clearing the shoulder of debris and vegetation and maintaining the surface condition. Special attention should be paid to drainage design and snow storage policy to maximize pedestrian safety and comfort.
18.104.22.168 Shared Streets
Shared streets shall be organized in a manner that facilitates navigation by pedestrians with vision disabilities. Accessibility requirements shall follow the requirements of sidewalks. Visual and tactile cues should be provided to identify the presence of a shared street and to delineate between pedestrian-only and shared zones, including from the crossing sidewalk. Surface treatments and materials can vary, but for the shared street to be accessible the surface must be firm and stable. While there are no specific design requirements besides adhering to the accessibility requirements for sidewalks, there are several resources available to support the design of accessible shared streets. The FHWA Accessible Shared Streets Guide and the NACTO Urban Street Design Guide both provide guidance on best practices for shared streets.
4.3.2 Pedestrian Zone Framework
The space between the curb, or edge of pavement on uncurbed roadways, and the property line plays an important role in:
- providing safe and efficient movement of pedestrians of all ages and abilities;
- access to properties, on-street parking, and transit;
- space for above ground street utilities, traffic control, street scaping, green infrastructure, and street furniture; and
- space for outdoor dining, street vendors, and other community life.
This space can include three zones: the pedestrian through zone, the frontage zone, and the buffer zone. Each performs unique functions in the overall operation of the street, and each interfaces with adjacent private property uses. Although boundaries between zones may blur and blend, the overall function of each zone generally remains consistent. Figure 4-1, Figure 4-2, and Figure 4-3 demonstrate the pedestrian zone for three different contexts.
Figure 4-1: Curbed Roadway
Figure 4-2: Uncurbed Roadway
Figure 4-3: Uncurbed Roadway Where No Sidewalk Is Provided
Table 4-1: Pedestrian Zone with Sidewalk Widths for Urban Core, Urban, Suburban, and Rural Town Areas
Frontage Zone Minimum Width (FT) (A)
Pedestrian Through Zone Sidewalk Width (FT) (B)
Buffer Zone Width (FT) (C) (D)
Central Business District
2 – 6
8 - 14
4 – 8
2 – 6
6 – 8
2 – 8
5 – 7
2 – 6
Table 4-2: Pedestrian Zone with Shoulder Widths for Rural Areas
Pedestrian Through Zone Shoulder Width (FT)
Buffer Zone Width (FT)
Highway (ADT > 2,000 and less than 1 dwelling unit per acre)
See L&D Manual Volume 1, Figure 301-3 of (5 ft. minimum)
1.5 ft. to 4 ft.1
Highway (ADT < 2,000)
See AASHTO’s A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets for combined traveled way and shoulder widths for local roads, collectors and Arterials
Pedestrian Through Zone
The Pedestrian Through Zone, also known as the “walking zone” or Pedestrian Access Route (PAR), is the portion of the sidewalk, shared use path, or shoulder used for pedestrian movement. For it to function, it must be kept clear of obstacles and be wide enough to comfortably accommodate expected pedestrian volumes, including those using mobility assistance devices, pushing strollers, or pulling carts.
Width: Refer to Table 4-1 and Table 4-2. In locations with very high pedestrian volumes, additional width should be considered.
Special Considerations: An accessible corridor is not necessarily an intuitive corridor. While sidewalks do not need to be perfectly straight, the Pedestrian Through Zone should not weave back and forth in the right-of-way. Figure 4-4 below illustrates two accessible corridors. For pedestrians with vision disabilities, a straight, wide corridor free from obstacles (as shown in the photo on the left) is easier to navigate than one requiring maneuvers or adjustments to the travel path to avoid obstacles (as illustrated in the photo on the right).
Figure 4-4: Photos showing an accessible and intuitive Pedestrian Through Zone versus a compliant but unintuitive Pedestrian Through Zone
The Frontage Zone is defined as the area between the back of the sidewalk and the property line which may coincide with the face of a building. In residential areas, the Frontage Zone may be occupied by front stairs, lawns, or other landscape elements that extend from the front door to the Pedestrian Through Zone edge. The Frontage Zone of commercial properties might include architectural features or projections, outdoor retailing displays, café seating, awnings, signage, and other intrusions into or use of the public right-of-way. Along some streets, the Frontage Zone is unimproved, but is present to accommodate sidewalk maintenance.
Width: Frontage Zone width will vary based on context, see Table 4-1. In general, a 2 ft. Frontage Zone is the recommended minimum, and a 1 ft. Frontage Zone is an acceptable minimum in constrained conditions. People walking tend to shy away from a building, wall, fence, steps or railing by at least 1 ft. Where buildings or other continuous objects are located against the back of the sidewalk and constrained situations do not provide width for the Frontage Zone, the effective width of the Pedestrian Through Zone is reduced by 1 ft.
The Buffer Zone, or “landscape zone,” lies between the curb or edge of pavement and the Pedestrian Through Zone. In commercial areas, this zone may include hardscape pavement, pavers, or tree grates. In residential, or lower intensity areas, it is commonly a planted strip. The slope of the buffer zone varies, with 4-8 percent being typical. While the defined Buffer Zone lies behind the curb, on-street parking or bike lanes within the curb-to-curb width can also act as a sidewalk buffer by increasing the separation between the pedestrians and moving motor vehicle traffic. On curbed roadways where there is no on-street parking or bicycle lane, a sidewalk buffer is recommended.
When a roadway is uncurbed and surface runoff is collected in a roadside ditch or drainage swale, the swale may be between the Pedestrian Through Zone and traveled way as it eliminates the need for dedicated buffer space, limits the runoff and, reduces the chances of ice during winter months, and maximizes the space between pedestrians and motorized vehicles. However, the location of the drainage swale or ditch in relation to the Pedestrian Through Zone may vary depending on the context of the facility.
Width: Buffer Zone widths are described in Table 4-1 and Table 4-22. When sidewalks are not present and pedestrians are using a roadway shoulder, a buffer may be inclusive of a rumble strip.
- The Buffer Zone can provide space for snow cleared from streets and sidewalks, although snow storage should not impede access to or use of important mobility fixtures such as parking meters, bus stops, and curb ramps.
- The Buffer Zone may extend into the parking lane by the use of curb extensions to provide additional space for trees, pedestrian ramps, bus shelters, bicycle parking, waiting areas, or other needs.
4.3.3 Walkway Surface Design
The accessible pedestrian facility design criteria are established by PROWAG and ODOT design requirements that meet the USDOJ and FHWA federal accessibility requirements. The design parameters in this chapter are intended to provide core criteria to be met on a project to satisfy federal accessibility requirements. There are several controlling criteria for a walkway to comply with the PROWAG and ODOT requirements for a pedestrian access route:
- Running Slope
- Cross Slope
- Surface Treatment
- Vertical Alignment/Vertical Surface Discontinuity
- Obstacles and Protruding Objects
- Horizontal Openings
Refer to Section 4.3.2 for sidewalk width requirements and recommendations.
The running slope is measured longitudinally along a walkway. The following table summarizes the maximum criteria for ADA compliant running slopes.
Table 4-3: Summary of ADA Compliant Running Slopes for Pedestrian Walkways
Maximum Running Slope
Adjacent to Street
Matching grade of street
5 percent maximum without railing
Within Street Crossing
5 percent maximum
The cross slope of a pedestrian facility is measured perpendicular to the direction of pedestrian travel. Cross slopes can influence the stability and ease of maneuvering for pedestrians using a mobility device. When the cross slope is steep, pedestrians must shift their body weight and use more energy to maneuver through a corridor. Figure 4-5 illustrates the effect of sidewalk cross slope on a pedestrian using a wheelchair. As a pedestrian leans his or her body to compensate for a steep cross slope, the pedestrian’s balance is impacted, causing instability and requiring more energy to make maneuvers, such as turning to align with a curb ramp.
