Bellevue launched a pilot project in summer 2017 to evaluate the effectiveness of pedestrians using brightly colored flags when moving through crosswalks at busy intersections.
The steps are simple (video), and, while such flags have been used
in other cities, the system is new for Bellevue. The intent of the flags is to raise driver awareness for pedestrians using crosswalks and to increase pedestrian safety.
The purpose of the pilot project is to evaluate the effectiveness of the flags, which has not been well documented, and to evaluate the level of maintenance needed to replace lost or stolen flags.
After more than a year, engineer’s evaluating the pilot project found that, when used, crosswalk flags can draw more attention to pedestrians. However, the use of the flags is limited. Most people choose not to pick up and use the flags. To better understand the low use, another location is being considered for trial elsewhere in the city.
Because of the maintenance needed to replenish flags that disappear or wear out, there are pros and cons to introducing flags on a broader basis. These trade-offs are being evaluated and a report detailing the costs, benefits and trade-offs of crosswalk flags will be available upon completion. In the meantime, the Transportation Department continues to monitor flag use, collect data and analyze their effectiveness.
The initial cost to outfit two pilot project crosswalks was approximately $500, plus staff time for planning, implementation and ongoing maintenance. Currently, there is no funded program to introduce flags on a broader basis.