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Pedestrian Forum – Fall 2008

Safe Pedestrians and a Walkable America
VOL. 44, Fall 2008


Each year pedestrian fatalities comprise about 11 percent of all traffic fatalities and there are approximately 4,600 pedestrian deaths. Another 70,000 pedestrians are injured in roadway crashes annually.  Safety is important for all roadway users, and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has established a goal of reducing pedestrian fatalities and injuries by 10 percent by the year 2008.  Pedestrian safety improvements depend on an integrated approach that involves the 4 E’s: Engineering, Enforcement, Education, and Emergency Services.  The Pedestrian Forum highlights recent pedestrian safety activities related to the 4 E’s that will help reach FHWA’s safety goals and save lives.

New! FHWA Safety Policy Memo Contains Provisions for Pedestrians

Former FHWA Associate Administrator for Safety, Jeff Lindley, signed a memo on July 10 that strongly encourages the states to adopt nine countermeasures that are proven to increase safety and implement them wherever it makes sense. There are two that are aimed specifically at improving pedestrian safety. They are listed below, along with the associated “guidance” statement:

#8. Medians and Pedestrian Refuge Areas in Urban and Suburban Areas: Raised medians (or refuge areas) should be considered in curbed sections of multi-lane roadways in urban and suburban areas, particularly in areas where there are mixtures of a significant number of pedestrians, high volumes of traffic (more than 12,000 ADT) and intermediate or high travel speeds. Medians/refuge islands should be at least 4 feet wide (preferably 8 feet wide for accommodation of pedestrian comfort and safety) and of adequate length to allow the anticipated number of pedestrians to stand and wait for gaps in traffic before crossing the second half of the street.

#9. Walkways: Accessible sidewalks or pathways should be provided and maintained along both sides of streets and highways in urban areas, particularly near school zones and transit locations, and where there is frequent pedestrian activity. Walkable shoulders (minimum of 4 feet stabilized or paved surface) should be provided along both sides of rural highways routinely used by pedestrians.

To view the memo, click on this link: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/policy/memo071008/

FHWA will be collecting any comments received on the policy guidance and issuing a Q&A at some point in the near future.

Developing an Effective Measure of Pedestrian and Bicycle Exposure to Risk

FHWA is testing a potential candidate measure for pedestrian and bicyclist exposure to the risk of crashing with a motor vehicle. The proposed metric is hundred million pedestrian or bicyclist miles of roadway (or other motor-vehicle shared facility) traveled, similar in form to the metric used for motor vehicle exposure. However, the measurement challenges differ greatly for the two metrics.

Phase I of the project demonstrated the feasibility of a methodology for making pedestrian and bicycle exposure measurements at seven different types of urban sites. These sites included intersections, mid-block road segments, driveways, alleys, parking lots and garages, and areas with playing/dashing/working in the roadway.

Phase II expanded the scope of these measurements to produce an estimate of the total pedestrian and bicyclist exposure in the entire city of Washington DC, for the calendar year 2007. The results revealed 0.82 hundred million miles for pedestrian exposure and 0.43 hundred million miles for bicyclist exposure. These results indicated that the proposed metric can be successfully employed in a cost-effective manner, and has the potential to serve as the possible basis for a universal national database for pedestrian and bicycle exposure. However, for this metric to be useful on a national scale, further tests need to be conducted on a broader scale.

If further funding is received, Phase III will apply the new exposure metric in one additional large city of differing characteristics from Washington DC, in one medium city, two small towns, and two rural areas--all in differing geographic locations. Phase IV will consist of a series of town meetings, seminars and stakeholder conferences to gain acceptance for the metric, and to enlist cooperation in making periodic nationwide measurements of pedestrian and bicycle exposure, such as is done for measurements of motor vehicle exposure. For more information, contact Ann Do at Ann.do@dot.gov or Amanda Emo at Amanda.emo@dot.gov.

New! Evaluation of the Miami-Dade Pedestrian Safety Demonstration Project

The purpose of this study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was to reduce deaths and injuries to pedestrians in a large, urban environment by targeting countermeasures toward specific high-crash locations and zones. Miami-Dade County (MD), Florida, was chosen as the focus of this study because of its large pedestrian-involved crash problem. A total of 16 different treatments were targeted to areas in MD County, and particularly in four selected zones (Liberty City, Little Haiti, Little Havana, and South Beach). Treatments included education, enforcement, and engineering measures, based primarily on previous NHTSA and FHWA research. Study findings indicated that, overall, the Miami-Dade pedestrian safety program was associated with a significant reduction in pedestrian-involved crashes countywide, and particularly among adult and child pedestrians within certain targeted zones.

You can view and download the document from the web: http://nhtsa.gov/portal/site/nhtsa/menuitem.dfedd570f698cabbbf30811060008a0c/
(Scroll down to the bottom of the webpage to find the link).

New! NHTSA Report on the Evaluation of Safety Benefits of Legacy Safe Routes to School Programs

This study examined the feasibility of conducting a crash-based assessment of the safety effects of Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Programs that were operating before the passage of the SAFETEA-LU (Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users). Although the study was not conclusive with respect to SRTS safety effects, the finding suggest that SRTS Programs may have contributed to improved pedestrian and bicycle safety. The link to the report is:


National Survey of Bicyclist and Pedestrian Attitudes and Behavior Results Finally Released

This report presents findings from the National Survey of Bicyclist and Pedestrian Attitudes and Behavior, jointly sponsored by NHTSA and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) and administered by The Gallup Organization. The goals of the survey were to ascertain the scope and magnitude of bicycle and pedestrian activity and the public’s behavior and attitudes regarding bicycling and walking.