Figure 4-5: Impacts of Sidewalk Cross Slope On Pedestrian Stability
Cross slope requirements apply to all sidewalks and walkways, street crossings, and at-grade railroad crossings, as well as pedestrian overpasses and underpasses and similar structures. The cross slope must meet or be less than the compliant cross slope for the entire width of the pedestrian access route. A driveway crossing should maintain a level pedestrian zone (see ODOT L&D Manual Volume 1, Figure 803-3, for sidewalk design at drives). Where pedestrian street crossings are without yield or stop control conditions, or at a traffic signal that is designed for a green phase and vehicles do not slow to navigate the intersection, pedestrian street crossings have different cross slope maximums. The following table provides maximum cross slope information within the pedestrian access route.
Table 4-4: Summary of ADA Compliant Cross Slopes for Pedestrian Walkways
Maximum Cross Slope
Within Street Crossing Without Yield or Stop Control at Intersection
Mid-block Street Crossing
Match grade of street
All Other Pedestrian Walkways
The sidewalk surface treatment affects the overall accessibility and comfort of the facility. The requirement is that the surface shall be a reduced vibration zone which is stable, firm, and slip resistant. Concrete and asphalt are the most commonly used surfaces, though other materials such as stone, brick, or pavers may be considered.
Concrete is the most commonly used sidewalk material. It provides a firm, smooth surface, with a color that contrasts from adjacent asphalt roadways, and its rigidity helps to maintain stable surface conditions over time. Asphalt can be used for sidewalks but is more commonly used for shared use paths. Although asphalt is firm and smooth, it does not provide a good contrasting color from asphalt roadways, and as a flexible pavement material it may adjust over time to slopes that no longer meet accessibility requirements. Where materials like bricks or pavers are used for aesthetic reasons, designers should design these treatments with a rigid base to avoid non-uniform settlement and surface irregularities that can be uncomfortable or inaccessible for wheelchair users or people pushing strollers. Bricks and pavers also tend to require more maintenance to maintain appropriate slopes and grades, which should be considered by the maintaining agency or property owner(s).
Vertical Alignment/Vertical Surface Discontinuity
The vertical alignment of the pedestrian access route shall be generally planar and smooth, promoting easy rollability. Materials that are textured, rough, or chamfered and cannot be placed in a manner that creates a planar and smooth surface should only be used for borders or used occasionally crossing the pedestrian access route.
Vertical surface discontinuities can prohibit movement between surfaces and create potential tripping hazards or areas where mobility devices can become stuck. Vertical surface discontinuities shall be 0.5 inches maximum, and any irregularity between 0.25 inches and 0.5 inches shall require a bevel with a slope no steeper than 50 percent applied across the entire surface of the irregularity. Objects such as utility covers, vault frames, and grates should not be located within curb ramp runs, blended transition turning spaces, or gutter areas within the pedestrian access route.
Obstacles and Protruding Objects
The Pedestrian Through Zones or walkways specified in Section 4.3.2 represent a clear or unobstructed pedestrian travel way. Designers should be aware of the three-dimensional corridor which makes up a pedestrian accessible route and place above-ground utilities, light poles, signs, fire hydrants, mailboxes, parking meters, street furniture, and other appurtenances outside of this sidewalk area. If unable to avoid keeping objects out of this space, then certain dimensional requirements must be maintained; see ADA Standards R307 Protruding Objects for requirements.
Directional indicators may also be used to aid pedestrians in taking the appropriate path through an area. Directional tactile indicators, sometimes known as Leading Tactile Surfaces, orient pedestrians to the intended direction of travel with raised bars installed within the walking surface. These are intended to lead pedestrians with low vision or blindness along a path free of obstacles, and they frequently terminate at detectable warning mats. Typically, these are used when usual environmental cues such as curb or edge of pavement are missing, as is often the case at shared or flush streets or along sidewalk-level separated bike lanes. They are also used to provide directional orientation in large open spaces and to designate a continuous accessible route that avoids hazards. There is no ADA requirement for the use of directional indicators, but guidance for their use should conform with International Standard Organization (ISO) standard 23599 and existing FHWA guidance.
Gratings and other utility covers should be placed outside of the sidewalk area to the maximum extent feasible, and where present in the PAR they must meet accessibility standards. Horizontal openings within a pedestrian access route (such as utility or drainage grates or joints) shall not be greater than 0.5 inches in diameter, with the elongated opening of the grate placed perpendicular to the predominant direction of travel.
4.4 Intersections and Pedestrian Crossings
A safe and intuitive pedestrian crossing incorporates the proper layout of design elements such as curb ramps, traffic control devices, intersection corner radii, and sight distance that accommodates all users. Both pedestrian and vehicular conditions factor into the design of pedestrian crossings. For example, where pedestrian volumes have the potential to be high, crosswalks and pedestrian queuing areas need to be of sufficient width and area to accommodate the volume of pedestrians. As vehicle volumes increase, roadway width may increase to provide additional travel lanes, thus increasing crossing lengths for pedestrians and their exposure to traffic, necessitating the use of supplemental traffic control devices to assist their crossing of the roadway. The following section discusses intersection elements and recommendations to provide effective crossings for pedestrians.
4.4.1 Design for Safe, Accessible, and Convenient Crossings
Whether marked or unmarked, crosswalks exist at all legs of all intersections represented by the extension of the property lines, curb lines, or edge of the traversable roadway through the intersection, including T-intersections, except where signs prohibit pedestrian crossings. Mid-block crossings require the marking of a crosswalk to establish a crossing. At all crosswalks, motorists are required to yield to pedestrians when the pedestrian is within the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.
The following are characteristics of safe, accessible, and convenient pedestrian crossings:
- Proper visibility between approaching motorists and crossing pedestrians
- Appropriate frequency of crossing opportunities
- Minimal exposure to conflicts with motorists
- Minimal deflection in the line of travel
- Minimal delay to pedestrians waiting to cross at both signalized and unsignalized crossings
- Sufficient time for pedestrians to cross at signalized intersections
- High motorist yielding rates at uncontrolled crossings
- Clear communication to both drivers and pedestrians where pedestrians should cross the street
- Clear communication to pedestrians when it is safe to cross the street
It is critical that pedestrians have adequate visibility of motorists approaching within travel lanes and that motorists in the travel lanes can easily see pedestrians waiting at intersections and mid-block crossings. Elements such as parked vehicles, fences, buildings, hedges, and walls can impede the visibility between motorists and pedestrians. When possible, these elements should be restricted or relocated to provide proper visibility. Designers should refer to Section 3.5 for evaluating sight distances between pedestrians and motorists.
Curb extensions or bump outs (see Section 4.5.4) can increase visibility at intersections and mid- block crossing locations, particularly for shorter pedestrians such as people using wheelchairs and children. ORC Section 4511.68 restricts parking within 20 ft. of a crosswalk at an intersection and within 30 ft. of, and upon the approach to, any flashing beacon, stop sign, or traffic control device. Depending on the site conditions, curb extensions can be designed to prevent motorists from parking within these restricted areas without removing parking.
Visibility is also impacted by larger corner radii, which by design place curb ramps and sidewalks farther back from the intersection. Section 7.2.4 discusses corner radii design which may improve visibility in some instances.
Illuminated crossings should be provided to ensure that pedestrians and motorists can see at night. It also improves pedestrians’ sense of personal security and increases their visibility to approaching motorists when walking at night. When pedestrian crossings are expected to occur between dusk and dawn, designers should look to guidance described in Section 4.5.6 and the TEM for more information.
Frequency of Crossing Opportunities
Pedestrians should have safe, accessible, and convenient crossing opportunities at reasonable distances. Pedestrians will generally not travel out of direction and will cross at the most convenient location. A reasonable distance between crossing opportunities will depend on the land use context and pedestrian activity along the street. Distance is the primary factor in the initial decision to walk. The majority of pedestrian trips are 0.25 mi or less, with over 87 percent of walking trips less than 1 mi. Most people are willing to walk 5 to 10 minutes at a comfortable pace to reach a destination.2
In general, the frequency of crossing opportunities should be approximately the same spacing as the street grid in the surrounding area. In locations where the street grid results in block lengths over 600 ft. in length, and adjacent land uses that generate pedestrian traffic, mid-block crossings may be desirable to improve accessibility and walkability.3 See Section 2.5.1 for identifying potential crossing locations and Section 4.4.2 for determining the appropriate crossing treatments.
