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Getting Smart on Protected Intersections


Protected intersections are emerging as a preferred pedestrian and bicyclist safety design treatment, yet they have not been thoroughly investigated to identify both safety benefits and concerns. This lack of relevant research has led to uncertainty about design details that should be defined and standardized, resulting in limited design guidance relating to this treatment. This research will review installations (both domestic and international) to develop engineering guidance to standardize application. A review of geometries, safety, maintenance needs, comfort, and impact to traffic (including trucks) should be included. There is a need for better information about operational impacts on all road users and impacts to pedestrians specifically in the context of crossing distance, adjacent vehicle speeds and proximity, pedestrian delay, etc.


This research will review existing practice in North America and overseas, perform operations studies of protected and unprotected intersections in the U.S., and create guidance for when, where, and how to design and implement protected intersections.


The benefits of the project include 1) standardized and optimized design practices for future protected intersections, and 2) a better understanding of the safety and operational implications of protected intersections.

Related Research:

The on-going NCHRP 15-63 project, “Guidance to Improve Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety at Intersections,” is studying two existing protected intersections in the US (Krista Nordback, PI).

An on-going National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) research project, “Contextual Guidance at Intersections for Protected Bicycle Lanes,” is studying user perceptions of safety in various protected intersection treatments (Chris Monsere, PI).


1. Document existing practice for how protected intersections are currently designed and implemented, as well as performance characteristics both in North America and abroad. Review geometries, safety, maintenance issues, perceptions of comfort, impact to pedestrian mobility, and impact to motor vehicle and truck traffic.

  1. Conduct field studies of existing protected intersections in terms of operations and safety, including before and after studies for newly implemented designs and/or control intersections.

  2. Assess the costs and benefits of the treatment.

  3. Create a protected intersections design guide.


The guidance will be compiled into a user-friendly guide complete with sample design drawings.


Protected intersections have potential safety and operations benefits to cyclists and pedestrians, but no standards have yet been established for best achieving safety and operational goals.

Sponsoring Committee:ANF20, Bicycle Transportation
Research Period:24 - 36 months
Research Priority:High
RNS Developer:Krista Nordback, Alice Grossman, Rebecca Sanders, Joe Fish
Source Info:Committee members and friends: Krista Nordback, Alice Grossman, Rebecca Sanders, Joe Fish
Date Posted:05/24/2018
Date Modified:12/04/2018
Index Terms:Exclusive phasing, Intersections, Highway safety, Highway design, Traffic safety, Cyclists, Pedestrian areas, Pedestrian safety, Bicycle facilities,
Cosponsoring Committees:ANF10, Pedestrians
Pedestrians and Bicyclists
Safety and Human Factors

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