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FHWA Home / Safety / Pedestrian & Bicycle / Pedestrian Forum

Pedestrian Forum – Spring 2002

Safe Pedestrians and a Walkable America
VOL. 20, Spring 2002


The goal of the FHWA is to continually improve highway safety by reducing highway fatalities and injuries by 20 percent in ten years.  Ensuring safe travel on highways is the guiding principle throughout the FHWA.  Pedestrian fatalities account for about 12 percent of all traffic fatalities and are one of the focus areas of the Safety Office.  FHWA has taken the position that walking and bicycling are legitimate modes of transportation.

There is no question that conditions for bicycling and walking need to be improved in every community in the United States; it is no longer acceptable that over 5,000 pedestrians and bicyclists are killed in traffic every year, that people with disabilities cannot travel without encountering barriers, and that two desirable and efficient modes of travel have been made difficult and uncomfortable.

Every transportation agency has the responsibility and the opportunity to make a difference in the bicycle-friendliness and walkability of our communities. The design information to accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians is available, as is the funding. The United States Department of Transportation is committed to doing all it can to improve conditions for bicycling and walking and to make them safer ways to travel.  (The Pedestrian Forum is also on the web at http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/pedforum/)

Congressional Forum on Safe Routes to School

A Congressional Forum on Safe Routes to School (SRS), which was hosted by Congressman Jim Oberstar, took place on February 5 at the Member's Room of the Library of Congress.  In response to growing concerns about children's sedentary lifestyles, a number of communities have instituted Safe Routes to Schools programs to encourage children to walk or bike to school.  The forum included a series of presentations on local, state, and national SRS initiatives and plans for the future.

Cost Estimate for Losing an American's With Disabilities Act (ADA) Lawsuit – The city of Honolulu, Hawaii lost an ADA accessible curb ramp lawsuit.  A recent assessment of Honolulu's cost for their curb ramp program (bringing facilities up to date) is approximately $120 million.  It is estimated that it would have cost Honolulu a fraction of this figure if it had followed what was required by ADA when it installed the curb ramps.  Section 504, Rehabilitation Act (1973) required curb ramps to be installed on Federally-funded projects.  Section 504 also required States and localities to develop a transition plan that identified barriers and a schedule for removing the barriers.

ADA, 1990, Title II, addresses the State and local government requirements for making programs and facilities accessible.  Title II also requires the development of a transition plan.  The deadline for removing barriers in the plan was January 1995.  Many entities have not developed a plan or made a good faith effort in removing barriers, putting them at risk for lawsuits that may cost far more than doing the work when it was first required. 

FHWA's Mary Peters Speaks at Bike Summit.

FHWA Administrator Mary Peters delivered the keynote address to the 2nd National Bike Summit, March 6. Peters spoke on behalf of Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, who was unable to attend. The Summit brought more than 200 leaders of the bicycle community to Washington, DC for three days of meetings and visits.  For more info. see www.bikeleague.org

FHWA New York Division:  Pedestrian Safety Progress

The New York Division, with assistance from their NHTSA Liaison, has been working with safety partners in New York, including the Governor's Highway Safety Representative, to make progress on the FHWA initiative to reduce fatal and serious injury crashes by 20% in 10 years.  Recent efforts have culminated in New York's Governor Pataki signing a letter to all safety advocates around the state advising them future 402 funding would be given priority in three major emphasis areas:  pedestrian safety, alcohol, and roadway safety.  These emphasis areas were chosen based on their relevance to reducing fatal and serious injury crashes by 20% in 10 years.  One of the most significant of the three was pedestrian safety–especially pedestrian safety in New York City, where one pedestrian is killed every other day.  The Governor's Traffic Safety Committee has dedicated $1 million in pedestrian-eligible 402 funding for initiatives targeting pedestrian safety countermeasures.  Other funding mechanisms, such as Federal-aid and other Federal and state resources, will also be used to address pedestrian safety issues around the state and in New York City.

FHWA's Safety pedestrian web site – visit us at http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/. Lots more information added. Copy this site to all your colleagues and others interested in pedestrian/bicyclist safety.

"Safer Journey" – Interactive Pedestrian Safety Awareness wins two more awards for Public Service and Special (education) from Omni Intermedia.(in addition to the "Gold Camera"award from US International Film and Video Festival).  Many State DOTS are printing their own copies for distribution (e.g. IL – 10,000 copies, NC – 5,000 copies).  E-mail leverson.boodlal@fhwa.dot.gov if your state agency is interested in printing copies for distribution.  View the on line version at http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/ped_bike_order/ (click on "Safer Journey")

Meeting of Public Rights-of-Way Access Advisory Committee [PROWAAC]

PROWAAC met on April 4-5, in San Antonio.  A good portion of the meeting time was devoted to discussing drawings of "ideal" ADA compliant intersections.  There were quite a few comments and revisions, particularly on pole placement for the pedestrian pushbutton, and the use of more stub poles and moving the larger signal pole back when possible.  Also discussed was the development of case studies to help demonstrate to the engineering community how to develop ADA compliant intersections.  The next meeting is tentatively planned for Columbus, Ohio, on June 19-21.