Safe, accessible, and convenient pedestrian crossings are an essential component of pedestrian facility design. Short street crossings improve pedestrian safety and comfort by reducing their exposure time and reducing the potential of vehicle-pedestrian conflicts. Depending upon the signal timing phasing used, short street crossings may also reduce vehicle delay. Pedestrian crossing distances should be minimized to the greatest extent possible. Short crossing distances may be achieved through one or more of the following treatments:
- Curb extensions– Section 4.5.4
- Median crossing islands – Section 4.5.3
- Realignment of crosswalks at offset or diagonal intersections
- Reducing wide vehicle and parking lane widths – Section 7.3
- Reducing number of vehicle lanes – Section 7.5
Minimizing pedestrian delay created by signal timing or a lack of gaps in traffic at unsignalized crossings decreases the likelihood that pedestrians will cross the street against a signal or without a sufficient gap in traffic. This may occur where delays exceed 40 seconds at signalized crosswalks and 20 seconds at unsignalized or yield-controlled crosswalks.4 At signalized intersections, pedestrian delay can be minimized by maintaining short signal cycles (see Section 8.3.3). At uncontrolled crossings, designers should evaluate the crossing conditions to understand whether pedestrians will have a sufficient frequency and length of gaps in traffic; where crossing opportunities are insufficient, additional traffic control may be necessary.
Managing Vehicle Speeds and Conflicts
At both signalized and unsignalized intersections, steps should be taken to ensure that turning speeds are kept low and that adequate sight distance is provided for roadway users and pedestrians. This is critical given that the chance of severe injuries for the pedestrian goes up as vehicle speeds increase. The following treatments can be used to reduce speeds and improve visibility or eliminate conflicts between roadway users and pedestrians:
- Minimizing curb radii – Section 7.2
- Turning lanes and channelized right turns – Section 7.2.6
- Turning restrictions – Section 8.3.4
- Leading pedestrian interval – Section 22.214.171.124
- Median islands or hardened centerlines– Section 7.2.7
- Raised crossings – Section 4.5.5
4.4.2 Factors That Impact Motorist Yielding Rates
Research has identified motor vehicle approach speed, roadway configuration, pedestrian assertiveness, vehicle class, and race of the pedestrian as having a major influence on motorist yielding rates. As intersecting traffic volumes approach 9,000 vehicles/day, vehicle speeds exceed 30 mph, or the number of travel lanes to be crossed exceed two lanes, the rate of motorist yielding for pedestrians and bicyclists at uncontrolled approaches drops significantly; this can create crossing challenges for people walking or bicycling (see Figure 4-6).5, 6 Additionally, the injury risk for pedestrians and bicyclists increases substantially when they are struck by vehicles operating at speeds over 30 mph (see Section 7.8). Research has also identified that drivers are less likely to yield to black pedestrians than white pedestrians, increasing the injury risk for street users who are black.7, 8 When street conditions exist that are not conducive to motorists yielding and pedestrians and/or bicyclists are likely to be present, additional design treatments and/or traffic control devices should be considered. Sections 4.4.3 and 6.4 provide recommendations for treatments based on the roadway context for pedestrian and bicycle crossings, respectively. Where pedestrians and bicyclist share a crossing, such as at a shared use path or side path, designers should follow the recommendations in Section 4.4.3.
Figure 4-6: Motorist Yielding at Uncontrolled Crossings Based on Roadway Characteristics
N = number of sites where observations were taken
* Traffic control at all study locations were limited to marked crosswalks and standard crossings signs (W11-1, W11-2, W11-15)
4.4.3 Selecting Pedestrian Crossing Treatments
Uncontrolled pedestrian crossings, including those crossings shared with bicyclists, such as shared use paths and side paths, should be designed with appropriate treatments and countermeasures to improve motorist yielding (see Section 4.4.2). Table 4-6 summarizes countermeasures which have been found to be effective at improving pedestrian safety based on research related to the number of motorist lanes, volumes, and operating speeds.
Table 4-6 should not be used to evaluate crossings without first establishing at which intersections or mid-block locations pedestrians desire to cross. Section126.96.36.199 provides guidelines for determining existing and potential pedestrian crossing locations. Designers should recognize that the consideration of pedestrian accommodations and countermeasures is not based on a pedestrian volume threshold; instead, these features should be considered if there is a desire for pedestrians to cross.
For uncontrolled bicycle crossings, see Section 6.4. For signalized intersections, treatments such as crosswalks, crossing islands, alternative signal phasing, and other physical elements that manage vehicle speeds should be considered based on context. Refer to Chapters 7 and 8 respectively for vehicle speed management and traffic signal phasing.
Table 4-6: Application of Pedestrian Crash Countermeasures by Roadway Speed, Volume, and Configuration20
4.4.4 Additional Considerations at Mid-block Crossings
Mid-block pedestrian crossings may be appropriate in a variety of contexts based on pedestrian desire lines, transit stop locations, land use context, and intersection spacing. Motorists are more likely to expect pedestrians at intersection locations and often drive at higher speeds in mid-block locations. Because of this, mid-block crossings should be used and designed to deliberately address pedestrian safety and improve motorist compliance.
Given the differences between intersection and mid-block crossings, there are several key considerations that designers must keep in mind in conjunction with those principles stated in Section 4.4.1:
- The crosswalk must be marked to establish a crossing
- The crossing location should be convenient for pedestrians
- Motorists should be alerted of the crossing as they approach it
- Pedestrians must be able to assess opportunities to cross
- All users must be aware of their responsibilities and obligations at the crossing and designers should ensure opportunities are provided to meet those responsibilities and obligations.
Designers should consider pedestrian volumes, motorist volumes, types of vehicles, traffic speeds, roadway characteristics (e.g., number of travel lanes, lighting), and adjacent land use context when determining if a mid-block crosswalk should be provided (see Section 188.8.131.52). Additionally, pedestrians have a strong desire to stay on their path of travel and do not want to go unnecessarily out of their way to utilize a crossing, so crossing locations should be placed at or near the pedestrian’s desired path of travel.
4.5 Pedestrian Crossing Treatment Design
A safe and intuitive pedestrian crossing incorporates the proper layout of design elements such as curb ramps, traffic control devices, intersection corner radii, and sight distance that accommodates all users.
184.108.40.206 Crosswalk Markings
Crosswalk markings are a basic tool for directing pedestrians across the street and alerting motorists and bicyclists of crossing pedestrians. Engineering judgement in conjunction with guidance in the OMUTCD and TEM should be used to determine when to mark a crosswalk. In general, marked crosswalks and other safety treatments should be prioritized at locations where pedestrians are vulnerable to conflicts with vehicles due to:
- High pedestrian and vehicle volumes, typical in town centers, at major bus stops, or near universities
- Vulnerable populations such as children, senior citizens, people with disabilities, or hospital areas
- Roadway conditions that make it difficult for pedestrians to cross, such as wide crossing distances, high traffic speeds, and/or complex intersection geometry
In some instances, crosswalk markings should be used in conjunction with other markings, signs, and warning beacons or signals. Refer to the OMUTCD and Table 4-69 to determine when to supplement crosswalk markings with other traffic control devices. Refer to the OMUTCD, TEM, and Chapter 8 of the MDG for additional information on the design and layout of pedestrian crossing traffic control devices.
There are two types of standard crosswalks. See below and Standard Construction Drawing TC-74.10 for additional information:
- Standard (transverse) crosswalk markings – A standard crosswalk consists of two transverse (parallel) lines, each a minimum of 12 inches in width.
- High-visibility (longitudinal) crosswalk markings – A high visibility ODOT Standard crosswalk consists of longitudinal lines only striped parallel to the direction of travel. Additionally, the OMUTCD allows longitudinal lines to be used alone or in addition to the transverse lines, thus creating a ladder-style crossing.
