Non-prescribed zebra crossings at side roads (final report)

Organisations: Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) & Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM)
Date of Publication: November 2021
Uploaded to Knowledge Centre: 10 November 2021

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) commissioned TRL to undertake a programme of
research into the use of non-prescribed zebra crossings at side roads. A prescribed zebra
crossing has black and white stripes with give way lines, yellow globes on striped posts, and a
line of studs and zigzag markings. A non-prescribed zebra crossing uses the black and white
markings without all the other features; thereby allowing the crossing to be installed in the
pedestrians’ desired walking line, directly across the mouth of a junction.

A research programme was designed, which followed a sequence of seven distinct studies,
beginning with analysis of collision statistics, progressing through user surveys and interviews, simulation studies and culminating in two on-street trials. Earlier stages therefore informed later stages and helped to manage risk. This report provides a summary and analysis of the collective findings from this programme of work in order to develop recommendations.

The propensity of drivers to give way increased significantly in the two on-street trials; the
majority of drivers gave way with the crossing, while less than half did so without. Improved
willingness to give way was also found in surveys and the simulator study. However,
compliance when turning into the side road was substantially lower than when turning out,
especially when turning right, which was also indicated in earlier studies. Crucially, while a
significant level of non-compliance remained, this did not increase the observed level of
conflict between road users during the on-street trials.

User surveys found that pedestrians are more likely to cross where a non-prescribed zebra
crossing is provided in comparison to having no crossing.

Investigation of existing non-prescribed zebra crossings found no evidence that using a
simplified crossing with only the zebra markings would have significantly greater risk than
using the full range of features. A reaction time study comparing zebra markings and a range
of possible alternative patterns concluded that zebra markings were the most easily

Qualitative feedback from user surveys, in particular interviews with the disability groups,
identified a number of user concerns such as identifying and judging vehicles approaching
from behind on the main carriageway, identifying and following the path of the crossing,
traffic speed and noise, and large vehicles. These will need to be mitigated through
appropriate site selection, design details and potentially, awareness raising and training.

Based on the research undertaken in this programme, it is recommended that regulatory
approval is sought to implement crossings at a larger number of sites for longer term
monitoring with a wider range of street environments. Noting that the two sites used in the
current study have comparatively low traffic flows, it would be prudent to develop a phased
approach, beginning with validating the findings from the current trials at a larger number of
similar sites, before progressing to sites with a wider range of traffic flows and speeds and
physical characteristics.

Download the full project report: