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FHWA Home / Safety / Pedestrian & Bicycle / Pedestrian Forum

Pedestrian Forum – Summer 2003

Safe Pedestrians and a Walkable America
VOL 24, Summer 2003


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 USDOT 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/)

U.S. DOT Releases Major Survey on Biking and Walking

Nearly 80 percent of adult Americans take at least one walk of five minutes or longer during the summer months, while fewer than 30 percent ride a bike, according to a major survey released by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Survey respondents were asked to recommend changes to their communities for either bicycling or walking. The results reveal that 74 percent wanted pedestrian facilities including sidewalks, lighting and crosswalks for their communities. An electronic version of the report is available at www.bicyclinginfo.org.

Pedestrian Facility Design Workshop

Course Number 142045A, "Pedestrian Facility Design" (2 Day Course) - The course cost $ 270 per participant with a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 30 participants allowed. This course was developed to provide information and application opportunities for those involved in the design of pedestrian facilities. Two case studies, one on corridor design and one on intersection design, are used to demonstrate the planning and design of facilities for pedestrians, including persons with disabilities. There are classroom exercises in facility design integrated throughout the course. For course scheduling, contact Danielle Mathis-Lee at either (703) 235-0528 or at danielle.mathis-lee@fhwa.dot.gov.

STEPPING OUT - Mature Adults: Be Healthy, Walk Safely

This document tells you how to maintain your safety while walking. It includes:

Suggestions for making your community a safer place to walk. Get started at... http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/injury/olddrive/SteppingOut/#1088685340

Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day

This nationwide observance will occur on October 10. Public and private organizations will join together to increase safety on America's roadways. The goal is to unite the country in achieving a full day of zero traffic deaths by encouraging safer behavior and actions. Safety events will be conducted to encourage the traveling public to focus on their own behavior when using the roadways as pedestrians, bicycle and motorcycle operators, motor vehicle operators and passengers. For more information, visit www.brakesonfatalities.org.

International Walk to School Week logo, Celebrate October 6th-10th 2003! Join millions of kids, parents and community members from around the world as they walk to school together on Wednesday, October 8, 2003.

International Walk to School Day gives children, parents, school teachers and community leaders an opportunity to be part of a global event as they celebrate the many benefits of walking. Last year nearly 3 million walkers from 28 countries walked to school, all hoping to create communities that are safe places to walk - http://www.iwalktoschool.org/.

Swedish National Road Administration — Pedestrians and Cyclists, exposure and injury risks in different traffic environments for different age groups. The elderly road user has a higher risk of being injured or killed than any other age group, according to the study. An elderly pedestrian (65-84 years) is 25 times more likely to be killed in a collision with a motor vehicle when crossing the street in urban areas than people aged 25 - 44 years (the lowest risk group). A considerably more equalized risk population is found in environments with lower speed limits.

Cover of a work zone brochure FHWA recently completed a 5-set series of work zone brochures for both the public and the practitioner. One brochure is titled "Accommodating Pedestrians in Work Zones." The brochure provides some helpful guidelines that can be used to accommodate pedestrians in work zones.
E-mail harry.taylor@fhwa.dot.gov or leverson.boodlal@fhwa.dot.gov.

Pedestrian Safety Campaign Evaluation

FHWA selects Missoula, MT, Oceanside, CA, and Washington, D.C. for evaluation of the Pedestrian Safety Campaign materials. These locations were chosen because they each had a well-planned pedestrian campaign with the necessary elements. FHWA plans to provide technical assistance to these communities for conducting a base-line evaluation and a follow-up evaluation. For more information contact Aida Berkovitz (415-744-2996 x16) or Frank Julian (404-562-3689). To view the Campaign materials go to: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/local_rural/pedcampaign/ and click on "Pedestrian Campaign"

DOT Releases Preliminary Estimates Of 2002 Highway Fatalities

With overall highway fatalities up slightly from 2001, the grim statistics underscore the need for better solutions that address the causes of the problem and stricter enforcement. In 2002, an estimated 42,850 people died on the nation's highways, up from 42,116 in 2001. The fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) remained unchanged at 1.51, according to preliminary estimates.