In general, longitudinal markings are more visible to drivers than the two transverse lines.10 They are commonly used as a safety countermeasure to alert drivers to unexpected pedestrian crossings or particularly vulnerable pedestrian users (such as school zones or transit stops). Where the determination has been made to install crosswalk markings on ODOT-maintained highways, the longitudinal bar crosswalk should be used in the following situations:
- At intersections where at least one approach has a speed limit of 35 mph or higher
- At all established mid-block pedestrian crossings and with appropriate signing accompaniment
Refer to the TEM, Section 301-6.1, and OMUTCD, Section 3B.18, for line widths and spacing criteria for both standard and high-visibility crosswalks. At any marked crosswalk, curb ramps and other sloped areas should be wholly contained within the crosswalk markings. The crosswalk lines should extend the full length of the crossing. The TEM, Section 301-6.2 discusses optional aesthetic treatments that may be used between the white crosswalk lines. See SCD TC 74.10 for spacing to avoid vehicle wheel paths.
220.127.116.11 Yield Markings
Yield lines may be used to indicate the point at which a bicyclist or motorist should yield in compliance with a yield sign, a Yield Here to Pedestrian (R1-5 or R1-5a) sign or a or Bicycle Yield to Peds (R9-6) sign. See OMUTCD, Section 3B.16 for guidance on yield markings.
An advance yield line can greatly reduce the likelihood of a multiple-threat crash, which occurs when a motorist stopped in one lane blocks the view of a second motorist. Advanced yield lines should be considered for any uncontrolled multi-lane crosswalk.
Advance yield markings should be placed per OMUTCD in advance of a marked or mid-block crosswalk to indicate where the vehicles are required to stop or yield and shall be paired with a Yield Here to Pedestrians (R1-5) sign.
Signage for the design of pedestrian facilities falls into two primary categories:
- Guide and wayfinding signs – see Section 5.7.1.
- Regulatory and warning signage for motorists – For additional resources see OMUTCD, Part 2 and Part 7, and TEM Part 2 and 7.
Pedestrian signage could include signing of ADA accessible routes, additional signage at crosswalks to clarify Walk/Don’t Walk signal applications, and directional signage for pedestrian crossings to indicate which intersection leg walk signal is activated by the signal pushbutton. This signage helps pedestrians understand how to navigate an intersection or where to cross and can further define the pedestrian route in a corridor.
4.5.3 Crossing Islands and Medians
At signalized intersections, single stage crossings are preferred. Where a wide intersection cannot be designed or timed to accommodate a pedestrian crossing of the intersection at one time, a crossing island or median must be provided with a pedestrian refuge. A crossing island should be considered where crossing distances are greater than 50 ft. to better accommodate slower- moving pedestrians. When a crossing island is placed at a signalized crossing, use pedestrian recall to prevent “trapping” a pedestrian in the median (see Section 8.3.3). For signal considerations to include timing at crossings, see Chapter 8. For multistage crossings at complex intersections and interchanges, see Chapter 9.
Raised medians are curbed medians located between travel lanes that serve as a pedestrian refuge space. Triangular channelization islands adjacent to right turning lanes can also act as crossing islands. Crossing islands can be coupled with other traffic calming features, such as partial diverters and curb extensions at mid-block and intersection locations (see Section 7.8.5).
The minimum width for a crossing island to provide an accessible refuge is 6 ft., measured from outside edge of the detectable warning surfaces, and the minimum width between detectable warning surfaces is 24 inches. Where medians are constructed using curbing and the detectable warnings are placed at the back of curb, the minimum width of the island is 7 ft., measured from curb face to curb face. Figure 4-7 illustrates a median crossing island with curbing where the detectable warning surface is placed at the back of the flush curb in the pedestrian refuge area. Figure 4-8 illustrates crossing islands with a 6 ft. width where detectable warnings are placed in line with the median island face of curb to meet accessibility requirements.
Crossing island width should be a minimum of 8 ft. on roadways with speeds of 50 mph or greater. The preferred minimum width is 10 ft., which accommodates bicyclists with trailers and wheelchair users more comfortably. Cut-through openings should match the width of the corresponding crosswalk. A “nose” that extends past the crosswalk toward the intersection is recommended to separate people waiting on the crossing island from motorists, and to slow turning motorists. Traffic control equipment, vegetation, and other aesthetic treatments may be incorporated, but must not obscure pedestrian visibility.
Figure 4-7: Median Crossing Island – Detectable Warning Surface Placed at Back of Curb
Figure 4-8: Median Crossing Island – Detectable Warning Surface Placed in Line with Island Face of Curb
4.5.4 Curb Extensions
On streets with on-street parking, curb extensions can be used at intersections and mid-block crossings to extend the sidewalk or curb line into the parking lane. Curb extensions reduce crossing distance for pedestrians and bicyclists, improve sight distance for all road users, and prevent parked cars from encroaching into the crosswalk area. At intersections, curb extensions can better control the effective turning radius (see Section 7.2.3) and can be used in conjunction with truck aprons (see Section 7.2.5).
Designers should consider the following for intersection and mid-block locations:
- Curb extensions are typically used where there is an on-street parking lane and its width is typically the width of, or 1 ft. less than, the width of the parking lane. Curb extensions may be considered for use where shoulders exist if bicyclists will not be operating on the shoulder.
- Mid-block curb extensions can be co-located with fire hydrants to maintain access to hydrants and to reduce impacts to on-street parking.
- Curb extensions can create additional space for curb ramps, low-height landscaping, and street furniture where sidewalks are otherwise too narrow. Care should be taken to ensure that street furniture and landscaping do not block motorists’ views of pedestrians.
- Curb extension designs should facilitate adequate drainage, either by providing inlets upstream of the curb extension, providing grading that maintains drainage flows along the curb line, or by providing a drainage bypass channel beneath the sidewalk. The designer should consider factors such as maintenance in the selection of drainage facilities, as some options may be more prone to clogging and require more routine maintenance to function properly, and the ability of bicyclists or pedestrians to safely traverse the structures or grating.
- Designers should consider providing reflective vertical elements to alert drivers and snowplow operators to the presence of curb extensions.
- The length of a curb extension should extend at least 20 ft. on both sides of the crosswalk, but can be longer depending on the use desired within the extension (e.g., stormwater management, bus loading, restricting parking) or where additional parking restrictions are desired (e.g., where “Advance Yield Here To Pedestrians Sign” and yield lines are provided more than 20 ft. from the crosswalk).
- Painted curb extensions may be used as an interim measure and should be paired with edge objects such as flexible delineators to create a sense of enclosure and buffer from motor vehicle traffic.
- Approaches to curb extensions can be created as a straight taper or using reverse curves, though reverse curves are easier for snowplow operators to guide along without catching the plow edge.
See DWG 4-1 for additional design details for curb extensions.
4.5.5 Raised Crossings
Raised crossings are an effective strategy for reducing crashes between motorists and crossing pedestrians and bicyclists because they provide a vertical change in the roadway to slow the speeds of motor vehicles, increase visibility of vulnerable street users, and increase yielding behavior of motorists.11,12 Raised crossings should be considered where motorists are required to yield the right of way to the crossing user. This includes locations such as:
- Unsignalized collector and local street crossings with side paths;
- Separated bike lanes along arterials;
- Crossings of driveways and alleys;
- Crossings of channelized right turn lanes and roundabouts; and
- Intersections where a large corner radius is required to accommodate large vehicles and truck aprons are not possible or desired.
A target speed of less than 10 mph for the raised area should be used on roadways with a posted speed of 25 mph, but a target speed of 10 - 20 mph may be used where crossing volumes are low. A target speed of 10 - 20 mph for the raised area should be used on roadways with a posted speed of 30 mph. Raised crossings are not appropriate across streets where posted speeds are over 30 mph or where roadway grades exceed 8 percent. Designers should also consider the effects of raised crossings on drainage and pedestrian accessibility and must coordinate designs with emergency services.
Raised crossings are similar to speed tables and should have the following design characteristics (See Figure 4-9):
- A width of 10 to 12 ft. for the flat portion of the crossing is preferred. At a minimum, the width of raised crossings should be as wide as the connecting sidewalk and bicyclist path of travel (if relevant).
