Law Enforcement

Install Pedestrian-Traffic Managers at Problematic Intersections

Pedestrian-traffic managers (PTMs) are trained, uniformed individuals that direct pedestrians across intersections or along crowded, mixed-use paths where conflicts between pedestrians, cars, and/or bicycles are frequent. While they are not authorized to direct vehicle traffic, pedestrian managers can use their arms, voices, whistles, or physical barriers to establish boundaries between modes of transportation.

  • Create a committee of traffic engineers, law enforcement offices and members of the community to identify problem locations and oversee pedestrian-traffic management in those areas
  • Consider the following when assigning PTMs:
    • Vulnerable pedestrians
    • Width of the street and/or number of lanes
    • Length of sight distance
    • Vehicle speeds
    • Presence of traffic signals, signals, and pavement markings
    • The number of safe gaps in traffic
    • Volume of traffic and pedestrians
  • Hire pedestrian managers with experience
    in managing people and vehicles, such as
    retired traffic-enforcement agents or police
  • Train employees using nationally recognized
    traffic safety standards
  • Train employees using classroom and field
    exercises covering:
    »» Basic traffic laws including pavement
    markings and signage
    »» Work-zone safety elements
    »» Proper use of traffic signs and signals
    »» Methods of signaling drivers and taking
    advantage of gaps in traffic
    »» Crossing procedures and way to teach them
    to pedestrians
    »» Site-specific traffic factors and potential
    traffic hazards
    »» Professional work responsibilities
    »» Proper use of safety equipment
    »» Procedures for crashes
  • Design mandatory pedestrian-manager
    uniforms to be clearly visible and identifiable
    to both drivers and pedestrians
  • Differentiate the mandatory pedestrianmanager
    uniforms from those of regular lawenforcement
  • Reduces pedestrian-vehicle conflicts
  • Improves quality of life for residents by decreasing honking and blocked intersections
  • Clarifies and reinforces safe road behavior
  • Potential difficulty in establishing authority with pedestrians and drivers
  • Manpower and supervision costs
Where to Use It
  • Intersections with high rates of collisions between pedestrians, vehicles, and/or bicycles
  • Congested intersections where vehicles frequently block crosswalks
  • Any intersection with high volumes of pedestrian and/or vehicle traffic, including construction sites, shopping malls, special event venues, schools, hospitals, and religious institutions
Professional Consensus
  • The 2009 Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) provides guidance on school crossing guards but doesn’t address pedestrian management

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