# SCHOOL CROSSING PROTECTION CRITERIA

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1 CITY OF MADISON TRAFFIC ENGINEERING SCHOOL CROSSING PROTECTION CRITERIA January 2016 Adopted as Policy on August 31, 1976, by Common Council by Amended Resolution #29,540 Amended on September 14, 1976, by Resolution #29,569 Amended on September 28, 1976, by Resolution #29,650 Amended on June 30, 1981, by Resolution #37,137 Amended on July 10, 1990, by Resolution #46,920 Amended on January 5, 2016, by Resolution # RES By Traffic Engineering Division City of Madison, Wisconsin

4 3. Speed of Motor Vehicles. The criterion for this element shall be the 85th percentile speed observed on the major approaches. The 85th percentile speed is determined from a speed study made with a radar unit. It is the speed at which only 15 percent of the motorists were observed traveling faster than, or the speed below which 85 percent of the motorists travel. 4. Sight Distance. The criterion for this element shall be the ratio of the sight distance of a vehicle driver observing a three-foot high object in the crosswalk to design stopping distance. The following Design stopping distances (wet pavement), as recommended by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, shall be used: Design Speed Design Stopping Sight Distance < = 25 mph 155 feet mph 200 feet mph 250 feet mph 305 feet mph 360 feet mph 425 feet 5. Safety History. The main criterion for this element shall be the number of pedestrian crashes occurring at the study location, involving school children going to or coming from school, during the previous five-year period. For locations where two or more such crashes have occurred, the five-year limit shall not apply. In addition, a history of other crash types that could conflict with pedestrian crossings will be considered, especially if there is a history of crashes at times of the day when elementary school children generally need to cross. However, significant geometric or traffic control changes at the crossing location need to be considered. 6. Other Factors. Certain unique factors may exist at some locations which would tend to increase or decrease the hazard to school-age pedestrians. Such factors may include complex intersection and/or traffic signal design, existence of safer crossings nearby, the age of children crossing, a street which is used extensively by foreign traffic, the presence of stopped buses and other obstructions, and the volume of turning traffic not reflected in the gap availability criterion. In addition, the character of the street (i.e., arterial, local, etc.) and the types of traffic (e.g., percent and types of trucks) will be considered and will be a factor in borderline situations. The uniformity of the hazards throughout the school year, and from morning to evening crossing periods, needs to be considered. Situations where few children desire to walk to school when the temperature drops in the fall need special consideration. 3

5 THE HAZARD RATING SYSTEM Each crossing is analyzed with respect to the above factors. In order to compare the degree of hazard associated with each crossing, a relative point (or hazard) rating is assigned to each crossing. The hazard rating is the cumulative total of points assigned to the crossing based on each of the hazard factors. The higher the hazard rating, the more hazardous the crossing is, relatively speaking. Hazard points will be assigned according to the following schedule: 1. SCHOOL CHILDREN CROSSING Volume Points Volume Points & over VEHICLE GAP AVAILABILITY % of Time when there are safe gaps Points Over 80% Less than VEHICLE SPEEDS 4. SIGHT DISTANCE MPH Points Ratio Points <= Over Less than Over

6 5. SAFETY HISTORY Crashes Points a) School Crossing Types Each Additional 20 b) Other Types OTHER FACTORS Points Foreign traffic route 0 to +5 For each approach in excess of four +5 For complex signal or crossing design +5 to +10 For simple signal or crossing design -5 to 10 Safer crossing one block out of way -10 Large percentage of Grade K and Grade 1 students (over 40%) 0 to +5 An intersection of two arterial streets where the total weekday traffic approach +4 volume exceeds 25,000 vehicles Children crossing multiple crosswalks at an intersection 0 to +10 Stopped buses and other obstructions 0 to +5 Volume of turning traffic not reflected in gap availability 0 to +5 Observations of the percent and types of trucks during the times when students are using the crossing. 5