- For raised street crossings and raised driveway crossings where the driveway functions like a street, detectable warning surfaces must be provided at edges of sidewalks to indicate to pedestrians that they are exiting the sidewalk and entering the street.
- Designers should ensure that raised crossings meet accessible slope requirements.
- On-street parking and loading should be restricted at least 20 ft. before the marked crosswalk to provide adequate sight distance and visibility between people crossing and people driving, and to prevent drivers from having to pull forward onto the raised crossing to back into the first parking space. Designers should supplement parking restrictions with signage, pavement markings, and vertical elements such as flexible delineators or bollards where appropriate.
- Consider the use of raised crosswalks with curb extensions to maximize visibility and further slow traffic.
- On uncontrolled motor vehicle approaches, yield lines or speed hump markings should be used to indicate where motorists should yield to bicyclists and pedestrians.
- Provide a RAISED CROSSWALK sign.
- For driveways, the surface materials, color, and texture of the sidewalk, shared use path, and/ or separated bike lane should extend through the crossing, maintaining visual continuity to encourage motorists to yield at the crossing.
See DWG 4-2 for additional design details for raised crossings. See Section 7.8.3 to determine the appropriate target speed for the raised crossing.
Figure 4-9: Raised Driveway Crossings
Providing lighting on pedestrian facilities improves user safety at night and at other times when there are low-light conditions. Additionally, the presence of public lighting has the added benefits of increasing the comfort, real and perceived safety, and security of people and property.
The TEM, Section 1100 discusses highway lighting. The sections referenced below provide key design guidance that pertains to the design of lighting on or near pedestrian facilities.
- 1103-4 Land Use
- 1103-6.2 Intersections
- 1103-6.3 Pedestrian walkways
- 1140-4.6.4 Pedestrian Bridges
Guidance related to foundations, decorative poles and luminaires, and luminance (foot-candles) are discussed in more detail throughout Section 1100 of the TEM.
4.5.7 Driveways and Alleys
General driveway geometric design is discussed in L&D Manual Volume 1, Sections 803 and 804. The width and grade of the Pedestrian Through Zone should continue across residential and commercial driveways and alleys as shown in L&D Manual Volume 1, Figure 803-2. The driveway apron should be located within the Buffer Zone whenever possible.
It is preferable to maintain the sidewalk grade through the driveway. However, it may be appropriate to use a parallel ramp to meet driveway profile grading constraints; see L&D Manual Volume 1, Figure 803-3 for an example of grading using a parallel ramp. In existing constrained conditions, the Pedestrian Through Zone width may be reduced to 4 ft. And the sidewalk may be shifted back (See Figure 4-10). Cross slopes must meet accessibility requirements shown and adequate drainage must be provided to keep the Pedestrian Through Zone clear of water and ice.
Driveway and alley widths should be minimized to reduce entrance speed and reduce exposure at vehicle access points. Detectable warnings are not typically provided at driveways and alleys, as they are intended to communicate to pedestrians with vision disabilities that they are entering or exiting a travel lane. However, in some instances the geometry or traffic control at a driveway makes the crossing comparable to a street, and PROWAG recommends providing detectable warnings for these locations. Section 18.104.22.168 discusses when it may be preferable to include detectable warnings at driveways.
Figure 4-10: Sidewalk Configurations at Driveways in Constrained Locations
4.5.8 Parking Restrictions
Setting back parking and other visual obstructions from intersections and driveways provides appropriate sightlines and visibility between pedestrians and motorists. This can be achieved by restricting parking or stopping near crossings, intersections, and driveways. Parking can be restricted by using signs, pavement markings, flexible delineators, and/or curb extensions.
Parking restrictions should be:
- Signed or marked to prohibit parking for a minimum of 20 ft. on each side of a marked crosswalk or driveway, and for a minimum of 30 ft. prior to a flashing beacon, stop sign, or traffic control device. Additional space may be required based on engineering judgment or based on local regulations.
- Signed or marked to prohibit parking for a minimum of 5 ft. on each side of a minimum use driveway if there is a history of illegal parking behaviors at a particular location, or based on engineering judgment.
Designers may also consider the following:
- Using engineering judgement to determine if greater parking restrictions and fewer visual obstructions should be provided based on prevailing motor vehicle speeds or other intersection features.
- Using curb extensions to prevent motor vehicles from parking or stopping in restricted areas.
- When retrofitting existing pavement areas to be parking restricted areas, surface treatments (e.g., paint, epoxy coated aggregate), low height vertical elements (e.g., flex posts), bicycle parking, or multimodal hubs can be considered within restricted areas.
The application of one or more of these treatments may also help mitigate illegal parking near intersections.
4.5.9 Curb Ramps and Detectable Warning Surfaces
Curb ramps are an essential element for pedestrian accessibility that also serve to assist any person using a wheeled device (bicycle, stroller, dolly, etc.) to transition between the sidewalk and roadway. Where provided, all newly constructed or modified curb ramps must be ADA compliant to the extent practicable and should be designed to the least slope practical considering the curb height, available corner area, and underlying topography.
ODOT’s standards related to ADA dimensional criteria are based on PROWAG. Additional guidance on the design of accessible pedestrian facilities is available from the Department of Justice and FHWA13,14.
22.214.171.124 Curb Ramp Locations
ORC Section 729.12 requires that all new or reconstructed curbs shall have curb ramps at each pedestrian crosswalk so that the sidewalk and street blend to a common level.
Curb ramps shall be provided on all plans where curb and sidewalks or walkways are being constructed, reconstructed, or altered at intersections and other major points of pedestrian curb crossing such as mid-block crosswalks.
Curb ramps are required if:
- A project has curbs, pedestrians are allowed, and sidewalks are present
- A project has curbs, pedestrians are allowed, and no sidewalks are present but a pushbutton is present. In this scenario, a graded earth curb ramp should be provided as shown in Figure 4-17.
- It is a resurfacing project and conditions are met as outlined in ODOT Policy 21-003(P) Curb Ramps Required in Resurfacing Plans.
It is desirable to provide an accessible route for persons with disabilities. When a curb ramp is built on one side of a street, a companion curb ramp is required on the opposite side of the street. Therefore, when normal project or work limits end within an intersection, the work limits must extend to allow construction of companion ramps. The basic requirement is that a crosswalk must be accessible via curb ramps from both ends, not one end only. In most cases, curb ramps will be installed in all quadrants of an intersection.
When pedestrian facilities are to be constructed or reconstructed as part of an alteration project, the facilities shall be designed to accommodate persons with disabilities to the greatest extent practicable. The pedestrian environment must be designed to accommodate the needs of all users, some of whom have a broad range of mobility, physical, and cognitive skills.
126.96.36.199 Curb Ramp Components
The basic components to the standard curb ramp design are explained here and depicted on Figure 4-12.
Ramps – Ramps serve as the primary travel path for wheelchair users and other pedestrians traversing the curb between the sidewalk and the roadway. The grade of a ramp shall not exceed 8.33 percent. The cross slope shall not be greater than 2 percent. The minimum width of a curb ramp is 4 ft. To ensure ramp slopes do not exceed the maximum, ramps should be designed for 7.69 percent and 1.56 percent for running and cross slopes, respectively, to account for construction tolerances.
Gutters – Gutters facilitate the movement of water from the roadway into the local drainage system. Gutters require a counter slope (i.e., roadway cross slope) at the point at which the ramp meets the street for proper drainage. This counter slope should be 2 percent or less where possible, but shall not exceed 5 percent, and the change in angle must be flush, without a lip, raised joint, or gap. Lips or gaps between the curb ramp slope and counter slope can arrest forward motion by catching caster wheels or crutch tips. The algebraic difference between the ramp slope and the gutter counter slope cannot exceed 11 percent, or a 24 inch level strip must be provided between the two slopes. See Figure 4-11 through Figure 4-15.
Landings - Landings provide a level area for wheelchair users to maneuver into or out of the curb ramp and can serve as turning areas. A level, 5 ft. square landing is preferred; a 4 ft. square landing is the minimum. Level landings are required at the top of ramps with slopes designed for 1.56 percent slope (2 percent maximum) in any direction.
