research >>pedestrian safety >>oakland scramble evaluation
Oakland's Chinatown has historically had the highest concentration of pedestrian/vehicle collisions in the city. Not only are some of its streets main thoroughfares for vehicles traversing the city, but more than 20,000 shoppers and tourists use its sidewalks every weekend.
In the Spring of 2001, Asian Health Services, a local community group, began an independent pedestrian safety assessment of intersections in that area. One of their findings was that, despite the fact that more than 24 percent of the residents of Chinatown are 65 years of age or older, the time given to pedestrians to cross major intersections failed to match walking speeds recommended for the elderly. With the cooperation and support of the Oakland's Traffic Engineering Department, Asian Health Services installed a pedestrian scramble device at the intersection of Webster and 8th Streets, giving pedestrians an exclusive walk phase for crossing that intersection on the diagonal as well as the traditional crosswalks. SafeTREC offered its technical expertise in conducting an analysis of the scramble.
SafeTREC installed a video camera on the roof of Asian Health Services, overlooking the intersection where the scramble device was installed. Traffic was recorded at hour-long intervals both pre- and post-installation. These tapes were transcribed to establish vehicle and pedestrian volume counts, vehicle and pedestrian signal violations, and vehicle/pedestrian conflicts. While conflicts between pedestrians and vehicles decreased by 40 percent, non-compliance with pedestrian signals actually increased 25 percent.
Since this study, SafeTREC has conducted scramble observations at four other intersections in San Francisco's Chinatown, as part of their PedSafe collaboration with San Francisco's Department of Parking and Traffic.
"A Step in the Right Direction: Experiences with a Scramble in Oakland's Chinatown." TSC Online Newsletter. Winter 2005-2006.
"Oakland Chinatown Pedestrian Scramble: An Evaluation." Bechtel, A. Ragland, DR. MacLeod, KE. Presentation at the Transportation Board Annual Meeting, Washington D.C. January 11-15, 2004.
"Oakland Chinatown Pedestrian Scramble: An Evaluation." Bechtel, AK. MacLeod, KE. Ragland, DR. TSC Research Report. 2003.
"Scrambling for Safety: An unconventional crosswalk strategy to help Chinatown's older pedestrians." TSC Online Newsletter, August 2002.