CEE Graduate Seminars 2011
Friday, October 14, 2011, 2 PM
D221 Thornton Hall
Altering Driving Behavior with Pavement Markings: The Zig-Zag Experiment
In these times of economic uncertainty, state and local transportation agencies are increasingly looking for cost-effective means to increase safety for all users of our road system. Recently, there has been a greater level of interest in studying unconventional pavement markings as a treatment to communicate more directly to motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists. This seminar presents the results of a Virginia Department of Transportation study on zig-zag pavement markings, which were installed in advance of two multi-use trail intersections in Northern Virginia in an attempt to increase motorist awareness at the locations.
The purpose of this research was to assess the effectiveness of the zig-zag pavement markings. Effectiveness was defined in three ways: (1) an increase in motorist awareness in advance of the crossing locations; (2) a positive change in motorist attitudes; and (3) motorist understanding of the markings. Motorist awareness was measured by computing the difference in vehicle speeds before and after the installation of the markings. Motorist attitudinal changes were measured through a survey targeting motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists familiar with the markings. Motorist understanding was measured through another survey administered elsewhere in the state that targeted motorists unfamiliar with the zig-zag markings in Loudoun County.
The study found that the markings installed in advance of the two crossings heightened the awareness of approaching motorists. This was evidenced by reduced mean vehicle speeds within the marking zones. Further, the majority of survey respondents indicated an increase in awareness, a change in their driving behavior, and a higher tendency to yield than before. The study also found that motorists have limited understanding of the purpose of the markings.
Lance Dougald is a Research Scientist in the Safety, Operations, and Traffic Engineering team at the Virginia Center for Transportation Innovation and Research (VCTIR). VCTIR is a partnership of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the University of Virginia. Mr. Dougald has been a Research Scientist at VCTIR since 2006. Prior to this position, he was a Transportation Engineer at VCTIR for 8 years. In the Operations field, Mr. Dougald’s main area of expertise is in evaluating incident management concepts and strategies. In the Traffic Engineering field, Mr. Dougald’s main areas of interest and expertise are in pedestrian safety and the evaluation of pedestrian treatments. While at VCTIR, he has published 6 research reports of studies pertaining specifically to enhancing pedestrian safety on our public roads. Mr. Dougald received his MS in Civil Engineering from the University of Virginia in 2006.
The Civil Engineering seminar series is open to the University community.
Civil Engineering undergraduate students are especially invited to attend.