Flares - Curb ramp flares are graded transitions from a curb ramp to the surrounding sidewalk. Flares are not intended to be wheelchair routes, are considered a non-walkable surface, and often serve as one of the cues used to identify the presence of a curb ramp. In most instances, flares are not required for curb ramps. When provided, flare slopes shall not exceed a 10 percent slope. Side flares are advisable where pedestrian traffic may cross runs to prevent tripping hazards. Side flares are essential in alterations when space for a top landing (36 inches deep minimum) is not available; in this instance, side flares with a max slope of 8.33 percent are necessary to accommodate wheelchair maneuvering that will partially occur at flares in the absence of full landing space at the top of the ramp unless a parallel-type curb ramp is provided. Parallel curb ramps provide an alternative in such conditions.15, 16
Figure 4-11: Counter Slope
188.8.131.52 Curb Ramp Types
There are four types of curb ramps currently used in street corner designs:
- Perpendicular (Tier 1)
- Combined (Tier 2)
- Parallel (Tier 3)
- Diagonal (Tier 4)
Ramp types are categorized above in tiers by preferred order of use, with Tier 1 being the most desirable. The designer should not use a lower tiered ramp without first determining and having justification that the upper tiered ramp is not constructible. Justification may be based on factors such as the presence of drainage features, utilities, right-of-way restrictions, geometric impacts, or operational issues.
In all cases, curb ramps should be located entirely within the marked crosswalks (where they exist). Drainage grates or inlets should not be located within the crosswalk area, as wheelchair casters or cane tips could get caught.
Tier 1: Perpendicular curb ramps (Type A1 and A2 in Standard Construction Drawing BP-7.1) are generally perpendicular to the curb. Users will generally be traveling perpendicular to vehicular traffic when they enter the street at the bottom of the ramp. Perpendicular curb ramps can be designed as directional curb ramps that align pedestrians with the crosswalk orientation and eliminate the need for people in wheelchairs to reorient themselves within the street. Non- directional ramps are perpendicular to the curb even on corner radii, which means they do not provide a straight path of travel for pedestrians. If the angle of the curb ramp is greater than 20 degrees to the angle of the crosswalk (i.e., angle Z in Figure 4-12), a directional curb ramp should be considered. All perpendicular ramps have the disadvantage of requiring a level landing that takes up additional right-of-way at the top of ramp. Perpendicular ramps are generally the best design for pedestrians, provided that a minimum 4 ft. landing is available for each approach.
Figure 4-12: Perpendicular Curb Ramp Types: Non-Directional (top) and Directional (lower)
Tier 2: Combined curb ramps (Type C1 and C2 in Standard Construction Drawing BP-7.1) use features of both perpendicular and parallel curb ramps (see Figure 4-13). This design can be advantageous when dealing with a narrow sidewalk or a steep grade. These ramps may be more expensive and complicated to install.
Figure 4-13: Combined Curb Ramp Examples
Tier 3: Parallel curb ramps (Type B1, B2, and B3 in Standard Construction Drawing BP-7.1) have one ramp (B1 and B3) or two ramps (B2) leading down towards a level landing at the bottom, with a level landing at the top of each ramp (Figure 4-14). They can be installed where the available space between the curb and property line is too tight to permit the installation of both a ramp and a landing, and they are effective on steep terrain or at locations with high curbs. Unfortunately, sidewalk users have to negotiate two ramp grades. Since the landing is depressed and level, drainage of the ramp landing at the street must be carefully designed.
Figure 4-14: Parallel Curb Ramp Example
Tier 4: Diagonal curb ramps (Type D in Standard Construction Drawing BP-7.1) are a single curb ramp that is located at the apex of the corner (Figure 4-15). Diagonal curb ramps are not acceptable designs for access to new sidewalks, but may be applied in retrofit locations where a pair of perpendicular ramps is not feasible due to existing site constraints. This design directs a visually impaired person away from the crosswalk and into traffic. Therefore, the entire lower landing area must fall within the crosswalk that the ramp serves and cannot be located in the traveled lane of traffic.
Figure 4-15: Diagonal Curb Ramp Example
184.108.40.206 Detectable Warnings
Detectable warnings are standardized surface features on walking surfaces to communicate to people with vision disabilities that they are approaching a crossing.
Truncated domes are specified as the detectable warnings to be used at the interface between the Pedestrian Through Zone and the roadway. They are to be included in all connections to all street crossings to mark the street edge where a Pedestrian Through Zone crosses a vehicular way.
Detectable warnings shall be used:
- At the base of curb ramps,
- At the border of median crossing islands,
- At the edge of depressed corners,
- At the border of raised crosswalks and raised intersections,
- At street crossings for shared use paths,
- Where sidewalks cross railroad tracks,
- At blended transitions, and
- At signalized driveways.
Considerations for detectable warnings at driveways include the following:
- Detectable warnings should not be indiscriminately applied at minor driveway locations or alleyways that appear and function more like a sidewalk than a street crossing. This may be confusing and a nuisance to pedestrians with vision disabilities.
- Detectable warnings should be used at driveways with heavy traffic that make their crossing comparable to a street.
Truncated dome dimensions, location, and alignment can be found on Standard Construction Drawing BP-7.1.
Detectable warnings placed within the shoulder are appropriate to provide guidance for pedestrians with vision disabilities to identify the street crossing if the shoulder is the designated PAR.
220.127.116.11 Blended Transitions
A blended transition is a raised pedestrian street crossing, depressed corner, or similar connection between the pedestrian access route made at the level of the sidewalk and crossing a street where the grade is 5 percent or less, such as on an uncurbed roadway. ADA requirements for cross slopes and detectable warnings for blended transition are similar to those of a curb ramp. A landing is not required for a blended transition. Blended transitions must be wholly contained within the pedestrian street crossing served.
Blended transitions can occur at intersection corners as well as at other street crossings. Blended transitions can be advantageous for pedestrians for several reasons. With the flat grade, no landing or turning space is needed at the top or bottom of the transition area. Maintaining the same sidewalk and ramp running slopes also simplifies the overall facility design and increases ease of use. The flatter design also eliminates sharp grade breaks between the walk and the traditional curb ramp area.
At intersection corners, attempts to install actual curb ramps should be made before blended transition options are examined.
It is important to note that blended transitions between pedestrian travel ways and vehicular travel ways can create difficulties for pedestrians by providing a large area where the corner and street are at the same elevation. This can make it much more difficult to detect the boundary between the sidewalk and the street for persons with vision disabilities. Similar to diagonal curb ramps, depressed corners can make it more difficult for motorists to determine in which direction a pedestrian intends to cross the street. Figure 4-16 illustrates a blended transition at an intersection corner. To delineate the boundary between the pedestrian area and the vehicular area, detectable warning mats shall be placed along the entire extent of the depressed area, as shown Figure 4-16. It is critical to ensure the detectable warning mats encompass the entire length of the area flush with the adjacent roadway so the boundary between the pedestrian area and vehicular area is clear to pedestrians with vision disabilities.
Blended transitions may also be used at raised pedestrian street crossings or raised crosswalks. To provide a clear delineation between the pedestrian walkway and the crossing or crosswalk, the detectable warning mat shall extend across the entire width of the interface between the sidewalk and the raised crossing or crosswalk.
Figure 4-16: Blended Transition Example
Blended transitions may also be found at street crossings near major pedestrian generators such as sports arenas, transit hubs, convention centers, college or university campuses, or pedestrian- centric commercial areas. Blended transitions in these areas permit large volumes of pedestrians to cross roadways at a time. Similar to the raised crosswalk and intersection applications, truncated dome mats shall be placed along the full length of the transition area to delineate the boundary between pedestrian and vehicular facilities.
18.104.22.168 Curb Cuts
Pedestrian curb cuts, or dropped curbs, eliminate the vertical curb face and may facilitate a pedestrian walking within the roadway to exit the roadway. Pedestrian curb cuts should be placed where the pedestrian route is intended to continue across a roadway, but where a receiving curb ramp and sidewalk do not currently exist. This can be at the roadway edge, at a median or roundabout splitter island, or anywhere a curb presents a vertical face that is not traversable by a mobilPedestrian Curb Cuts. Figure 4-17 describes the required widths and slopes for a pedestrian curb cut.