It was the highest number of fatalities since 1990. Fatalities in rollover crashes involving sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks accounted for 53 percent of the increase in traffic deaths. In 2002, 10,626 people died in rollover crashes, up 4.9 percent from 10,130 in 2001. The preliminary report also notes some significant progress. Pedestrian deaths declined to 4,776, a 2.2 percent drop from 2001. The number of persons injured in crashes also declined from an estimated 3,033,000 in 2001 to 2,914,000 in 2002, almost a four percent drop.

NHTSA estimated that highway crashes cost society $230.6 billion a year, about $820 per person.

The preliminary 2002 statistics also continue to show the increased risk of death and injury when drivers and passengers do not wear safety belts: 59 percent of those killed in crashes last year were not belted. Summaries of the preliminary report are available on the NHTSA web site at:

The AASHTO Joint Task Force on Nonmotorized Transportation

The Task Force was created in Spring 2002 by the Standing Committee on Highways to provide a focal point for pedestrian and bicycle transportation issues within the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). The first meeting of this joint Task Force was held September 3, 2002, in Minnesota. The second meeting will be September 3, 2003, in Burlington, Vermont. At the upcoming meeting, a strategic planning session will determine future activities; and existing and planned AASHTO documents relating to bicycle and pedestrian design will be discussed among other topics. (http://www.transportation.org/committee/design/tf_nonmotorized.html)

Conversion of 4-lane undivided urban roadways to 3-lane facilities.Iowa DOT have completed a number of these conversions and the results reveal that crash rates have decreased while corridor and intersection level of service have remained acceptable. The report is available at

NHTSA Releases Major Research Report On Crashes Involving Pedestrians in U.S.

Nearly one in five pedestrians killed on America's roadways is the victim of a hit-and-run crash, according to a major research report released by the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The report, indicates that young children, as well as seniors, are especially likely to be the victims of fatal crashes involving pedestrians. More than a fifth of all children ages 5 to 9 killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians. The age group with the highest rate of pedestrian fatalities are those 70 and over.

Almost 175,000 pedestrians died on U.S. roadways between 1975 and 2001. Pedestrian fatalities now account for about 12 percent of all deaths related to motor vehicle crashes in the country. The new NHTSA report analyzes the incidence of pedestrian fatalities in single vehicle crashes, which accounted for more than 90 percent of all pedestrian fatalities. The report focuses on pedestrian fatalities between 1998 and 2001. Among the report's key findings about pedestrian deaths are these:

The NHTSA research report ranked states and the District of Columbia, in terms of their pedestrian fatality rates (per 100,000 population) for the year 2001. Those with the 10 highest fatality rates were:

Using data on average fatalities from 1998 to 2000 and population data from 2000, the report ranks large cities (with populations over a half million) based on their annual pedestrian fatality rates per year per 100,000 population.

The large cities with the highest pedestrian fatality rates were:

The report is available on the agency's website at: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pdf/nrd-30/NCSA/Rpts/2003/809-456.pdf

The Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals

The Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP) is a national organization founded in 1995 to promote excellence in the emerging professional discipline of pedestrian and bicycle transportation. The members include leaders in the engineering, planning, landscape architecture, safety and promotion fields who specialize in improving safety and conditions for bicycling and walking. They work for federal, state, regional and local government, consulting firms, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, and the media.

As part of APBP's efforts to enhance its members' professional development, every 2 years the Association holds a Professional Development Series Seminar. In June 2003, APBP held its third Seminar in Cambridge, MA. The Cambridge conference had approximately 100 participants attending workshops on Accommodating Bicyclists and Pedestrians at Circles, Roundabouts, and Rotaries; Development, Redevelopment, and Zoning: Integrating Bicycling and Walking; Making Traffic Signals Work for Bicyclists and Pedestrians; and Context Sensitive Solutions. The next Seminar will take place in 2005 at a yet-to-be-decided location. For more information about APBP see http://www.apbp.org.


tamara.redmon@fhwa.dot.gov, 202-366-4077
shirley.thompson@fhwa.dot.gov, 202-366-2154
leverson.boodlal@fhwa.dot.gov, 202-366-8044
400 7th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20590




Page last modified on January 31, 2013
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