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Pedestrian Forum – Fall 2009

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Safe Pedestrians and a Walkable America
VOL. 48, Fall 2009


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) Office of Safety has established a goal of reducing pedestrian fatalities and injuries by 10 percent by the year 2011. 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.

Comment Period for FHWA's STEP Program Initiated

FHWA's STEP (Surface Transportation Environment and Planning) Cooperative Research Program recently began the annual stakeholder comment period. There are a variety of STEP Emphasis Areas, including Bicycle/Pedestrian & Health. Decisions on how to divide up the research funds depend in part on stakeholder input. Last year the Bicycle/Pedestrian & Health Emphasis Area had the most comments of any Emphasis Area. There was an accompanying boost in funding from prior fiscal years. It would be nice to continue this trend.

Please submit your own comments on research needs and feel free to disseminate this request to other stakeholders who work on walking, bicycling, and health issues.

Key web links:

The comment period is open until December 3, 2009. Comments do get tracked continuously so please feel free to submit comments now. It is ok to submit multiple comments.

NHTSA Awards Grants to Four Pedestrian Safety Focus Locations

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has awarded cooperative agreements to promote pedestrian safety education and enforcement programs to four Focus Cities/Focus States--Chicago, Florida, North Carolina and New Mexico. In their proposals, the awardees outlined location-specific plans to implement pedestrian education and enforcement programs and strategies to complement existing or planned pedestrian engineering treatments to improve infrastructure over the course of three to four years.

The Chicago Department of Transportation has completed Phase I of their Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, and this funding will assist in implementing Phase II. The Chicago Department of Transportation will develop a pedestrian safety education campaign directed at Chicago motorists about distracted driving, sharing the road, and vulnerable road user awareness. This will complement the ongoing campaign to educate youth and senior pedestrians. Existing pedestrian enforcement efforts will be supplemented to develop a pedestrian enforcement training program and increase the number of crosswalk enforcement events.

The Florida Department of Transportation, District 7, will focus their efforts in Hillsborough and Pinellas County, to reduce the number and severity of pedestrian crashes. They will be working with marketing specialists and advertising agencies to develop a large education campaign delivered through a variety of media outlets. This safety education campaign will run concurrently with the implementation of enhanced pedestrian crosswalk striping projects (non-NHTSA funded). Special law enforcement details will be assigned to these crosswalks to focus on motorist observance of pedestrian laws, and pedestrian observance of crossing laws. Data will be collected to determine the combined effect of the education, infrastructure and enforcement campaign.

The New Mexico Department of Transportation will utilize the funds to expand a branding media placement project to educate their high-risk populations – males aged 40-44 and over the age of 64, concentrated in the 5 counties having the highest incidence of pedestrian crashes. Enforcement operations of targeted intersection/crosswalks, speed on neighborhood streets, rural roadways, and school zones will be implemented in conjunction with the education campaign for maximum effectiveness.

The University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center will be working closely with the North Carolina Department of Transportation to implement education and enforcement projects in the cities of Charlotte and Durham. These two cities have very different high-risk pedestrian populations (Charlotte: African American pedestrians, Durham: child pedestrians up to age 14); education and enforcement projects will be implemented to target these groups. Project goals include increasing motorist yielding to pedestrians at intersections and driveways; reducing the speed of vehicles on roadways, including downtown streets and school zones; educating pedestrians on conspicuity and other safe walking practices; educating care-givers of children who walk and play near streets; and training law enforcement officers on pedestrian laws, enforcement opportunities and crash reporting.

All awardees based their project proposals on their active or draft pedestrian action plans. Awardees indicated that this award will greatly impact the ability to execute the education and enforcement components of their plans. All projects include an evaluation component to assess the effectiveness of the implemented programs. Project results will be compiled and shared with other states and localities to assist them in implementing successful pedestrian safety programs.

Free Pedestrian Safety Webinar

The next webinar will take place on November 9, from 1:30-3:30 Eastern Time.

In this webconference, we will have 3 presentations and discussions on the somewhat controversial crosswalk guidelines issued by the Federal Highway Administration several years ago in the document Safety Effects of Marked Versus Unmarked Crosswalks at Uncontrolled Locations. Presentations are:

  • Charlie Zegeer (Ped/Bike Information Center) will discuss the study and recommendations themselves.

  • Pete Lagerwey (formerly of the City of Seattle) will discuss how the City of Seattle, Washington used the guidelines to improve or eliminate crosswalks at uncontrolled locations and the impact it had.