Figure 4-17: Pedestrian Curb Cuts
22.214.171.124 Curb Ramp Design Waiver
PROWAG recognizes that it is not always practicable to fully meet ADA dimensional requirements due to physical constraints, “Existing physical constraints include, but are not limited to, underlying terrain, right-of-way availability, underground structures, adjacent developed facilities, drainage, or presence of notable natural or historic features (R202.3.1)”. In cases where it is not possible to meet ADA requirements, the pedestrian facilities shall be designed and constructed to meet ADA requirements to the maximum extent practicable.
Disproportionate cost to provide an accessible path of travel can also be a factor in a decision to deviate from ADA requirements. Disproportionate cost is defined to be “the additional cost of alterations to provide an accessible ‘path of travel’ to the altered area is disproportionate when it exceeds 20 percent of the cost of the alteration to the ‘primary function’ area.” (R202)
Existing sidewalks where the maximum ramp slope is not feasible due to site constraints (e.g., utility poles or vaults, right-of-way limits) may be reduced as follows:
- 10:1 for maximum rise of 6 inches
- 8:1 for maximum rise of 3 inches
- 6:1 over a maximum run of 2 ft.-0 inches for historic areas where a flatter slope is not feasible
To prevent chasing the grade indefinitely, the transition from existing sidewalk to the curb cut is not required to exceed 15 ft. in length.
ODOT has developed a design waiver process to identify the circumstances preventing the ability to provide accessible facilities. Prior to the development of the waiver, the designer must consider alternatives to achieve accessibility (including those values stated above) and show that the accessible design cannot be achieved. The waiver form and directions for completing it can be found on ODOT’s ADA Resources website. Specific documentation requirements and retention practices are discussed in subsequent sections.
In cases where it is not practicable to meet all ADA dimensional requirements, the constraints shall be documented in an ADA waiver form. Waiver forms should be created either in design or during construction at the time it becomes known that a constraint will preclude a pedestrian facility from meeting ADA requirements. In either case, during design or during construction, the District Design Engineer will be responsible for review and approval or denial of ADA waivers.
A project’s scope and Purpose and Need should be a consideration when evaluating an ADA waiver. The scope of the project can be an important consideration in determining if meeting ADA requirements is practicable. For example, resurfacing projects are considered alteration projects that require the updating of pedestrian curb ramps. If the scope of a resurfacing project, however, does not require the purchase of additional right-of-way, in this example it is not practicable to purchase right-of-way. The project should make as many ramps fully compliant to ADA requirements as possible without purchasing right-of-way. The remaining ramps shall be reconstructed to ADA requirements to the maximum extent feasible without the purchase of right- of-way. Those ramps not meeting the ADA requirements shall have an approved ADA waiver form completed and signed by the District Design Engineer for each non-compliant pedestrian feature. Future projects at a location with a waiver should determine whether the feature could be made compliant based on the scope of the project, recognizing that there are some locations where compliance may not be possible.
Where infeasible to construct a pedestrian facility to ADA standards, a waiver form is required regardless of governing authority. Identified infeasible facilities shall be added to the ADA collector application and a waiver form completed by the district with information supplied by the governing authority. The final approval for a waiver, including waivers on local projects utilizing federal funds and permit projects on ODOT maintained roadways, rests with the District Design Engineer.
Identified non-compliant pedestrian facilities do not require a waiver until a project impacts the facility and improvements are considered infeasible.
Construction tolerances are included in ODOT standard construction drawing BP-7.1 and are slightly more conservative than PROWAG standards. A waiver is required when a pedestrian facility does not meet PROWAG standards. ADA waivers shall be recorded on the title sheet of construction plans per L&D Manual Volume 3, Section 1302.15.
Approved ADA waiver forms shall be attached to their specific Asset ID in the ADA Collector Application database. Future projects with an appropriate scope and Purpose and Need should reference previously approved waiver forms and upgrade the pedestrian facilities to full ADA compliance where possible.
4.5.10 Ramps and Landings
At times, sidewalks that are not adjacent to roadways may exceed a 5 percent longitudinal slope. Where this occurs, the pedestrian access route is treated like a ramp. Per PROWAG R407, the maximum running slope, horizontal run, and vertical rise are summarized in the table below. It is advised to provide a ramp with the least possible running slope in order to accommodate the widest possible range of users.
Table 4-5: Summary of ADA Compliant Ramp and Landing Design Elements
5 percent minimum
2.5 ft. maximum
(Provide at top and bottom of ramp)
1.56 percent running and cross slopes 5 ft. minimum length
Intermediate landings for turning maneuvers
5 ft. minimum length and width
Landings should be clear of any obstructions, such as manholes, utility boxes, or valves, and ramps and landings should meet the surface requirements for pedestrian access routes as defined in PROWAG and Section 4.3.3.
If the pedestrian access route does not have sloped grading adjacent to the ramp and has a vertical drop of more than 6 inches, a railing is required to protect pedestrians from stepping off the edge of the ramp. Dimensions for the railing can be found in PROWAG Section R-409.
For shared use paths/trails design guidance, see Chapter 5 of this guide.
ODOT’s ADA Design Resources site establishes on-street parking accessibility requirements and contains an inventory of parking in ODOT’s public right-of-way. On-street parking design follows ADAAG Section 502 and PROWAG Sections R211.4, R214 and R309. These sections address the number of accessible spaces, parking stall width, length, loading zones, and access aisles. Markings, signage, and symbols are discussed in the OMUTCD, Section 3B.20.
Accessibility for parking design can also include access to any parking meters or pay kiosks. Meters and kiosks require clear spaces adjacent to the meter or kiosk face, with clearance widths and reach and height meeting PROWAG Section R404 Clear Spaces requirements. Obstructions around meters and pay kiosks must be avoided and protrusions must meet accessibility requirements stated in PROWAG Section R402.
4.7 Overpasses and Underpasses
4.7.1 Sidewalks for Bridges/Underpasses
Provisions should be made to include some type of walking facility as part of a vehicular bridge or underpass, if only as an emergency exit path. Wherever possible, sidewalk widths across bridges and through underpasses should be the same as the clear width of the existing connecting sidewalks.
Designers should refer to the ODOT Bridge Design Manual and the L&D Manual Volume 1, Section 302 for specific guidance on bridges and assessing the cross-section.
126.96.36.199 Sidewalks on Bridges
Walks should be provided on bridges located in urban, suburban, and rural town areas having curbed typical sections under the following conditions:
- Where there are existing walks on the bridge and/or bridge approaches, or
- Where evidence can be shown through local planning processes, or similar justification, that people do walk on the bridge or will based on changing land use context.
Walks on bridges should be at least 6 ft. wide in residential areas and 8 ft. wide in commercial areas measured from the face of curb to the face of parapet. The minimum width shall be 5 ft.
In rural areas or at other sites where flush shoulders approach a bridge and light pedestrian traffic is anticipated on the shoulders, the shoulder width should be continued across the bridge using the preferred lateral clearance from L&D Manual Volume 1, Figure 302-1, or greater if deemed appropriate. A raised walkway should not be used in these areas.
188.8.131.52 Sidewalks under Bridges
The criteria for providing walks at underpasses are the same as described above for walks on bridges. An exception is in areas where there are no approach walks. Space should be provided for future walks but walks generally will not be constructed with the project unless there is concurrent approach walk construction. Where the approach walks at underpasses include a tree lawn, the tree lawn width may be carried through the underpass wherever space permits.
4.7.2 Pedestrian Only Grade Separated Crossings
When pedestrian facilities cross certain barriers, grade-separated pedestrian crossings are desirable and may be necessary. Common barriers include freeways, arterials, rivers, and railroads where there is an observed or expected pedestrian demand but no suitable at-grade locations to cross within the vicinity.
