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FHWA Home / Safety / Pedestrian & Bicycle / Pedestrian Forum

Pedestrian Forum – Winter 2006

Safe Pedestrians and a Walkable America
VOL. 33, Winter 2006


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.

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

Update on Safe Routes to School (SRTS)

The Federal SRTS Program is in full swing. The FHWA has requested that each state have their full time coordinator on board by January 1. The Program Guidance is completed and posted on the website. It can be viewed here: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/saferoutes/srtsguidance.htm. The website states, "Since this is a new program, additional guidance will be provided throughout the first few years of the program as questions are asked, clarifications are needed, experienced is gained, and various approaches are tried and evaluated. To provide your feedback, send your comments to Tim.Arnade@fhwa.dot.gov."

In addition, FHWA is moving forward with the establishment of a Safe Routes to School Clearinghouse as called for in the legislation. A Request for Application (RFA), entitled "National Safe Routes to School Clearinghouse," should be posted to the http://grants.gov/ website the week of January 16, with an expected contract awarded around April 1. For more information on the Clearinghouse, contact Gabe Rousseau at 202-366-8044, or Gabriel.Rousseau@fhwa.dot.gov. The Safe Routes to School website can be viewed at: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/saferoutes/

Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety Among Hispanic Populations:

The FHWA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) just completed a 2.5 year effort to determine the extent of the ped/bike safety problem as it relates to Hispanic populations in the United States and develop appropriate outreach materials and a plan for distributing them to these audiences. The project was undertaken because anecdotal evidence suggests that a disproportionate number 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 Part 1 of this project (completed in December 2005) 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 non-Hispanic Whites (1.78) but not as high as 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 and related research can be viewed on FHWA's Hispanic Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety website (look under "Research: The Hispanic Ped/Bike Problem"): http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/fhwasa05024/

Part 2 of this project, which involved using the information gathered in Part 1, included developing a marketing plan that would tell interested audiences how to best "sell" safety to the Hispanic populations of the U.S. and included developing actual products based on the outcome of the marketing plan. The marketing plan can be viewed here: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/fhwasa05024/

Based on the research conducted as part of this effort, 5 brochures, 5 posters and 2 radio PSA's were created that address issues such as alcohol, pedestrian signals, crosswalks, sidewalks, and bicycle safety. The brochures and posters were done in English and Spanish. They will be available for viewing in February and can be ordered here (look under "Materials for Hispanic Pedestrians and Bicyclists"): http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/hispanic/materials/ped_hisp.cfm.

An example of one pedestrian safety poster created for Hispanics by the FHWA and NHTSA.
An example of one pedestrian safety poster created for Hispanics by the FHWA and NHTSA.

Segway Research Underway

Many U.S. policymakers are looking for guidance on how to integrate a variety of sidewalk users and motorized and nonmotorized devices into the transportation system. In particular, policymakers want to know more about integration of the Segway® Human Transporter. This information is necessary given the possibility of Segways' greater use, as they are becoming a popular form of transportation for city tours and are carried in stores and shopping malls. To help provide this information, researchers at the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC) in McLean, VA, are conducting a two-part study to learn how novice and experienced Segway riders negotiate typical sidewalk conditions. Started in late 2005, both parts of the research are expected to be completed in summer 2006. For more information, contact Ann Do at 202-493-3319 or ann.do@fhwa.dot.gov.

What's New?

Second Draft of Accessibility Guidelines Available:

According to Lois Thibault, "the Access Board has released a second draft of its proposed accessibility guidelines for the public right-of-way. Posted to its website at http://www.access-board.gov/news/row-draft.htm , the new draft incorporates many of the industry and consumer recommendations submitted in comment to the Board's June 2002 draft. It is being released to the public in order to facilitate the development, with industry, of the cost/benefit analysis that is the next step in PROW [Pedestrian Right-of-Way] rulemaking under the ADA [Americans with Disabilities ACT]. Title II of the ADA, which covers State and local governments, requires new construction and alterations to be accessible to and usable by people with disabilities; standards serve as a measure of that requirement. The Board's guidelines, which cover pedestrian access to sidewalks and streets, including crosswalks, curb ramps, street furnishings, pedestrian signals, parking, roundabouts, and other components of public rights-of-way, serve as the basis for DOJ and DOT standards. Noting that the current ADA standards were developed largely for buildings and facilities on sites and are difficult to apply to the public right-of-way, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) encourages use of the draft guidelines as a best practice."

NHTSA Traffic Safety Fact Sheets Available

Traffic Safety Fact Sheets are available to the public.

The one for cyclists is available here:

The one for pedestrians is available here:

The one for school transportation-related crashes can be viewed here:

Child Pedestrians at Risk: A Ranking of U.S. Metropolitan Areas

This study and report were recently completed by Safe Kids Worldwide. It provides a ranking of 47 metropolitan areas in order from most dangerous to most safe for child pedestrians. Rankings are based on the "Pedestrian Danger Index" formulas created by the Surface Transportation Policy Project. The most dangerous of the 47 areas are:

  1. Memphis, TN
  2. St. Louis, MO
  3. Oklahoma City, OK
  4. San Antonio, TX
  5. Houston/Galveston/Brazoria, TX

The most safe of the areas are:

  1. Austin/San Marcos, TX
  2. Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton, WA
  3. Portland-Salem, OR
  4. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA
  5. Pittsburgh, PA

The full report can be viewed here:


Tamara Redmon, tamara.redmon@fhwa.dot.gov
Gabe Rousseau, gabriel.rousseau@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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