Bicycle Safety Education Resource Center

The FHWA's Safety Core Business Unit recently completed development of the Bicycle Safety Education Resource Center, which is a new web site that provides bicycle safety education information for bicyclists of all ages, motorists, and those who teach children to ride. You'll find a searchable database of training materials, a guide to help you identify the training needs of your audience, and a Good Practices Guide to assist with the development of your own program.

To access the Resource Center, visit  http://www.bicyclinginfo.org/ee/fhwa.html. Hard copies of the Good Practices Guide will be available mid-May.  Contact Tamara Broyhill at tamara.Broyhill@fhwa.dot.gov for more information.

Segway Bill Passes Senate EPW Committee

Senate Bill 2024, allowing Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Devices (Segways) to use federally funded sidewalks and trails, passed the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee today, April 25. Despite concerns about the bill from FHWA (not enough known about the operational characteristics) and pedestrian groups (incompatible with sidewalk use), Senators passed the bill on a voice vote.

Visit http://www.americawalks.org/epamd/ and/or www.segway.com for more information about the device.

The Pedestrian and Bicycle University Graduate Course – FHWA held the 3rd workshop on April 11 for 24 professors from 22 states to expose them to the graduate course.  The professors were drawn from a range of disciplines including civil engineering, urban planning, rural/regional studies, architectural and environmental engineering, city planning, and recreation.   The first two workshop helped to refine the graduate course.  The opening remarks were done by the Safety program manager George Ostensen who challenged each professor to become advocates for safety.  The course teaches future professionals how to integrate pedestrian and bicyclist accommodations into the planning and design of transportation facilities. The university course is modular in format and covers an extensive range of issues in nonmotorized transportation design, including pedestrian and bicyclist crash types and related safety countermeasures, pedestrian accommodation at intersections, traffic calming techniques, and bicycle facility design. (Contacts, Ann.do@fhwa.dot.gov or leverson.boodlal@fhwa.dot.gov )

Alert Call For Session Ideas . The TRB Committee on Pedestrians solicits your suggestions for sessions for the next Annual TRB meeting.  Preferred are sessions which could be co-sponsored with other TRB committees of the non-converted, similar to the sessions for the last couple of years updating us on the status of the AASHTO  pedestrian guidelines. Willingness to put the sessions together is quite a high positive. Suggesting co-sponsoring committees is another.  Having a sense of title and presenters is a third. The end of May is the preliminary deadline. E-mail suggestions to hershfan@world.std.com

Planning underway for fourth conference on Walking

America Walks will host the the Fourth International Conference on Walking in Portland, Oregon, May 1-3, 2003.  The conference will bring together professionals and activists in public health, transportation, and community planning to help shift the global paradigm for how walking and pedestrians are viewed. Delegates will explore how walking is integrated into our infrastructure, our institutions, and our daily lives.  For more information, please visit http://americawalks.org/walk21/ or email info@americawalks.org

State of the art pedestrian research online – An excellent summary, '"State-of-the Art" Pedestrian Safety Programs and Literature Search,' February 7, 2001, can be seen on the Pedestrian Committee web site (http://trbpeds.tripod.com) under 'Documents.'  It includes: Summary of other States' Pedestrian Safety Programs; Studies and Programs of Other States; FHWA; TRB; and Literature Search.  It was developed by the Maryland State Highway Administration's Research Division based on input from the AASHTO Research Advisory Committee and their own literature search.

New ITE Traffic Control Devices Handbook features first-ever chapters on pedestrians and bicyclists – The ITE, Institute of Transportation Engineers, has just recently published a new Traffic Control Devices Handbook, 2001, which bridges the gap between the Federal Highway Administration's Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices provisions and those decisions to be made on device usage and application.  The Handbook has been expanded to include special chapters on "Pedestrians" and "Bicycle" traffic control devices to assist planners and engineers in solving problems.  The Handbook, and may other valuable guides, may be found and ordered online from the ITE at http://www.ite.org. Phone 202-289-0222.

