Improving School Crossings
Traffic safety officers in New Brunswick, NJ have taken several steps to improve the safety of their crossing guards and the children they help on their way to and from school. The Improving School Crossings video demonstrates relatively inexpensive strategies that police departments can adopt to improve the safety of their school crossings. The video addresses not only improvements to infrastructure, but also approaches to crossing guard supervision, empowerment of crossing guards to think about how their posts can be improved, and collaboration with the municipality, county, and school district to address hazardous conditions.
Crosswalk Heroes: Challenging Crossings
The Alan M Voorhees Transportation Center within Rutgers University’s Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and Civic Eye Collaborative created this training video to address common challenges that crossing guards face when helping children who are walking and biking to and from school. This project was funded by the New Jersey Municipal Excess Joint Insurance Fund with additional support from the New Jersey Department of Transportation and the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety with funding from the Federal Highway Administration.
Supervisor Notes for the Challenging Crossings Video is available as a downloadable PDF and may assist you in discussing the challenging crossing topics with your crossing guards. Some of the principal messages that can be emphasized are listed below each heading. You can stop the video at the specific time noted to review particular points.
Crosswalk Heroes – Challenging Crossings Video Segments:
Turning Movements: Many pedestrian-vehicle crashes occur when a vehicle is making a left or right turn into a crosswalk. Drivers anticipate taking advantage of the ability to make a right turn on red and may be unaware that people are crossing. Motorists turning left may move through the intersection quickly to cross oncoming traffic and to complete the turn before the light changes to red.
Multi-Lane Crossings: Multi-lane crossings are crossings with more than one lane of traffic in each direction. These crossings are the most challenging, potentially the most dangerous, and have the most variables for consideration.
Multi-Leg Crossings: Multi-leg crossings are ones where pedestrians typically need to cross more than one of the intersecting streets to reach their destination. When one crossing guard is posted at a two- or three-leg crossing, students waiting for the crossing guard to return to the starting corner can become impatient and may choose to start crossing themselves.
Signalized Intersections: Although signals can be helpful in controlling traffic during a pedestrian crossing, signals can also be confusing. Signal timing may be insufficient to cross volumes of students during peak times; crossing guards may not know how to use the pedestrian button.
Whistle Use: Signal whistles may be useful for getting the attention of drivers, but some consideration should be given to how crossing guards will use the whistle to cross children.
Road Noise: Crossings on loud roads can be more dangerous because students can not hear the instructions of crossing guards, and drivers may not hear warning whistles. Louder roads tend to be larger, multilane roadways. Drivers may not expect to see pedestrians crossing on these roads.
Speed: Vehicle speed affects the ability of pedestrians to cross. Finding an appropriate gap in traffic is difficult.
Sun Glare: Sun glare is a challenge for both crossing guards and drivers. Just after sunrise and before sunset, the sun is low in the sky and can shine directly into drivers’ eyes, leaving many drivers unable to see the street, crossings, and other roadway users clearly.
Road Geometry: Road alignment that creates limited sight lines can make anticipation of a pedestrian crossing more difficult for drivers, limiting the amount of time drivers have to prepare to stop at a crosswalk. If road geometry can not be changed, the focus should be on improving visibility and noticeability of the crossing and the crossing guard.
Crosswalk Heroes: Techniques and Tactics for New Jersey Crossing Guards
This training video shows best practices and techniques for crossing children safely on their way to and from school. This project has been supported by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety with funding from the Federal Highway Administration. Additional funding was made available by the New Jersey Municipal Excess Joint Insurance Fund.
This video is available in both English and Spanish below.
To view the video in English, click here. Or click below.
To view the video in Spanish, click here. Or click below.
Crosswalk Heroes: Crossing Guard Post Placement Video
This film reviews three key actions you can take that will provide structure and support the decisions for the placement of your crossing guard post(s). These key actions include: developing a Crossing Guard Post policy with supporting criteria, communicating change, and lastly, carrying out an annual crossing guard post review.
To view the video, click here or view the video below.