Springfield driver yield rate drops to after “Yield Check”

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo- The fourth-quarter crosswalk assessments performed by the City’s SGF Yields pedestrian safety program indicate driver compliance has declined to an average of 48% across Springfield, a reduction of 15 percentage points from the third quarter of 2021.

Springfield’s crosswalk yielding average started at 25% of drivers yielding when crosswalk assessments started in 2017. Efforts in public education, crosswalk modifications, and amendments to local crosswalk regulation have created an impact on local driving practices. Recently, the program partnered with Springfield Police Department to conduct five months of “Yield Check” enforcement events, funded through a grant from the Missouri Department of Transportation. City traffic safety professionals credit Yield Checks with helping increase the city-wide compliance rate to an all-time high of 63% in the third quarter of 2021. 

“Unfortunately, as the crosswalk enforcement program has come to a close, yield rates have noticeably declined,” explains Traffic Safety professional Mandy Buettgen-Quinn. “However, compared to this time last year, 48% is still an increase of 5 percentage points compared to the fourth quarter in 2020. Springfield has come a long way and now at least about half of drivers are choosing to yield to pedestrians. I am optimistic that trend will continue to increase.” 

The quarterly review, conducted by the Springfield Public Works Traffic Operations division since 2017, assesses driver compliance at six crosswalk sites with similar traffic speeds and characteristics. Two sites are studied every quarter as a control group. The remaining sites are selected from each of the four City Council zones. Results from each location are averaged to produce a snapshot of driver compliance across the city.

Study sites for the fourth quarter of 2021 included crosswalks at Mount Vernon Street at Golden Avenue, Grant Avenue near Talmage Street, Bennett Street at Delaware Avenue, Mentor Avenue near Greenlee Street, Trafficway Street at the Ice Park, and Broadway Avenue at Swan Street.

“We’ve always noticed a small decrease in driver compliance in the fourth quarter,” Buettgen explains. “It’s a busy time of year and drivers are in a hurry. But during the holidays, we really should try to care more for the welfare of others. Please remember to take care and watch for pedestrians, especially as winter weather rolls in and can begin to impact driver visibility and stop times.”    

Buettgen says SGF Yields and Springfield Police Department anticipate applying for further grant funding to conduct a second round of Yield Check events in the future.

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