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Pedestrian Forum – Winter 2005

Safe Pedestrians and a Walkable America
VOL. 29, Winter 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. 

10-Year Status Report on National Bicycling and Walking Study

It has been 10 years since the National Bicycling and Walking Study was completed.  At that time, The U.S. Congress wanted to know how the Department proposed to increase bicycling and walking while improving the safety of the two modes, and in fiscal year 1991 appropriated $1 million to complete the National Bicycling and Walking Study (NBWS). The legislation outlined five specific tasks:

On April 22, 1994, the Federal Highway Administrator and National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator walked the final report of the National Bicycling and Walking Study from the Department of Transportation to the U.S. Congress. The study contained two overall goals:

In addition to these goals, the Study identified a nine-point Federal Action Plan with 60 specific activities for the Office of the Secretary (OST), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA),National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Federal Transit Administration (FTA), and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA); and a five-point State and Local Action Plan with a range of suggested activities for State and local agencies.

Action has been taken on at least 55 of the 60 items, and while many of the items are ongoing, more than one quarter of the items can reasonably be said to be complete. There are only five items where no identifiable action has yet been taken and on at least one of these the Department has either no responsibility for the specific action or the action has been performed by other agencies and no longer requires the Department's action.

To view the report in it's entirety, please look at this link: https://wwww.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/study/

Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety Among Hispanic Populations:

The Federal Highway Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) just completed a project on "Determining the Extent of the Highway Safety Problem as it Relates to Hispanic Populations in the United States."  The project was undertaken because experience suggests that a disproportionate amount of persons killed and injured in traffic crashes are Hispanic immigrants.  However, statistics gathered by NHTSA do not provide information about the nationalities of those involved in traffic crashes, nor do they provide information on how long they have been in the country, etc.

The scope of this project was to determine the extent of the highway safety problem as it relates to Hispanics as pedestrians and Hispanics as bicyclists.  The project included the following groups: Hispanics of Mexican Origin, Hispanics of Central/South American Origin, Hispanics of Puerto Rican ancestry, and Hispanics of Cuban Origin. 

Main findings include:

The Hispanic population in the U.S. has a higher pedestrian death rate (2.88) than the non-Hispanic Whites (1.78) but not as high as the non-Hispanic Blacks (3.01). The Hispanic population in the U.S. has a higher bicyclist death (.32) rate than non-Hispanic Whites (.26) but not as high as non-Hispanic Blacks (.34).  Death rates are computed by dividing the number of deaths experienced by a group by the total population of that group.   

The full report will be posted to the FHWA Safety website once it is made 508 compliant.  In the meantime, contact tamara.redmon@fhwa.dot.gov for a copy. 

Phase 2 of this project, which involves using the information gathered in part 1, includes developing a marketing plan that would tell the FHWA and NHTSA how to best "sell" safety to the Hispanic populations of the U.S. and developing actual products based on the outcome of the marketing plan. The project will be complete in October 2005.

What's New?

Pedestrian Safety Countermeasure Selection System Completed

This project (also known as "Pedsafe") is an expert system product designed to assist practitioners with the selection of countermeasures to address pedestrian safety and mobility problems.  It is the next generation of the FHWA report titled Pedestrian Facilities User Guide: Providing Safety and Mobility.The system includes several interactive tools and is designed to:

The tools available in PEDSAFE are designed to enable practitioners to effectively select and review engineering, education, or enforcement treatments to mitigate a known crash problem or change motorist and/or pedestrian behaviors.

Selection Tool – Allows the user to develop a list of possible countermeasures on the basis of site characteristics, such as geometric features and operating conditions, and the type of safety problem or desired behavioral change. The decision logic used to determine when specific treatments are and are not applicable was based on input from an expert panel of practitioners.

Interactive Matrices – Shows the relationship between the countermeasures and the performance objectives or crash types and can be used to display applicable countermeasures.

Countermeasures – Details of 49 engineering, education and enforcement treatments or programs for improving pedestrian safety and/or mobility are provided in the categories of pedestrian facility design, roadway design, intersection design, traffic calming, traffic management, signals and signs, and other measures.

Case Studies – More than 70 real-world examples illustrate various treatments and/or programs as implemented in a state or municipality.

Pedsafe is available at:  www.walkinginfo.org/pedsafe.  For hard copies or more information, contact Tamara Redmon at tamara.redmon@fhwa.dot.gov or 202-366-4077.

Pedestrian Safety in Rural Areas–

The fact that 28 percent of pedestrian fatalities occur in rural areas challenges the conventional wisdom that pedestrian fatalities are an urban problem. This recently completed report identifies characteristics of rural pedestrian fatalities. The most prominent characteristics were clear weather, hours of darkness, weekends, non-intersection locations, and level, straight roads. (FHWA-SA-04-008) http://www.walkinginfo.org/rd/safety.htm#fhwareports

Safe Routes to School National Training Course–

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) recently announced the call for applicants to become the initial group of instructors for the Safe Routes to School (SR2S) National Training Course. 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 training course takes place in Tucson, Arizona from February 28-March 4. For more information visit: http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/training/national_course/


Tamara Redmon, tamara.redmon@fhwa.dot.gov, 202-366-4077

Pedestrian and Bicycle Sessions at the TRB Annual Meeting (January 11-15, 2005)

Session #






Planning for Pedestrians




Modeling Pedestrians and Facilities (Poster Session)




Pedestrian Issues at Inersections and Midblock Locations (Poster Session)




Pedestrian Safety (Poster Session)




Data Needs and Sources of Non-auto Modes:  Mon-motorized, Two-wheeled; Emerging Technologies and Vehicles.





Pedestrian and Bicycle Video Theatre




Pedestrian Access Issues at Traffic Signals




Bicycle Transportation:  Economic Impact, Quality of Service, Land Use, Demand Measurement, and Personal Transport Devices (Poster Session)




Bicycle Transportation Committee (ANF20)




Geometric Design Committee (AFB10)




Joint Subcommittee on Intersections (AHB65(1))




Operational Effects of Geometrics Committee (AHB65)





Pedestrians Committee




Shared and Joint Use of Railroad Corridors

Omni Shoreham



Bicycle and Pedestrian Video Theatre




State DOTS and Local Land Development




Bicycling and the Urban Arterial Environment.




Feet First Caucus




Roundabouts Joint Subcommittee (ANB20(3))




Roundabout Research and Implementation



Page last modified on January 31, 2013
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