  • Mary Anne Koos (Florida Deparment of Transportation) and another speaker (TBD) will discuss how FDOT used the guidelines to develop a statewide crosswalk policy, and how they continue to use the guidelines today.


Select “enter as guest,” type your name in the space provided, then click on “enter room”


Phone: 800-988-0375 Passcode: 6810859

To receive information on future webinars, please use the e-subsciprtion service provided on this site: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/esubscribe.cfm#ped. Scroll down to “Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety” and select “subscribe” next to “Pedestrian Webinar.”

California's Strategic Highway Safety Plan and Pedestrians

Major institutional change is happening in California (one of FHWA's pedestrian focus states) through the multi-stakeholder planning and implementation of the State's “Strategic Highway Safety Plan.” Pedestrian advocates were skeptical about the lengthy and involved process that began with gathering stakeholders representing the many aspects of highway safety into various conferences and summits. “Challenge Areas” were formed and representatives from diverse agencies and backgrounds came together to draft strategies to implement the plan. Challenge Area 8 – Making Walking and Street Crossing Safer – began its work chaired by Richard Haggstrom of the California Department of Transportation and Anne Geraghty of WALKSacramento.

One of the eight approved actions is the creation of a Pedestrian Data Think Tank. Holly Sisneros, of the California Department of Public Health, is facilitating this statewide task force and David Ragland (UC Traffic Safety Center) is the lead researcher. Four categories of data have been identified as critical: 1) infrastructure data, 2) collisions & injury data, 3) exposure data, 4) socio-economic data, 5) driver information, 6) enforcement/adjudication, and 7) risk. David Ragland and staff of the UC Traffic Safety Center, have created a GIS interactive database of pedestrian/vehicle collisions, which is expected to be released soon. They also have an initial design for a website so that it can be made available to the many individuals and agencies who need it.

In addition to this effort, progress on the seven other pedestrian safety actions is reported regularly by designated leads from the various state agencies at monthly meetings of the Challenge Area 8 group.

For information, contact Richard.haggstrom@dot.ca.gov, ageraghty@walksacramento.org, or holly-sisneros@cdph.ca.gov.

Neighborhoods Receive Funding from NHTSA to Improve Pedestrian Safety

Through a contract with NHTSA, ten communities from across the U.S. have been selected to receive funding from the University of North Carolina's Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC) to improve pedestrian safety and help make their environments more "walkable" with the use of FHWA's A Resident's Guide for Creating Safe and Walkable Communities. The guide is designed to be used by anyone who is looking for ways to improve the pedestrian safety and walkability of their neighborhood, whether they are just beginning to learn about walking safety or are already part of an established community safety group.

The following community groups will each receive $2,000 in funding to implement their planned activities related to the guide:

Awarded communities will implement their proposed activities while pilot testing the use of the guidebook and providing feedback on additional resources needed by communities to improve pedestrian safety in neighborhoods. Each awarded site will also be provided technical assistance from pedestrian safety experts while planning and implementing their projects.

To access a copy of the Resident's Guide, please go to: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/ped_cmnity/ped_walkguide/

To order a free copy of the guide, go to: safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/ped_bike_order/.

Free FHWA Pedestrian Safety Materials Available

The FHWA's document entitled Pedsafe: Pedestrian Safety Guide and Countermeasure Selection System (Publication number: FHWA-SA-04-003) is available once again and can be ordered in increments of 20. This report provides information on 47 engineering countermeasures or treatments, along with education and enforcement programs, that may be implemented to improve pedestrian safety and mobility. Included in this version are 71 case studies that illustrate these concepts applied in practice in a number of communities throughout the United States. Also included is a CD Rom with the Pedestrian Safety Countermeasure Selection System, an expert system product designed to assist practitioners with the selection of countermeasures to address pedestrian safety and mobility problems.

In addition, hard copies of Pedestrian Road Safety Audit Guidelines and Prompt Lists (Publication Number FHWA-SA-07-007) are now available in increments of 5. A Road Safety Audit (RSA) is a formal safety examination of a future roadway plan or project or an in-service facility that is conducted by an independent, experienced multidisciplinary RSA team. The Pedestrian Safety Road Safety Audit Guidelines and Prompt Lists provides transportation agencies and teams conducting an RSA with a better understanding of the needs of pedestrians of all abilities.

Please visit the website to order copies of all materials: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/ped_bike_order/.

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

To receive information on future newsletters, please use the e-subsciprtion service provided on this site: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/esubscribe.cfm#ped. Scroll down to “Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety” and select “subscribe” next to “Pedestrian Forum.”

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

Page last modified on January 31, 2013
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