Construction of grade-separated crossings can be extremely costly and disruptive to the pedestrian path of travel, and they can invite vandalism or crime if not designed well. Additionally, they are structures that require maintenance and are vulnerable to natural disasters; for example, underpasses could flood. For these reasons, the design of a grade-separated crossing should be carefully considered.
Due to the high costs of constructing pedestrian-only structures, they should be considered only where other more standard and/or less costly solutions are not feasible. Both pedestrian overpasses and underpasses need to meet accessibility requirements for maximum slopes. The most common design option is to include either ramps and landings or elevators to address changes in grade for pedestrians. A second design option may be considered to more easily meet accessibility requirements. This involves lowering or raising the road such that the pedestrian facilities remain at grade and the roadway is placed above or below the pedestrian route; however, this approach will result in a larger area of impact within the roadway to allow roadway slopes to ramp up and down at the pedestrian facility. The third design option is to alter both facilities, lowering or raising the road while doing the opposite for the pedestrian route, thus minimizing the vertical change in elevation for both the pedestrian and motorist facilities.
Freeways shall not have pedestrian crossings at grade and will require the use of separate pedestrian structures.
Underpasses that are below grade should provide clear sight distances to and through the underpass. A minimum width of 14-16 ft. is desirable, but longer tunnels should be wider for personal security. Likewise, vertical clearance of 8 ft. is sufficient for short tunnels, but longer ones may need 10 ft. Heights of bicyclists or maintenance and emergency vehicles may also need to be addressed. Drainage must be carefully considered.
Both pedestrian overpasses and underpasses should be adequately illuminated. See additional details on illumination in Section 4.5.6.
Experience has shown that the primary location for a pedestrian overpass/underpass is an urban area outside the central business district. Such a pedestrian crossing may be considered when the following conditions exist:
- The community has expressed a strong desire for a pedestrian crossing.
- A reasonable alternate route for pedestrians is not available.
- There is no signal, stop intersection, or pedestrian crossing available within 600 ft. of the proposed location.
- Pedestrians are prevented from crossing at grade, such as at freeways and rivers.
- Physical conditions permit construction and ADA accessible grades are achievable.
- The traffic volume and pedestrian volume are above those required to warrant the installation of pedestrian signals as stated in the OMUTCD. This stipulation can be waived in special cases such as when sight distances are limited.
- Where there are a large number of pedestrians who must regularly cross a high-speed, high volume roadway.
Designers working on a pedestrian-only bridge should refer to Sections 303.2, 309.4/309.4.3.3, 309.5.3, 309.5.5.1, and 310.8 of the ODOT Bridge Design Manual and other national guidance17 for relevant information on pedestrian bridges, bicycle and pedestrian bridges, and railing/fencing guidance for pedestrian bridges or vehicle bridges with pedestrians present.
4.7.3 Barriers and Railings for Pedestrian Facilities
Railing requirements differ based on the expected design user, the type of facility, and the slope. To maintain minimum ADA requirements on sloped approaches to a grade-separated facility, handrails must be provided at a continuous height of 34 to 38 inches above the walk surface. A second set of handrails at a maximum height of 28 inches may be considered if children are expected to be regular users of the facility. If two handrails are provided, the minimum vertical clearance between the two is 9 inches to reduce the likelihood of entrapment.
If the primary purpose of a railing on an overpass is to separate users from a drop-off, the minimum barrier height is 42 inches above the walk surface. If bicyclists are also expected on the overpass, designers should refer to Chapter 5 for guidance on shared use paths.
4.8 Work Zones
Accessible routes should be maintained through construction sites or pedestrian detour routes should be provided. These routes can be along the existing pedestrian route or an alternative temporary route. The requirements for pedestrian access route widths, grades, cross slopes, and surface treatments through or around work zones must all meet the requirements detailed in PROWAG Sections R300 and R400. Per Chapter 6 of the OMUTCD, agencies must provide reasonably safe and effective movement for all roadway users. If the existing pedestrian route cannot be maintained, information about alternate routes should be provided. This must include access to temporary bus stops, reasonably safe travel across intersections, and other routing issues. Barriers and channelizing devices that are detectable by people with visual disabilities must be provided. Curb ramps and detectable warnings shall be implemented where applicable. The following items should be considered to facilitate an accessible pedestrian route through or around work zones in addition to the features mentioned above:
- Advanced warning and guidance signs
- Illumination and reflectors
- Use of temporary walkways
- Channeling and barricading to separate pedestrians from traffic
- Barricading to prevent a person with vision disabilities from entering work zones
- Accommodation for pedestrian through work zones
- Temporary striping, detectable warning surfaces, and pedestrian signalization for crosswalks; adjusted pedestrian crossing times for modified crosswalk lengths
Guidance for providing pedestrian facilities through or around work zones is discussed in the TEM and the OMUTCD.
The TEM, Section 603 provides guidance on pedestrian and worker safety. This section notes that in work zones “where pedestrian traffic is present, pedestrian safety and needs must be addressed.” OMUTCD, Sections 6D.01 and 6D.02 provide additional details.
The TEM, Section 606-21 provides additional guidance on the types of temporary traffic control zones that are needed for work affecting pedestrian and bicycle facilities. OMUTCD, Sections 6G.054 and 6F.74 provide additional details.
ODOT SCD MT-110.10 and OMUTCD, Figures 6H-28 and 6H-29 show typical traffic control device uses and techniques for pedestrian movement through work areas.
4.9 Additional Resources
The following resources provide information about the design of pedestrian facilities:
- ODOT Design Resource Reference Center18 – provides direct links to design guides, specifications and standard drawings.
- ODOT ADA Design Resources19 – provides a summary of available resources, trainings, design guidelines, requirements, facility databases, and standard drawings specifically related to the ADA.
Chapter 4 Endnotes
- FHWA Small Town and Rural Design Guide
- FHWA. Summary of Travel Trends, 2017 National Household Travel Survey. FHWA-PL-18-019. Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC, 2011.
- FHWA Achieving Multimodal Networks
- NACTO Urban Street Design Guide
- Bertullis, T. and D. Dulaski. Driver Approach Speed and its Impact on Driver Yielding to Pedestrian Behavior at Unsignalized Crosswalks. In Transportation Research Record 2464. TRB, National Research Council, Washington, DC, 2014.
- Fitzpatrick, K., S. Turner, M. Brewer, P. Carlson, B. Ullman, N. Trout, E. S. Park, J. Whitacre, N. Lalani, and D. Lord. National Cooperative Highway Research Program Report 562: Improving Pedestrian Safety at Unsignalized Crossings. NCHRP, Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC, 2006.
- Goddard, T., K. B. Kahn, and A. Adkins. Racial Bias in Driver Yielding Behavior at Crosswalks. Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behavior. Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC, 2015.
- Coughenour, C., S. Clark, A. Singh, E. Claw, J. Abelar, and J. Huebner. Examining Racial Bias as a Potential Factor in Pedestrian Crashes. Accident Analysis & Prevention. 2017
- FHWA Guide for Improving Pedestrian Safety at Uncontrolled Crossing Locations
- Guide for the Planning, Design, and Operation of Pedestrian Facilities, AASHTO
- Huang, H.F. and M.J. Cynecki. The Effects of Traffic Calming Measures on Pedestrian and Motorist Behavior. FHWA-RD-00-104. Federal Highway Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC, 2001.
- Candappa, N., K., S. N. Fotheringham, M.G. Lenne, and B. Corben. Raised Crosswalks on Entrance to the Roundabout -- A Case Study on Effectiveness of Treatment on Pedestrian Safety and Convenience. Traffic Injury Prevention, Vol. 15, No. 6, 2014, pp. 631-639.
- The Department of Justice, United States Access Board’s ADA Standards
- FHWA’s Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access, Part 2, Best Practices Design Guide
- The Department of Justice, United States Access Board’s ADA Standards
- FHWA’s Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access, Part 2, Best Practices Design Guide
- AASHTO LRFD Guide Specifications for the Design of Pedestrian Bridges
- ADA Design Resources
- FHWA Guide for Improving Pedestrian Safety at Uncontrolled Crossing Locations