Volume I: Summary Report
(DOT HS 810 971)
Provides a top line summary of key data results regarding the behaviors and attitudes on various topics related to walking and bicycling including reported frequency of walking and bicycling during the summer months, trip purpose and characteristics, perceptions of safety, safety practices, facilities available and community design: http://www.nhtsa.gov/DOT/NHTSA/Traffic%20Injury%20Control/Articles/Associated%20Files/810971.pdf.

Volume II: Findings Report
(DOT HS 810 972)
Presents a detailed analysis on these topics: http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/DOT/NHTSA/Traffic Injury Control/Articles/Associated Files/810972.pdf

Volume III: Methods Report
(DOT HS 810 973)
Describes the methods used to conduct the interviews and analyze the data. It also contains a copy of the most recent questionnaire: http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/DOT/NHTSA/Traffic Injury Control/Articles/Associated Files/810973.pdf.

NHTSA Conducts Pedestrian Assessment in Nevada

An assessment of the Nevada state pedestrian safety program was conducted in August 2008, the first such assessment conducted in the nation. NHTSA has been conducting Assessments in the Motorcycle, EMS, Impaired Driving, Occupant Protection and Data Records areas since the 1980’s.

In an assessment, a team of outside experts conducts a comprehensive review of the highway safety program using an organized, objective approach and well-defined procedures that provide an overview of the program’s current status in comparison to pre-established standards; note the program’s strengths and weaknesses; and provide recommendations for improvement. The recommendations are based on the NHTSA Highway Safety Program Guideline No. 14, Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety.

The Team members were: Peter Moe, Maryland Highway Safety Office; George Branyan, District of Columbia Department of Transportation; Lynn Drake, Washington State Traffic Safety Commission; David Parisi, Parisi Associates Transportation Consulting; and Mark Plotz, National Center for Bicycling and Walking. The Pedestrian State Assessment team examined the areas of Program Management; Multidisciplinary Involvement; Legislation, Regulation and Policy; Law Enforcement; Highway and Traffic Engineering; Communication Program; Outreach Program; Driver Education and Licensing; and Evaluation Program. The final assessment report will be released to the State in October. <<NHTSA will facilitate pedestrian safety program assessments for other states as requested from the State Highway Safety Office. For more information contact Leah Preiss at leah.preiss@dot.gov.

NHTSA Releases National Pedestrian Crash Report

NHTSA recently released this report, which provides an analysis of the latest trends in pedestrian fatalities and police-reported motor vehicle crashes involving pedestrians in the United States between1997 and 2006. Some interesting findings are:

– Pedestrian fatalities declined between 1997 and 2006. However, the probability of a pedestrian fatality in a crash increased while the probability of a pedestrian crash declined.

– January 1 and October 31 were the two most deadly days of the year for pedestrians, having the highest number of pedestrian fatalities.

– Pedestrians have a higher possibility of being killed in non-speeding conditions than under any other condition based on fatality per crash.

– Pedestrians are more likely to be killed in a crash under sleet conditions than under any other weather condition based on fatality per crash.

To view the report, follow this link: http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/portal/site/nhtsa/menuitem.6a6eaf83cf719ad24ec86e10dba046a0/

Pedestrian Road Safety Audits Conducted in California and New Jersey

The FHWA Office of Safety developed Pedestrian Road Safety Audit Guidelines and Prompt Lists (which are available for viewing and download here http://www.walkinginfo.org/data/library/details.cfm?id=3955) for local and state governments to use in help solving their pedestrian safety problems. The purpose of a pedestrian road safety audit (PRSA) is to provide a multi-disciplinary team approach to solving pedestrian safety issues within a roadway corridor or intersection environment.

In order to market and test these guidelines, FHWA picked locations in two Pedestrian Safety Focus States to conduct pilot PRSAs. The following communities represent what the states of California and New Jersey chose to evaluate:

Eureka, California
US Highway 101 provides the primary access to this rural county seat in far north coastal California. In one three mile section of this roadway there have been a high number of pedestrian and bicycle crashes and fatalities. Through the work of a multidisciplinary local team, coupled with FHWA oversight, a PRSA was completed. Adraft set of short, mid, and long-term recommendations will soon be presented to the community to use in resolving the issues associated with the crashes.

Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Cherry Hill is an incorporated community of nearly 100,000 which lies within the Philadelphia metropolitan area. SR 70 is one of the primary roadways providing access to the community as well as access to Philadelphia. This is a high speed (45 mph in most locations) roadway with pedestrian access and crash issues alongside and across it. The multidisciplinary team has just finished the PRSA and will be presenting findings to the community shortly.

Based on the results of these PRSA’s, FHWA may revise the PRSA guidelines. In addition, a training course on conducting PRSAs will be developed and deployed in the Pedestrian Safety Focus States and Cities so all of the Focus States and communities will be able to knowledgeably use these guidelines in reducing pedestrian crashes and fatalities.

Contact Dick Schaffer, at dick.schaffer@dot.gov, or Becky Crowe, at rebecca.crowe@fhwa.dot.gov for more information about these Guidelines.

A team of experts conducts a Pedestrian RSA
A team of experts conducts a Pedestrian RSA

This Pedestrian Forum is available on the Web at http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/pedforum.cfm.

To subscribe to the newsletter, send an e-mail to the Editor:
Tamara Redmon, tamara.redmon@dot.gov
Federal Highway Administration
Office of Safety
1200 New Jersey Ave SE, E71-303
Washington, DC 20590

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