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FHWA Home / Safety / Pedestrian & Bicycle / Pedestrian Forum

Pedestrian Forum – Fall 2004

Safe Pedestrians and a Walkable America
VOL. 28, Fall 2004


The pedestrian safety goal of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is to continually improve highway safety by reducing pedestrian crashes, fatalities and injuries by 10 percent by the year 2008, saving 465 lives. Doing so helps us achieve our overall goal of reducing roadway related fatalities from 1.5 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) to 1 per 100 million VMT by the year 2008. Ensuring safe travel on roadways is the guiding principle throughout the FHWA. Pedestrian fatalities account for about 11 percent of all traffic fatalities and is one of the "Vital Few" focus areas of the FHWA’s Safety Office. Walking is a legitimate mode of transportation. Pedestrian facilities need to be improved in every community in the United States. It is not acceptable that close to 5,000 pedestrians are killed in traffic every year, that people with disabilities cannot travel without encountering barriers, and that a desirable and efficient mode of travel is often made difficult and uncomfortable.

DOT Revises 2003 Fatalities Data

In the previous edition of this newsletter, we had stated that preliminary estimates showed that there were 43,220 deaths overall on the nation’s roadways in 2003, which was a slight increase over the 42,815 reported in 2002. However, the complete FARS numbers are now available and show a slight DECREASE of 362 fatalities. The full set of data as released is available at http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pdf/nrd-30/NCSA/PPT/2003AARelease.pdf

Update on Pedestrian Safety Focus State Activities

The FHWA’s Safety Office hosted a meeting on October 7 to kick off the project to develop a "How to Guide for Developing and Implementing a Pedestrian Safety Plan" which was awarded to BMI (UNC Highway Safety Research Center is the subcontractor). The purpose of the project is to assist the pedestrian focus states and cities in helping the FHWA achieve its pedestrian safety goals: 1. Develop and implement pedestrian safety plans in cities with highest fatalities per year (Los Angeles, Phoenix, Detroit, Chicago, and New York City). And 2. For states with pedestrian fatalities above 150 or fatality rate above 2.5, commit to developing pedestrian safety plan. (Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas).

UNC is currently looking to see if there are any model pedestrian safety guides available. If not, they will start development of a "How to Guide" that will coach states/cities through the process of developing and implementing such a plan. The project also provides funding for UNC to provide varying degrees of technical assistance to the focus states and cities.

FHWA, ATSSA and the U.S. Access Board Host Pedestrian Accommodation and Delineation Devices Demonstration

Workzones often present a hazard for pedestrians, but the problem is compounded when the pedestrian is visually disabled. In response to this growing concern, manufacturers, government officials, and people with visual disabilities got together to test some workzone barriers and other temporary traffic control devices and make some suggested improvements. The demonstration took place on September 22 at FHWA’s Turner Fairbanks Highway Safety Research Center in McLean, VA.

Over 20 devices were tested by people who are visually impaired for the following criteria:

Sidewalk safety device

This device is equipped with a flashing warning light and the ability to record and play a 20-second message.

The demonstration was held outdoors so that manufactures could display their pedestrian channelization devices in a simulated work zone walkway. Persons with visual disabilities walked through the work zone and commented on the effectiveness of the devices. Representatives from the U.S. Access Board were on hand to examine the devices and determine if they met the needs of pedestrians with visual disabilities in work zones.

At the close of the event, there was an indoor session to discuss the findings and brainstorm ideas for improving existing devices or developing new devices. The information gathered at this event may be used to assist in developing changes to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) and rulemaking for the Access Board's Guidelines for Accessible Rights-of-Way.For more information, contact Guan Xu at 202-366-5892 or Ernie Huckaby at 202-366-9064.

Death of Pedestrian Costs Fontana, CA Millions

In a surprise verdict, the parents of a 14-year old girl killed as she walked along a busy roadway after school were awarded $37.5 million. The parent’s attorney argued that the city of Fontana, CA, did not act on complaints that the lack of sidewalks caused an unsafe environment, especially in light of the heavy traffic along the road. The city was found by the jury to be 75% negligent in her death, and the parents of the unlicensed 15 year old driver who killed the girl were found to be 25% negligent. Sidewalks installed after the accident cost $6,000. The city plans to appeal.

World Car-Free Movement Website

Those interested in the movement to promote living without cars can visit the website at www.carbusters.org. Carbusters.org, Car Busters magazine, and the Car Busters Resource Centre are tools for the grassroots global carfree movement - activists, campaigners and engaged citizens from around the world who want to take on car culture and promote alternative ways of life.

Cooperative Agreements Awarded to Support National Strategies for Advancing Bicycle Safety

NHTSA is pleased to announce four cooperative agreements have been awarded to support the implementation of the National Strategies for Advancing Bicycle Safety. These projects vary in length from 18 months to two years and will test varying approaches, which have the potential to be adapted for national use, to enhance bicycle safety. The four sites and projects are:

  1. City of Clearwater, FL, Parks and Recreation: Will develop and test a "Share the Road" multi-media campaign in the Tampa Bay area (10 counties).
  2. Marin County Bicycle Coalition: Will develop a "Share the Road" toolkit that includes advertising, road signage information, education materials, bicycle safety curricula, and information on working with law enforcement.
  3. Utah Department of Public Safety: Will introduce bicycle safety and share the road education as components of the public high school driver education programs.
  4. Bicycle Coalition of Maine: Will test social marketing messages and evaluation tools for a "Share the Road" campaign with a focus on a healthy community/State.

Contact: Paula Bawer at paula.bawer@nhtsa.dot.gov or (202) 366-2692.


FHWA/NHTSA Roll out Pilot Courses on SR2S

During the week of September 20, FHWA and NHTSA launched pilot courses (a 1 day course in Rockville, MD, and Falls Church, VA, and the 2-day course in Baltimore, MD) for Safe Routes to School Training. The courses, which were enthusiastically received, featured training on engineering, enforcement, education and encouragement, followed by a site review of an actual school in need of help and recommendations by the participants. Participants included school officials, local officials, police, and policy makers. The complete course will be available through the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center by Spring 2005.

SR2S Institute at Pro-Walk/Pro-Bike Conference

Over 100 people attended the SR2S institute put together by the National Center for Bicycling and Walking before the Pro-Walk/Pro-Bike Conference on September 7 in Victoria, BC. This large turnout demonstrates national (and worldwide) interest in the Safe Routes to School Movement. The institute featured presentation and case studies by over 15 speakers from the U.S, Canada, Australia and the UK.


Tamara Redmon, tamara.redmon@fhwa.dot.gov, 202-366-407


Page last modified on January 31, 2013
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