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Pedestrians Checklist and Considerations for Temporary Traffic Control Zones

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For those who plan, design, and construct temporary traffic control (TTC) zones, the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) provides guidance considerations regarding pedestrians, accessibility, and worker safety. This document provides a checklist and overview of pedestrian-related considerations during planning, design, and construction phases for a project and is designed to enhance pedestrian safety and accessibility, maintain Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) compliance, and provide positive guidance to avoid pedestrian confusion throughout each phase. This side of the document provides pedestrian considerations for use during the planning and design phases, while the other side provides information for users while out in the field.

Pedestrian Considerations during Planning and Design
  • Provide a safe, convenient travel path for pedestrians that replicates as nearly as possible the most desirable characteristics of the existing sidewalks or footpaths throughout all phases of construction. Avoid creating pedestrian paths that lead pedestrians into direct conflicts with work site vehicles, equipment, operations.
  • Avoid creating pedestrian paths that lead pedestrians into direct conflicts with mainline traffic moving through or around the work site.
  • Determine the TTC impact on pedestrians, including significant generators such as schools, senior centers, transit stops and shopping areas.
    • Determine the level of accessibility needed for pedestrians in the TTC zone through observing existing pedestrian travel patterns, and make accommodations prior to the start of work. Consider meeting with local community organizations (i.e., local blind organization, city ADA coordinator, etc.) through open houses to address concerns and needs.
  • Develop outreach products available in the appropriate formats for those with specials needs.
  • Assess the TTC impact on existing pedestrian flow.
    • Ensure that temporary facilities replicate as nearly as practical the accessibility features present in the existing pedestrian facility when the existing facilities are disrupted, closed, or relocated in a TTC zone

Photo of a bus pulling away from a curb and preparing to turn across a pedestrian crosswalk in heavy traffic. Photo courtesy of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.Photo of a temporary ramp constructed to assisted wheelchair-bound pedestrians and others who need a flat surface to mount the curb safely.Photo of a sight impaired pedestrian using a wooden temporary access ramp in front of a building.     Photo of a wheelchair-bound pedestrian on a closed sidewalk utilizing a temporary access ramp on a pedestrial detour path.  Photo of a sight impaired woman discussing the visibility of an orange channelizing device with a man beside her taking notes.

  • Provide pedestrian information throughout the TTC zone.
    • Provide advance information, transition information, work area information, and ingress and egress directions for pedestrians. See Accommodating Pedestrians in Work Zones brochure developed by FHWA; FHWA-SA-03-011.
  • The TTC pedestrian accommodation that utilizes a temporary route does the following:
    • Defines detoured routes clearly.
    • Provides advance signage at intersections rather than mid-block locations.
    • Separates pedestrians from vehicle traffic.
    • Avoids mid-block crossings.
    • Ensures that temporary routes are not much longer than the original route.
    • Provides clear and positive guidance to delineate a temporary route.
    • Provides continuous access to transit stops and/or relocates transit stops.
  • Maintain a continuous accessible path of travel either around or through the construction site throughout all construction phases.
  • Ensure compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 requirements.
    • Provide an alternate route when existing pedestrian facilities are disrupted, closed, or relocated in a TTC zone. Temporary facilities should replicate the features present in the existing pedestrian facility.
    • Ensure a minimum sidewalk width of 36" (a 48" width is desirable), erect curb ramps, and provide passing space (minimum 5 foot by 5 foot space every 200 feet).
    • Maintain a minimum width and smooth surface to avoid creating tripping danger and to minimize barriers to wheelchair use. This includes providing ADA compliant facilities.
    • Make all barriers and channelizing devices detectable for pedestrians with visual disabilities. Note that the use of caution tape stretched between traffic control devices is not adequate and not acceptable.
    • Consider using additional devices for visual disabilities, such as audible information devices or accessible pedestrian signal.
  • Maintain pedestrian access to businesses, residences, transit stops, etc.
  • Provide temporary nighttime lighting for pedestrian walkways throughout the TTC zone.
Pedestrian Considerations While in the Field
  • Promote adequate pedestrian safety via physical separation from work space and vehicular traffic, overhead protection, etc.
  • Provide adequate and safe detour(s) whenever sidewalks are closed or blocked.
    • Use signs at intersections to give advance notification of closures ahead, and inform pedestrians where to cross.
    • Provide audible signage for pedestrians with visual disabilities.
  • Clear the path of debris and other items that may obstruct pedestrians' paths.
    • Avoid pedestrian walkway surfaces that are slippery when wet.
  • Consider carefully the placement of intersection crosswalks, implement additional signing/marking, add and/or relocate transit stops, and modify traffic signals (traffic signal timing, pedestrian signals, push buttons) as necessary.
    • Take into account walking speeds and the distance pedestrians travel when traversing travel lanes to determine minimum green time.
  • Inspect pedestrian accommodations during construction to ensure that the traffic control plan (TCP) is followed.
  • Ensure traffic control devices are in good and safe condition.
    • Devices should be sturdy, firm to the grip, and smooth to the touch (have no rough edges).
    • Devices should not be potential tripping hazards.
    • Provide a continuous, detectable edging throughout the length of the facility such that pedestrians using a long cane can follow it.
  • Make pedestrian routes ADA compliant and available to pedestrians during all phases of construction.

Photo of a temporary pedestrian detour erected near a construction zone in an urban setting. The detour is covered, has a full wall separating the pedestrian area from the construction work progressing along one side, and is protected from vehicle traffic on the other side by cement barricades.A photo of an orange verticle panel barricade placed in the middle of a paved walkway. A sign mounted on the device warns that the sidewalk is closed ahead. In the background, an A-frame barricade is positioned immediately before an area where the sidewalk has been torn up during construction.

Helpful Resources
  • U.S. Access Board
  • Public Rights-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines (PROWAG):
    • or US Access Board's PROW team: (800) 872-2253.
    • Access Board videos on Accessible Sidewalks.
    • Accessible Design for the Blind:
  • MUTCD.
  • FHWA's pedestrian safety website.
  • Federal Highway Administration, Pedestrian Road Safety Audit Guidelines and Prompts Lists, July 2007. FHWA-SA-07-007


ATSSA logo.    FHWA logo.

Developed by:
American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA)
15 Riverside Parkway Suite 100
Fredericksburg, VA 22406-1022
(800) 272-8772

This material is based upon work supported by the Federal Highway Administration under Grant Agreement No. DTFH61-06-G-00004. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Highway Administration.

Modified: 7/9/2012

Categories: Pedestrian Safety | Temporary Traffic Control | Work Zone Design