7 INTERPRETATION OF HAZARD RATING Using the hazard rating as a guide, the following measures are appropriate: 1. MARK AS A SCHOOL CROSSING when the hazard rating is greater than 20 at a crossing used by at least 25 elementary school children during the peak crossing hour. The traffic engineer is authorized to mark such a crossing with appropriate warning signs and special crosswalk markings. 2. INSTALL FLASHING BEACONS if any one of the following conditions is met: a. The 85th percentile speed is in excess of 40 mph, measured at existing school crossing signs, which have been in place at least 30 days. b. The street crossed is a U.S. or State Trunk Highway on which a significant percentage of foreign drivers can be expected. c. The ratio of sight distance to safe stopping distance is less than 1.5 d. The hazard rating is greater than 30 at an unguarded location where at least 25 elementary students cross and the available safe crossing gaps are less than 50%. 3. RECOMMEND THE ASSIGNMENT OF AN ADULT GUARD when the hazard rating is greater than 40 points at a crossing used by at least 25 elementary students during the peak crossing hour. If the school has only Grades K-2, then recommend the assignment of an adult guard when the hazard rating is greater than 30 points at a crossing used by at least 15 elementary students during the peak crossing hour. 4. RECOMMEND THE DISCONTINUANCE OF ADULT GUARD PROTECTION at a crossing where the hazard rating falls below 30 points or if the number of school children crossing during the peak crossing hour is less than 15. At the intersection of two arterial streets where the total entering weekday traffic volume exceeds 25,000 vehicles, the total number of students crossing at the intersection will be used to compare to the minimum of 15 students required to retain an adult guard. 6

8 SCHOOL CROSSING STUDY PROCEDURE Requests to study locations for new assignments of Adult School Crossing Guards shall be made by the Elementary School Principal to the School Traffic Safety Committee. Requests that come in to Traffic Engineering will be referred to the Elementary School Principal to consider forwarding to the School Traffic Safety Committee. In order to properly evaluate the hazard inherent in a given street crossing used by school children, certain data are necessary concerning the quantity and characteristics of the traffic at the location. The specific field studies include counts of school children crossing, traffic volumes, turning movements, measurement of traffic gaps, vehicle speeds, and physical conditions of the location. Pedestrian counts are made during the peak school crossing periods (both morning and afternoon). The exact hours counted will vary depending upon school start and dismissal times. Only elementary school children are counted. Crossing by single children may be tallied together, but groups should be noted by a numeral indicating the size of the group. Totals will be made by quarter hours. Vehicular traffic turning movements and traffic gaps will be measured during the same periods as the pedestrian counts. Tabulations by fifteen-minute intervals are desired. The count will be conducted on a warm, sunny day, if possible, during the Fall or Spring of the year. If doubt arises as to the accuracy and validity of the count, a second count will be made and the values resulting in the higher hazard rating will be used. The wintertime school pedestrian traffic will also be considered, especially in borderline situations. Spot speeds of traffic approaching on the major approaches to the crossing are measured with a radar speed meter. These speed studies are generally taken approximately 250 feet in advance of the crossing. Speed studies are not necessary where the crossing is at a signalized intersection or where the approach is controlled by a stop sign. Historical speed studies in the area may be sufficient for estimating motor vehicle speeds. The 85th percentile speed on each major approach is desired. Physical conditions required include street width, length of crosswalk, and approach sight distance. The street width is the curb-to-curb width or width of paved surface where shoulder construction is used. Width of median is also desired. Where there is considerable skew to the crosswalk or normal crossing path, the length of such crosswalk should be measured. Sight distance is the distance from the crossing at which the driver first receives a continuous view of a three-foot high object. This information is needed for all uncontrolled approaches. As individual locations are called to the attention of the Traffic Engineering Division by elementary school Principal through the School Traffic Safety Committee, studies will be made and the indicated measures taken or recommendations will be submitted to the agency responsible. 7

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