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FHWA Home / Safety / Pedestrian & Bicycle / Pedestrian Forum

Pedestrian Forum – Spring 2005

Safe Pedestrians and a Walkable America
VOL. 30, Spring 2005


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.

Pedestrian Countdown Signals: Usage in the US

Since being incorporated into the 2003 MUTCD, use of pedestrian countdown signals (PCS) seems to be picking up. To test the veracity of this impression, FHWA Division Safety Specialists were asked in late 2004 to provide information about PCS usage and policies within the individual states. Responses were obtained from 35 states, plus the District of Columbia. The results of the inquiry showed that in just over half of the responding states PCS are used on state projects, while in over two-thirds of the states, PCS are permitted on local projects. However, a few of those states that do have PCS only have a few deployed. Furthermore, about one-third of the responding states have no PCS installed, and no immediate plans to install any.

The inquiry showed that PCS have not been fully accepted nationally. However, studies have shown positive effects of PCS and they are popular with the public. Therefore it is not surprising that local agencies, who are more likely to have direct contact with users than state DOTs, are taking the lead on this issue.

Can Wearing a Watch Reduce Pedestrian Fatalities?

What is another way technology can be applied to save lives? How about a watch-like device that can be worn by pedestrians to provide a warning of potential collisions with vehicles? Think it sounds far-fetched? Think again. Plans are currently under development by Optimus Corp., as part of a contract with the FHWA, to create a Pedestrian Alert System (PAS) that warns both motorists and pedestrians about “warning zones” at crossings. The system will consist of different modules for vehicles and pedestrians each consisting of a GPS receiver and a radio transmitter. Each device will be capable of sending a warning to either the outfitted pedestrian or motorist a “minimum warning time of three seconds to help pedestrians and vehicles avoid crashes.” A vehicle equipped with the device will be able to track up to 40 pedestrians wearing the watch-like PAS device. Please contact FHWA’s David Gibson for more information at 202-493-3271.

Pedestrian Safety Focus State Update

The FHWA’s Safety Office is working with the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center to develop a “How to Guide for Developing and Implementing a Pedestrian Safety Plan” for the pedestrian focus states and cities. (Please see previous 2 editions of this newsletter as background). As part of this initiative, we have started conducting monthly teleconferences with the pedestrian focus states (AZ, CA, NY, PA, NJ, NC, NM, HI, MI, IL, FL, GA NY) and cities (New York, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Phoenix) in an effort to improve communication and promote open dialogue. In addition, a listserve has also been established. The next conference call is scheduled for April 20 at 2:00 EST. For more info, contact Tamara Redmon at tamara.redmon@fhwa.dot.gov.



The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has released a revised and updated Strategic Highway Safety Plan, designed to provide a comprehensive plan to substantially reduce vehicle-related fatalities and injuries on the nation’s highways. The AASHTO Board of Directors first approved the strategic highway safety plan in December 1997. The current version was revised and updated in December 2004; however, the emphasis areas and strategies identified in the original plan remain the same.

These Cities Were Made for Walking!

Creating a vibrant, walkable community is not only good for the environment, it’s good for your health, a fact well understood by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). Each year the AMPA creates a “Top 10 List” of the most walkable cites in the US from the 200 largest incorporated cities. The AMPA ranks cities based on the following categories: healthy lifestyles, modes of transportation to and from work and involvement in fitness and sport activities. The Top 10 walker-friendly cities for 2005 are as follows: 1. Arlington, VA; 2. San Francisco, CA; 3. Seattle, WA; 4. Portland, OR; 5. Boston, MA; 6. Washington, DC; 7. New York City; 8. Eugene, OR; 9. Jersey City, NJ; 10. Denver, CO.

What’s New?


Pedestrian and Bicycle Data Collection in the United States

Pedestrian and Bicycle Data Collection publication coverThe Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center and the FHWA have released a report that describes how communities can collect data about bicycle and pedestrian facilities in order to assist areas in improving the effectiveness of these facilities. This report examines 29 communities’ activities to collect, analyze, and utilize pedestrian and bicycle data. A case study approach is taken in the report to allow users to compare different data collection methods and select methods appropriate to their specific communities. Each case study describes the history, purpose, methods, and lessons learned from the data collection project. The case studies cover a wide range of communities from small towns (population 6,000) to large metropolitan areas (population 8,000,000) and a variety of agencies to include 9 states, 7 county/region/MPOs, and 13 towns/cities. The data collection methods discussed in the report can be grouped into the following categories: quantifying facility use, surveying facility users, and documenting facility extent.

Although hard copies are unavailable, the entire publication is available for download at:http://www.walkinginfo.org/rd/planning.htm#data

National Center for Biking and Walking Publishes “Livable Streets for Schoolchildren”

The National Center for Biking and Walking (NCBW) Forum recently published the article entitled, "Livable Streets for Schoolchildren," by Bruce S. Appleyard, MCP, AICP. The article describes the world as seen through the eyes of children and powerfully illustrates how streets and communities are impacted by automobile traffic and inadequate pedestrian and bicycle facilities. In addition to the negative physical effects our overdependence on automobiles has on children, the article illustrates the negative social impacts of a society where “cars rule our streets.” The author shows how completing our streets for walkers and cyclists and creating “safe routes to school” programs can help improve livability and our children's quality of life.The article is available for download at: http://www.bikewalk.org/ncbw_forum/articles.htm


Safe Routes to School National Training Course—

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) recently concluded the week-long Safe Routes to School (SR2S) National Training Course in Tucson, Arizona. The training course was developed to train instructors for the national Safe Routes to School Program. This core group of instructors will deliver the course at the local and state levels starting in late spring 2005 and play an integral role in the training of future instructors. The interest in instructor training was so strong a second week of training was added the week of April 25 in Chapel Hill, NC, to accommodate more potential instructors. For more information about the course visit: http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/resources/resources_details.cfm?id=4976

Designing Pedestrian Facilities for Accessibility

The Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP) has taken the original FHWA course, updated it with new information, graphics, and photographs (under contract to the Resource Center), and is now available to teach it to any interested organizations. The original course was developed by Barbara McMillen of FHWA’s Office of Civil Rights. This revised edition was closely coordinated with the U.S. Access Board, the FHWA Office of Civil Rights, and Aida Berkovitz, in the FHWA’s Resource Center.

The target audience for the course is engineers, planners, and public officials. The course instructors from the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals are all professionals with many years of experience working on pedestrian facilities – from state DOTs, city and county governments, and consultants. The course can be taught as either a one-day or day and a half course. The one-day version of the course is entirely within a classroom format and the day and a half course includes a more in-depth instruction and a field exercise.

Please contact APBP headquarters – Judy Paul, Managing Director, at apbp@hq4u.com or (609) 249-0020 for course scheduling. The course is also listed in the latest NHI catalog.

What was New? (Old News)

Thunderhead Alliance Publishes Complete Streets Report

Last December the Thunderhead Alliance published the “Complete Streets Report.” The report analyzes policies designed to create complete streets that routinely accommodate bicycle and pedestrian travel. The report is available through the Thunderhead Alliance website located at: http://www.thunderheadalliance.org/index.asp

Tamara Redmon, tamara.redmon@fhwa.dot.gov
Dan Nabors, BMI-SG, dan.nabors@fhwa.dot.gov
400 Seventh Street, SW, Room 3407, Washington, DC 20590

Page last modified on January 31, 2013
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