Pedestrian Forum — Fall 2010
Safe Pedestrians and a Walkable America
VOL. 52, Fall 2010
Inside this issue:
FHWA Focused Approach to Pedestrian Safety Proving Effective
In the Spring of 2004, the FHWA Safety Office decided to take a “focused” approach to safety, and pedestrian safety was one of the high priority areas identified. It was determined that the 13 states with over 150 pedestrian deaths or fatality rate above 2.5 per 100K population and the five cities with the highest number of pedestrian fatalities (see map at right) would receive extra attention in the form of free technical assistance and training.
Over the past 6 years the Safety Office has been working with the focus states and cities to provide free training (almost 200 courses) on designing safe pedestrian facilities and workshops that have led to the development of pedestrian safety action plans.
A recently completed evaluation of the focused approach turned up some very encouraging results. In the pedestrian non-focus states the fatalities between 2002-2008 decreased 4.7% and the fatality rate decreased 11.2%. During that same time period the fatalities decreased 12.1% and the fatality rate decreased 21.8% in the focus states—more than double. For around $1 million total expenditure of contract money over the 6 year period, this investment in extra resources has proven to be really effective. To read more about the pedestrian safety focus states and training, visit our website.
New York City’s Pedestrian Safety Study and Action Plan
New York City, which is one of FHWA’s Pedestrian Safety Focus Cities, recently released a groundbreaking safety study and action plan that it will undertake in the future.
Sixty miles of streets will be redesigned annually and 1,500 intersections will get pedestrian countdown timers. In addition the number of slow-traffic zones around schools will triple as part of an effort to reduce pedestrian injuries and deaths. The report and technical summaries can be found here.
Our next pedestrian safety webinar on November 23 will feature a presentation on the study. See details on page 4 of this newsletter.
FHWA Launches Walk Friendly Communities Initiative
The FHWA, in conjunction with the Pedestrian and Bi-cycle Information Center (PBIC), recently launched Walk Friendly Communities (WFC), a new initiative to encourage communities across the country to sup-port pedestrian safety.
Communities that apply for a WFC designation will have access to suggestions and resources on how to im-prove pedestrian safety. The national launch comes on the heels of a successful pilot in which nine commu-nities tested the application and the online assessment tool. Applications for the nationwide program will be accepted between Novem-ber 1 and December 15, 2010.
The WFC program will evaluate community walk-ability and pedestrian safety through questions related to engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, evaluation and planning. Designations will be announced two to three months after the December 15 deadline. Walk Friendly Communities is jointly sup-ported by the Federal Highway Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and FedEx. For more information, visit http://www.walkfriendly.org.
Safety Effectiveness of HAWK Pedestrian Crossing Treatment
The FHWA’s Office of Safety Research recently completed a report on the High Intensity Activated Crosswalk (HAWK)—also known as the Pedestrian Hybrid Signal in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). The HAWK is a pedestrian activated beacon located on the roadside and on mast arms over major approaches to an intersection.
The HAWK signal head consists of two red lenses over a single yellow lens. It displays a red indication to drivers when activated, which creates a gap for pedestrians to use to cross a major roadway. The HAWK is not illuminated until it is activated by a pedestrian, triggering the warning flashing yellow lens on the major street. After a set amount of time, the indication changes to a solid yellow light to inform drivers to prepare to stop. The beacon then displays a dual solid red light to drivers on the major street and a walking person symbol to pedestrians. At the conclusion of the walk phase, the beacon displays an alternating flashing red light to drivers, and pedestrians are shown an upraised hand symbol with a countdown display informing them of the time left to cross.
The crash types that were examined included total, severe, and pedestrian crashes. From the evaluation that considered data for 21 HAWK sites and 102 unsignalized intersections, the following changes in crashes were found after the HAWK was installed: a 29 percent reduction in total crashes, a 15 percent reduction in severe crashes, and a 69 percent reduction in pedestrian crashes. For more details, visit this website.
The HAWK is now an MUTCD approved device, so a request for experimentation is not necessary. Information on its use can by found in Chapter 4f of the MUTCD.
