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FHWA Home / Safety / Pedestrian & Bicycle / Pedestrian Forum

Pedestrian Forum – Summer 2004

Safe Pedestrians and a Walkable America
VOL. 27, Summer 2004


The 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.  Although walking is a legitimate mode of transportation, it needs to be improved in every community in the United States. It is no longer 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 has been made difficult and uncomfortable.  

The Pedestrian Forum is also on the web at http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/pedforum/

DOT Releases Preliminary Estimates of 2003 Fatalities

Preliminary estimates show that there were 43,220 deaths overall on the nation's roadways in 2003, which is a slight increase over the 42,815 reported in 2002.  The fatality rate in 2003 remained unchanged from 2002—1.5 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.  Pedestrian deaths declined 2.8 percent from 4,808 in 2002 to 4,672 in 2003.  Although positive, nobody knows if this is because pedestrians are "safer" or because people are walking less.

FHWA Focuses on "Opportunity States and Cities" to Reduce Pedestrian Fatalities

FHWA's Safety Office released a memo detailing its plan for aggressively reducing pedestrian deaths by the year 2008.  By focusing on the states (Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas) with pedestrian fatalities above 150 or a fatality rate above 2.5 and cities (Los Angeles, Phoenix, Detroit, Chicago, New York City ) with the highest pedestrian fatalities, FHWA  hopes to have the greatest impact on those numbers. 

The performance measure for the year 2005 will be to have half of the focus states and all of the cities with a plan in place for reducing pedestrian fatalities.  With this in mind, FHWA recently awarded a contract to develop a "How to Guide" for creating a Pedestrian Safety Plan.  As part of the contract, technical assistance will be provided to the opportunity states and cities to help them create and implement the plan.  For more information, contact Tamara Redmon at tamara.redmon@fhwa.dot.gov.

Speed Humps Improve Safety for Children

The April 2004 issue of the American Journal of Public Health contains an article on residential speed humps and how they affect the injury rate of children who live on a street near a speed hump.  The article reports that children who live on residential streets near a speed hump in Oakland, CA, were 53-60 percent  less likely to be hit and injured by a car than children living on residential streets without them.  This applied to injuries that occurred in the street in front of their home and in their neighborhood (5 blocks/0.25 mile radius) around them.  Data between 1995-2000 was studied.  The abstract of the article can be viewed for free at: www.ajph.org/cgi/content/abstract/94/4/646

Safety in Numbers?

The U.C Berkely newsletter contained some surprising information on how greater number of pedestrians present in the roadway environment actually IMPROVE pedestrian safety: http://www.tsc.berkeley.edu/html/newsletter/spring04/syntax.html


Joint FHWA/NHTSA Ped/Bike Display

FHWA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration created a joint exhibit that can be used for displaying the various materials both agencies have produced on Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety issues.  The display was first used at the TRB Conference in January and will also be on display at the Pro-Walk Pro-Bike Conference in Victoria, Canada in September.  Both NHTSA and FHWA have produced a display that can be used by their individual personnel at events.  To order the display from FHWA, contact Tamara Redmon at tamara.redmon@fhwa.dot.gov .

NHTSA to Award Bike Safety Grants

NHTSA is in the process of reviewing 18 proposals that were submitted in response to a request for proposals that was published in the June 9, 2004 Federal Register.  The program was established to assist, States, communities and organizations in improving bicycle safety.   The proposed projects must support one of the goals contained in the National Strategies for Advancing Bicycle Safety:  Motorists will share the road; bicyclists will ride safely; bicyclists will wear helmets, and the legal system will support safe bicycling.   Four grants, totaling $50,000 each, will be awarded shortly.

Train-the-Trainer Session for  FHWA's ADA Course

The Association of Pedestrian and Bicyclist Professionals (APBP), with support from FHWA and the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC), conducted a training session in May at FHWA's National Highway Institute for those interested in being instructors for the FHWA's Designing Pedestrian Facilities for Accessibility Course.  Several FHWA Division Office people and 24 APBP members were trained and will be available to teach the course to States/localities starting in October 2004.  For more information about the course or how to host a session, please contact Aida Berkovitz at aida.berkovitz@fhwa.dot.gov .


Safe Routes to School Course: 

With funding provided by FHWA, NHTSA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Environmental Protection Agency, the PBIC is developing a National Safe Routes to School Training Course and establishing a marketing and delivery strategy.  The course, which will provide training to a cross-section of community members and professionals (engineers, planners, safety educators, community, public health, police and school officials) will be completed and pilot tested in September.  Participants will learn how to make changes to existing schools to encourage and enable safe walking and bicycling, how to plan and properly accommodate new schools, and develop an action plan for their area. 

Outreach Materials for Hispanic Audiences

FHWA, in cooperation with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is in the process of awarding a contract to Develop a Marketing Plan and Outreach Materials for Hispanic Pedestrians and Bicyclists.  The project is the second part of a 2-Part joint FHWA/NHTSA project focusing on the Hispanic Community.  Part 1, which will be completed in September, will provide data on Hispanic involvement in pedestrian and bicyclist-related roadway crashes.  The project was initiated because the Fatality Analysis Reporting System does not provide information on crash rates by nationality.  The project is looking at different age groups and populations of Hispanics (Puerto Rican, Cuban, South and Central American, and Mexican) to see what involvement different factors play in crash involvement.  The marketing plan and outreach materials will be completed in Fall of 2005.  For more information contact:  Tamara.redmon@fhwa.dot.gov.

PBIC Developing "Question and Answer Database"

The PBIC receives hundreds of technical assistance questions each year, and is in the process of developing a searchable database of both the questions and answers on the PBIC website (www.walkinginfo.org and www.bicyclinginfo.org, and www.pedbikeinfo.org).  It will eventually contain hundreds of Q and A's relevant to all potential users, from the most experienced transportation professionals to the novice bicycle rider.  According to the PBIC, the database will be available in August 2004.  The database will also be freely available to other pedestrian and bicycle-related web sites.

Evaluation of Pedestrian Detection and Warning Systems:

The FHWA and NHTSA, with funding provided by the Joint Program Office, awarded a contract to explore options for pedestrian detection and warning systems to prevent potential pedestrian/vehicle collisions.   This project seeks to conduct a preliminary analysis of automated pedestrian detection and warning systems to determine the feasibility of a larger initiative that would include technology development, field-testing, and an assessment of the potential for deployment of such systems at a national level.

This project is an Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Tier 2 Exploratory Project.  The definition of a Tier 2 ITS project is one in which a concept, in need of further development, has been identified that has the potential to develop into a large scale national initiative.  The pedestrian detection and warning system concept is one that has been identified by the FHWA and the NHTSA as having the potential to save hundreds of lives annually. 

As a Tier 2 project, this effort is intended to perform concept exploration work to answer the questions:  Is there an automated pedestrian detection/warning system concept that is feasible from a technical, economic (benefit/cost), and operational perspective?  What are the potential institutional issues?   Does the defined operational concept make sense to develop and implement on a national scale?

The project will be completed in February 2005.  For information contact tamara.redmon@fhwa.dot.gov.


Sept. 7-10  Pro-Walk/Pro-Bike Conference:  Victoria, Canada, http://www.bikewalk.org/2008conference/history.html.
Oct. 4-8 International Walk to School Week:  www.walktoschool.org.
Oct. 21-24  National Trails Symposium:  Austin, TX, www.americantrails.org/Austin


tamara.redmon@fhwa.dot.gov, 202-366-4077
400 7th Street, SW, Room 3407, Washington, DC 20590

Page last modified on January 31, 2013
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