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FHWA Home / Safety / Pedestrian & Bicycle / Pedestrians and Transit

Pedestrian Safety Guide for Transit Agencies

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This photo shows people standing in line to board a bus at a designated bus stop. The bus stop has a sign and a shelter.The primary goal of transit providers is to carry passengers between residences, employment and other destinations in a safe, convenient, efficient and reliable manner. The physical safety of passengers is vital to the success of any transit system—not only to retain existing riders but also to encourage new riders. This is true both while passengers are on board a transit vehicle as well as when they are accessing the system. To access a transit stop or station, all passengers travel at least a short distance by foot, wheelchair, bicycle, or other assistive device.

Two passengers carrying packages board a bus at a designated bus stop. A bench and a bus shelter can be seen in the background. In recent years, courts in several states have ruled that transit agencies are obligated to address the safety of passengers accessing the system, leaving the system, and transferring between vehicles. Transit agencies should consider the effects of the surrounding environment on pedestrians when planning service and stops, and they should implement changes that will increase the safety of passengers accessing the transit system.

Transit agencies play a critical role in making conditions safe for pedestrians traveling to and from transit stops. Transit agencies can help ensure that their vehicles are operated safely near pedestrians and that their stops and stations provide safe pedestrian access. However, agencies are often limited in their ability to take unilateral actions to improve pedestrian safety. Transit agencies frequently lack the authority to address transit access on property not owned by the agency. In order to improve safety for their customers, transit agencies should build partnerships with other organizations and local government agencies, especially those that own and maintain public rights-of-way.

Adequate sidewalks, pathways, and roadway crossings in the area around transit access points and amenities such as benches, shelters, and lighting at stops and stations are important for pedestrian comfort and safety. The most successful transit systems have safe and convenient pedestrian access and provide comfort­able waiting areas, all of which encourage greater transit use.


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Page last modified on January 31, 2013
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