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How medians and pedestrian crossing islands benefit road users

As many New Jersey residents may already know, many pedestrians in the state die due to traffic accidents each year. Those residents might be interested to know that, according to an analysis conducted by the Federal Highway Administration, medians and pedestrian crossing islands have proven themselves to be effective measures for preventing fatal pedestrian accidents.

According to research done by the FHA, a branch of the U.S. Department of Transportation, various kinds of medians and pedestrian refuge areas lower the risk of accidents involving pedestrians as well as traffic accidents in general. In fact, when medians and pedestrian islands are implemented between traffic lanes and at intersections, the rate of pedestrian accidents may drop by up to 46 percent. Moreover, auto accidents in general may drop by 39 percent, according to the FHA.

One reason for this reduction is that medians and pedestrian islands have been shown to reduce driving speeds and increase pedestrian visibility. Refuge areas give pedestrians a safe place to wait at midblock locations, which is where 70 percent of pedestrian fatalities occur, statistics indicate. Since around 80 percent of people hit by a motor vehicle driving at 40 miles per hour or faster die, measures that decrease traffic speeds may concurrently decrease the number of pedestrian deaths for a given area. The Department of Transportation recommends placing these safety measures in places with high travel speeds as well as in locations that have a high mix of pedestrian and auto traffic.

Despite signs, crosswalks and other safety measures like medians and refuge areas, some pedestrian accidents are still likely to occur. If an accident was proven to be the fault of a motor vehicle driver, there may be grounds for civil action. Those who suffered damages in relation to the incident may speak with an attorney, who may provide specific counsel regarding the viability of a personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death claim.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, "Medians and Pedestrian Crossing Islands in Urban and Suburban Areas", November 10, 2014

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