Evaluation of Shared Lane Marking
The FHWA’s Office of Safety Research recently completed a research effort to determine the safety effectiveness of shared lane markings. These markings help convey to motorists that they must share the roads on which they operate and create improved conditions by clarifying where bicyclists are expected to ride and by notifying motorists to expect bicyclists on the road.
The study was to evaluate the impact of several uses of shared lane pavement markings, specifically the “sharrow” design (see photo and description on right), on operational and safety measures for bicyclists and motorists. Experiments were conducted in Cambridge, MA; Seattle, WA; and Chapel Hill, NC. Increased use of “sharrows” should enhance motorist awareness of bicyclists or the possibility of bicyclists in the traffic stream.
Results indicate that “sharrows” increased operating space for bicyclists. “Sharrows” have reduced sidewalk riding not only in the current study but also in a previous study in Gainesville, FL. As communities continue to experiment with various uses of “sharrows,” it is recommended that researchers continue to create similar trials in other locations and traffic settings and then evaluate and report those experiments so that more data can be examined and guidance to users improved. The “sharrow” is now included in Part 9C.07 of the MUTCD.
New! Livability in Transportation Guidebook: Planning Approaches that Improve Livability
The FWHA recently completed the Livability in Transportation Guidebook, which has the primary purpose of illustrating how livability principles have been incorporated into transportation planning, programming, and project design, using examples from State, regional, and local sponsors. It is intended to be useful to a diverse audience of transportation agency staff, partners, decisionmakers, and the general public, and is applicable in urban, suburban, and rural areas.
The Guidebook provides examples of communities and agencies across the country that have approached today’s new livability in transportation context with innovative and practical strategies, using the transportation planning process to guide successful project implementation. While several of the example projects address capacity and operational issues on major roadways, the Guidebook primarily explores how transportation planning and programs can improve community quality of life, enhance environmental performance, increase transportation and housing choice while lowering costs, and support economic vitality. Many of the case studies resolve capacity and operational issues through a multimodal network and system approach, reflecting better integration of land use with transportation.
You can download and print the guide here.
Tamara Redmon, Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Team Leader
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20590
This Pedestrian Forum is available on the Web at http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/pedforum/
To receive information on future newsletters, please use the e-subsciprtion service provided on this site: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/esubscribe.cfm#ped. Scroll down to “Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety” and select “subscribe”
next to “Pedestrian Forum.”
Livable communities are a high priority of the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Obama Administration. A livable community is one that provides safe and convenient transportation choices to all citizens, whether it’s by walking, bicycling, transit, or driving. Each year, unfortunately, pedestrian fatalities comprise about 12 percent of all traffic fatalities and there are approximately 4,000 pedestrian deaths. Another 70,000 pedestrians are injured in roadway crashes annually. The numbers are improving, but we still have a ways to go. Pedestrian safety improvements depend on an integrated approach that involves the four E’s: Engineering, Enforcement, Education, and Emergency Services. The Pedestrian Forum highlights recent pedestrian safety activities related to the four E’s that will help save lives
Free Pedestrian Safety Webinars
The next FHWA Pedestrian Safety Webinar will take place on Tuesday, November 23, from 1:00-3:00 Eastern Time.
This webinar will feature presentations on New York City’s new Pedestrian Safety Study and Action Plan (mentioned on page 1) and the state of California’s Pedestrian Safety Assessment Program.
Registration information is not yet available, but to receive information once it is avail-able and on future webinars, please use the e-subscription service provided on this site: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/esubscribe.cfm#ped. Scroll down to “Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety” and select “subscribe” next to “Pedestrian Webinar.”
For several years now, the FHWA Ped/Bike Safety Program has been offering free technical assistance to its 13 Pedestrian Focus States and 5 Focus Cities. One of the offered courses, Designing for Pedestrian Safety, is being presented as 8 FREE webinars for up to 1000 participants on the fol-lowing topics:
Intro to Pedestrian Safety Design and Planning Principles.
Treatments at Unsignalized
Interchanges and Roundabouts.
Pedestrians and Transit.
The first six have already taken place and have been recorded. The last two have not yet been scheduled. To register for upcoming Webinars, find out about future Webinars, and view recordings of past webinars please visit here.
You can also sign of for the e-subscription service mentioned in the first column for information on this webinar series once it is finalized and available.
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