Tactics

Advance Stop Lines

Stop lines are used to indicate the point behind which vehicles should stop for a Stop sign, a Stop Here for Pedestrians sign, or some other traffic-control device that requires vehicles to stop.

Guidance
  • Stop lines should not be used where drivers are supposed to yield
  • Lines should be solid white lines extending across approach lanes
  • Stop lines should be 12″–24” wide
  • Stop lines should be placed a minimum of 4’ before the crosswalk at controlled intersections—ideally 10’ before the crosswalk
  • In the absence of a marked crosswalk, the stop line should be placed at the desired stopping point, 4’–30’ from the nearest edge of the intersecting road
  • On multilane approaches, stop lines may be staggered longitudinally on a lane-bylane basis to improve the driver’s view of pedestrians, provide better sight distance for turning vehicles, and increase the turning radius for left-turning vehicles
Benefits
  • Improves safety and visibility of crossing pedestrians
  • A Canadian Research on Pedestrian Safety report found that a “Stop Here for Pedestrians” sign reduces conflicts between drivers and pedestrians by 67%. Adding an advanced stop line reduces conflicts by 90% compared with baseline levels
Considerations
  • Not appropriate at crosswalks approaching or departing roundabouts
  • When drivers stop too close to crosswalks that cross uncontrolled multilane approaches, they might block other drivers’ views of pedestrians and pedestrians’ views of vehicles
  • Drivers may ignore the line if it’s placed too far in advance of the crosswalk
Where to Use It
  • In front of all stop-controlled crosswalks
Examples
  • Widespread in U.S. cities

This material is the product of a partnership between America Walks and Sam Schwartz Engineering. Visit here for more information on the partnership.