Mid-block Crossings

  • Crossing the road can be a dangerous proposition for pedestrians. In urban areas with multiple lanes of traffic, distractions all around and travelers using various modes of transportation, the hazards are everywhere. City planners typically install crosswalks at intersections to help pedestrians cross. However, the majority of pedestrian fatalities happen when they try to cross the street mid-block — whether at an unmarked crosswalk or in an area where they’re not supposed to cross. Mid-block crosswalks that have high-visibility can help reduce these types of pedestrian crashes and fatalities.

pedestrian crossing street
Install Highly Visible Mid-Block Crosswalks to Protect Pedestrians in Urban Areas.

There were 6,227 pedestrian deaths in the U.S. in 2018, according to GHSA — a 28-year high. Almost 75% of those occurred when pedestrians tried to cross the road mid-block, instead of using intersections.

An Urban Safety Solution: High-Visibility Mid-block Crossings

Protect pedestrians. Reduce collisions. Save lives.

Key factors contributing to mid-block pedestrian fatalities:

  • Drivers are less likely to look for pedestrians crossing in these areas.
  • Vehicles are travelling faster than they are at intersections.

Well-marked, highly visible mid-block pedestrian crosswalks are a proven, cost-effective way to improve safety for pedestrians in urban areas. By determining where pedestrians are most likely to cross and installing crosswalks in these locations, we can help increase the visibility of pedestrians and driver awareness of people crossing the road.    

  • yellow pedestrian crossing sign

    A Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Guide to Improving Crosswalk Visibility

    Many factors, including low-light conditions, parked cars obstructing views, and curved roads can all make it difficult for drivers to see crosswalks in time to react. The FHWA recommends steps to enhance the visibility of crosswalks, including adding traffic lights to crosswalks, using high-visibility markings, and installing traffic signs to warn drivers of crosswalks. According to the FHWA, “Crosswalk visibility enhancements can reduce crashes by 23-48%.”     

Designing and Building Effective Mid-block

Recommendations for infrastructure and road designers to help pedestrians safely cross the road.

City planners are realising that pedestrian crosswalks are needed where people cross the street, including mid-block. Infrastructure and traffic safety devices are a low-cost and effective way to help improve pedestrian crosswalk visibility and calm traffic in these locations.     

  • 3M traffic signs for mid-block crosswalks
    High-Visibility Traffic Signs

    Traffic signs help indicate to pedestrians where they can cross while warning drivers of an approaching crosswalk, or curb bump-out, in time to reduce their speed and stop. For traffic signs to be most effective, they need to be highly visible and conspicuous in a range of conditions, including at dawn, dusk, night, or inclement weather.     

  • 3M retroreflective pavement makings for pedestrian crossing markings
    Retroreflective Pavement Markings

    Highly visible retroreflective pavement markings provide on-road indications of crosswalks for both pedestrians and motorists. Advanced wet retroreflective pavement markings use next-generation optics to improve visibility in all conditions — night or day, rain or shine.

  • 3M channelizers and delineators help designate safer spaces for pedestrians
    Channelizers and Delineators
    Channelizers and delineators are a cost-effective way to create median refuges — designating safe spaces for pedestrians to wait as they cross larger streets. Apply retroreflective sheeting to channelizers to ensure they’re highly visible to motorists.
  • use road diets to help in traffic safety management
    Road Diets

    Road diets are an FHWA-recommended countermeasure to reduce the number of lanes in your street — typically from four lanes to two lanes with a shared turn lane in the middle. This reduces the number of lanes pedestrians must cross while creating more space for other traffic safety enhancements like curb extensions and median refuges.

Graphic of pedestrian in urban crosswalk losing balance backing up as car enters crosswalk.
Helping You Build Safer Mid-block Crossings

Traffic Safety Products for Mid-block Crossings

3M traffic safety devices are engineered to be more visible, more conspicuous, more durable and more versatile, helping you build safe and effective complete streets where pedestrians avoid jaywalking.


Need Help Designing and Building Safer Urban Roads?

Our 3M experts are here to show you cost-effective and easy-to-apply traffic infrastructure solutions that can help you improve traffic safety and mobility.