NJDOT launches new pedestrian safety campaign – "CROSS AT THE GREEN, IF YOU KNOW WHAT WE MEAN" – NJDOT has taken a lighthearted approach to a serious subject, reinforcing the importance of two key safety messages in their latest pedestrian safety promotional campaign. The images can be seen on billboards and as exterior posters on NJ TRANSIT buses throughout the state. Smaller posters are also being distributed by NJDOT at trade shows and by request.  More information is available online at http://www.state.nj.us/njcommuter/html/crosgren.htm or from Elise Bremer-Nei elise.bremer-nei@dot.state.nj.us

State Bike/Ped Coordinators Get AASHTO Role

AASHTO has established a Joint Task Force on Non-motorized Transportation under the Subcommittee on Design.  This sub-committee in turn reports to the Standing Committee on Highways and membership will comprise the state bicycle and pedestrian coordinators. The Chair of the Joint Task Force has been designated as Ms. Susanne Martinovich, Chief Engineer of Nevada DOT.

Resource Guide on Laws Related to Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Laws – This document, available only on CD Rom or as a download from the NHTSA website, includes provisions of vehicle and traffic laws for every state that may affect pedestrian and bicyclist safety.  The Guide also includes model legislation containing specific provisions to improve or increase safe cycling and walking and compares the laws of each state with the selected provisions.  For more information, contact Marv Levy at 202-366-5597.  For copies of the CD Rom, write to the Office of Research and Traffic Records, NHTSA, NTS-31, 400 Seventh Street, SW, Washington, DC  20590, send a fax to 202-366-7096, or download it from NHTSA's website www.nhtsa.dot.gov.

"Ride Smart:  It's Time to Start" Video Now Available

NHTSA has produced a "funky fast-paced" video on bicycle helmet safety, featuring a "raw egg drop" and "jello brain" demonstration.  The video also explains how to buy an approved bicycle helmet that fits correctly and discusses the rules of the road. Contact Marietta Bowen for more information: mbowen@nhtsa.dot.gov. To order a copy of the VHS video or a Beta master, fax your request to (301) 386-2194.

FHWA Bike/Ped Program Personnel Change

Carol Tan Esse, who was manager of the FHWA's Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Research Program, is back from maternity leave but has assumed a new position as a Team Leader at Turner Fairbanks.  Ann Do has taken over management of FHWA's ongoing bicycle and pedestrian research activities.  Ann can be reached at 202-493-3319.

New From NHTSA – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced the availability of grants totaling $250,000 for projects that further implementation of the National Strategies for Advancing Bicycle Safety. Check the April 16th Federal Registar for more information.

NHTSA's Bikeability Checklist should be available at www.bicyclinginfo.org at the start of National Bike Month (May). The checklist complements the popular Walkability Checklist and will also be available in printed form later in the year.

Photo Library Goes On-line – You've all heard the jokes about Dan Burden's omni-present photo collection.now you can use his images too by visiting a digital photo library established by the Pedestrian and Bicycling Information Center at either www.walkinginfo.org or www.bicyclinginfo.org. More than 1400 image are available, most of them Dan's. You can also go straight to www.pedbikeimages.org.

Research on pedestrian crossings to be funded in next round of NCHRP studies – Standing Committee on Research (SCOR) met in March, 2002, to select the next round of projects to be funded by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP). Over 150 research suggestions were reviewed in the process of selecting the final projects.  One of the funded projects will be of particular interest to pedestrian planners, engineers, and advocates: G-42 "Innovative Pedestrian Treatments at Unsignalized Crossings."

In the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) study D-8, "Pedestrian Crossings at Bus Stops," was funded earlier. Since there were many commonalties between the two projects they were combined.  The resulting project, "Improving Pedestrian Safety at Unsignalized Roadway Crossings," will be funded with $550,000.   The project panel, met April 15-16 and developed the RFP

The project objective is to evaluate selected engineering treatments to improve safety for pedestrians crossing high-volume, and/or high-speed roadways at unsignalized locations, in particular those served by public transportation.  In addition, the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) traffic signal pedestrian warrant will be examined.  The RFP will be available on the TRB web site http://www.trb.org under both NCHRP and TCRP around the end of April.  For more information, please contact the project officer, Diane Schwager of the TCRP staff dschwage@nas.edu.

Three Pedestrian Safety Reports Published – FHWA has released three reports examining different aspects of pedestrian safety from an engineering perspective.

  1. Safety Effects of Marked vs Unmarked Crosswalks at Uncontrolled Locations: Executive Summary and Recommended Guidelines.
  2. Pedestrian Facilities Users Guide: Providing Safety and Mobility.
  3. Analysis of Factors Contributing to "Walking Along Roadway" Crashes: Research Study and Guidelines for Sidewalks and Walkways.


May 16

June 3-5

August 4-7

leverson.boodlal@fhwa.dot.gov, 202-366-8044
tamara.broyhill@fhwa.dot.gov, 202-366-4077
400 7th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20590




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