Evaluation of the Focused Approach to Pedestrian Safety Program
Prepared for the
Federal Highway Administration
Office of Safety
February 2, 2009
The Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
Research and Innovative Technology Administration
This report summarizes the results of an evaluation of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Focused Approach to Pedestrian Safety Program. The study was done by the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center at the request of the FHWA Office of Safety (HSA). Five of the 19 “focus” locations were chosen for this evaluation based on geographic diversity, number and types of Program activities, and the availability of data about Program implementation. The study consisted of semi-structured telephone interviews with 29 pedestrian safety stakeholders (mostly from government agencies) across the five locations.
The key findings from the study are:
Being designated a focus location by the FHWA helped raise awareness of pedestrian safety problems and gave them a legitimacy not had previously. It also helped draw attention and resources to generate momentum for addressing pedestrian issues.
Participants found the course offerings, technical assistance, conference calls, and web conferences valuable for:
Improving participants’ understanding of and attitudes toward pedestrian safety.
Increasing participants’ ability and confidence to advocate for pedestrian safety improvements.
Communicating practical techniques for improving pedestrian safety.
Demand for the course offerings far exceeded their capacity.
Several focus locations have developed follow-on pedestrian safety training, primarily with the assistance of the FHWA Resource Center.
The mix of professions represented in the courses—both within transportation agencies and between transportation agencies and other state and local agencies, especially public health and law enforcement—fostered relationships among attendees that have been helpful in continuing to address pedestrian safety problems.
Most focus locations have implemented or are planning to implement countermeasures and initiatives that will improve pedestrian safety. In some locations, this involves developing statewide or regional pedestrian safety plans. Each location also mentioned some practical strategies being planned or already in use based on content from the courses. These were generally small-scale changes such as installing pedestrian countdown timers or improving striping at crosswalks. Several locations are planning substantial improvements such as infrastructure changes for traffic calming or installing pedestrian refuge islands.
The Program has also spurred changes in policies, business processes, and institutional structures focused on pedestrian safety.
The main recommendations for improvements to the Focused Approach to Pedestrian Safety are:
Offer more courses.
Offer courses regularly so that new employees can be trained as they are hired.
Create course content that can be easily customized to meet the specific needs of the intended audiences.
Explore educational strategies other than the courses, conference calls, and technical assistance (e.g., web-based learning, peer learning).
Develop outreach and education strategies and materials for FHWA division offices to distribute in their states. This could include:
Outreach material for senior managers and policy makers to emphasize the importance of pedestrian safety and how the Focused Approach to Pedestrian Safety Program can help to improve pedestrian safety.
Educational resources such as studies of “best practices” or examples of successful pedestrian safety improvements under specific conditions (e.g., size of the metropolitan area, nature of the transportation network, volume of pedestrians).
Tools to help agencies analyze pedestrian safety and identify appropriate solutions.
Promote the technical assistance component of the Program.
Develop tools and strategies to continually monitor and evaluate Program effectiveness.
Conduct further research to provide a thorough understanding of the effectiveness of various pedestrian countermeasures and the keys to successful Program outcomes.
Consider modifying the strategy for determining which localities should receive Focused Approach to Pedestrian resources to reflect a combination of need and interest.
Table of Contents
- Evaluation Approach
Appendix A. Case Studies
Appendix B. Interview Questions
List of Abbreviations
||Americans with Disabilities Act|
||California Department of Transportation|
||Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning|
||Federal Highway Administration|
||Georgia Department of Transportation|
||Governor’s Traffic Safety Advisory Commission|
||FHWA Office of Safety|
||Illinois Department of Transportation|
||Michigan Department of Transportation|
||Metropolitan Planning Organization|
||New York Metropolitan Transportation Council|
||Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center|
||Pedestrian Safety Action Plan|
The FHWA Safety Office is continually developing new materials to assist states, localities and citizens in improving pedestrian and bicycle safety. The materials listed on this page were completed recently.
New Pedestrian Forum – Spring 2013
Bicycle Road Safety Audit Guidelines and Prompt Lists
Proven Countermeasures for Pedestrian Safety
Spotlight on Pedestrian Safety
Promoting the Implementation of Proven Pedestrian Countermeasures
State Best Practice Policy for Medians
State Best Practice Policy for Shoulders and Walkways
Pedestrian Countermeasure Policy Best Practice Report
The State of Florida is developing a statewide Pedestrian Safety Action Plan. They have set up a project website that includes information about the project, workshop presentations and resources relating to pedestrian safety.
Evaluating Pedestrian Safety Countermeasures
Safety Benefits of Raised Medians and Pedestrian Refuge Areas: Brochure, Booklet
Safety Benefits of Walkways, Sidewalks, and Paved Shoulders: Brochure, Booklet
Pedestrian Safety Strategic Plan