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FHWA Home / Safety / Pedestrian & Bicycle / Pedestrian Forum – Winter 2019

Pedestrian Forum Newsletter – Winter 2019

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U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration

Volume 79

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In this issue:

Pedestrian Fatalities Continue to Rise and Federal Highway Administrator responds with Pedestrian Safety Initiative

FREE Assistance Still Available for Scalable Risk Assessment Methodology

FHWA Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation University Course Updated

FHWA Updates Guidance on Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning, Program and Project Development

NEW! Pedestrian Safety Relative to TrafficSpeed Management

NTSB Hearing and Bicyclist Safety on U.S. Roadways Report

Pedestrian Fatalities Continue to Rise and Federal Highway Administrator responds with Pedestrian Safety Initiative

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced 2018 highway fatalitiy information on October 22, 2019 ( 2018 is the latest year for which complete data on fatalities is available). While overall fatalities decreased 2.4% between 2017 and 2018, pedestrian fatalities increased by 3.4%, and cyclist fatalities increased by 6.3%.

This increase in numbers is a big concern of both Federal Highway Administrator (FHWA) Nicole Nason and Acting NHTSA Administrator James Owens, who have both made pedestrian safety a priority for their respective agencies. Both agencies are currently developing initiatives through their Administrators' leadership. Keep reading future issues of this newsletter for more information as both initiatives develop.

Both Administrators appeared at a press event on October 24 to launch the start of a new Street Smart Campaign.

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments' (the metropolitan planning organization for the Washington DC area) Street Smart program has worked to protect vulnerable road users by raising awareness about pedestrian and bicycle safety for many years. The region-wide public safety campaign educates drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists about safe use of roadways in the District of Columbia, suburban Maryland, and Northern Virginia. The most recent campaign, prompted by a 14% spike in the region's annual total of pedestrian fatalities, shares heart-felt testimonials from area residents whose lives have been upended following a traffic crash involving them or their loved ones.

Chart showing that pedestrian fatalities have steadily risen since 2009.

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Pedestrians walk down a crowded sidewalk.
Photographer: Dan Burden

A woman waits to cross the street at a crosswalk with a baby in a stroller and two children.
Photographer: Dan Burden

Free Assistance Still Available for Scalable Risk Assessment Methodology

As mentioned in the Fall 2018 edition of this newsletter, the FHWA published the Guide for Scalable Risk Assessment Methods for Pedestrians and Bicyclists (and accompanying Areawide Exposure Tool) which outlines eight sequential steps to develop risk values, and describes the scope and nature of each step, including guiding principles. Practitioners can use

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FHWA Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation University Course Updated

The third edition of the University Course on Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation, a set of resources designed to provide background materials for an undergraduate or graduate university course on bicycling and walking, is now available. The FHWA distributes this free teaching resource to stimulate the development of nationwide university courses on bicycle and pedestrian transportation.

The course was last updated in 2006. It was designed so that college professors could take and use the ready made materials to either present an entire course on pedestrian and bicycle transportation or use modules from the course as part of a broader transportation-related. The course is designed to help students recognize the legitimacy of the bicycle and pedestrian modes; understand how policy, planning, and engineering practices can be improved to create a more balanced transportation system; and become familiar with basic policies, practices, tools, and design principles that can be used to create bicycle and pedestrian-friendly communities.

The course contains 21 PowerPoint slideshows with speaker notes and complementary materials including assignments, readings, and videos. The course materials are intended for use in graduate or undergraduate courses in civil engineering and/or urban/regional planning programs, but materials can also be incorporated into classes in public health, public policy and administration, and landscape architecture. The course spans a wide range of topics including an introduction to bicycling and walking issues, planning and designing for bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and supporting elements and programs. Course Modules include:

  1. Introduction to Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation
  2. The Benefits of Designing Streets for Walking and Bicycling
  3. User and Mode Characteristics
  4. Factors Influencing Mode Choice
  5. Planning for Walking and Bicycling
  6. Policies that Support Pedestrian and Bicycle Planning
  7. Bicycle and Pedestrian Data for Planning
  8. Designing for Walking and Bicycling
  9. Strategies for Safer Speeds
  10. Intersections
  11. Safety Analysis
  12. Facility and Network Analysis
  13. Trails
  14. Accessibility and ADA
  15. Inclusive Public Engagement
  16. Connections to Transit and SharedMobility
  17. School Travel
  18. Temporary Facilities and Maintenance
  19. Systems Perspectives Leadership in Implementation
  20. Equity in Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation
  21. The University of North Carolina Highway Safety Resource Center hosted a webinar on Friday, October 18 that featured the course. You can view the recording here.

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FHWA Updates Guidance on Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning, Program and Project Development

A police officer and a child riding their the bikes in a marked bike lane
Photographer: Mike Cynecki

The FHWA Office of Human Environment recently completed update of FHWA Guidance: Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning, Program, and Project Development. The Agency began the update process soon after the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015 was enacted, but the update became a priority when the Agency decided to repeal the obsolete regulation Pedestrian and Bicycle Accommodations and Projects (23 CFR 652). The purpose of this guidance is to identify references to certain Federal legislation, as well as other relevant guidance and reference materials, related to bicycling and walking safety and accommodation.

The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991 enacted significant changes to Federal transportation policy and programs that expanded consideration of and eligibility for bicycling and walking. The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) of 1998 and the Safe Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: a Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) of 2005 continued these provisions. The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) of 2012 enacted program changes and continued broad consideration and eligibility for bicycling and walking. The FAST Act allowed for additional design flexibility for projects that benefit pedestrians and bicyclists. The statutory provisions affecting bicycling and walking are codified in titles 23 and 49 of the United States Code (U.S.C.). This guidance describes the range of opportunities to improve conditions for bicycling and walking, consistent with Department of Transportation goals for a safe, comfortable, equitable, and integrated multimodal transportation network infrastructure that serves all ages and abilities.

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NEW! Pedestrian Safety Relative to Traffic-Speed Management

Screenshot: Cover NCHRP Synthesis 535: Pedestrian Safety Relative to Traffic-Speed Management

The National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) recently released NCHRP Synthesis 535: Pedestrian Safety Relative to Traffic-Speed Management. The synthesis documents what is known about traffic-speed management strategies and countermeasures to address pedestrian safety in urban environments. Although there are typically many factors that effect pedestrian safety, higher speeds (not necessarily just people speeding) lead to higher injury severity. Accordingly, many agencies are searching for tools and strategies to retrofit and redesign roadways for speeds more in line with increasing pedestrian safety.
The two objectives of the synthesis are:

  1. Identify proven strategies and effective practices related to improving pedestrian safety via traffic-speed management.
  2. Clarify gaps in current knowledge in order to better understand how to design research projects to fil those gaps in the future.

The synthesis found that there may be a need for greater clarity about the speed-limit-setting process, as well as for greater collaboration between local and state agencies when state roads run through urban

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Text: FHWA

Tamara Redmon, Pedestrian Safety Program Manager
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE
Room E71-303
Washington, DC 20590
Phone: 202-366-4077
Fax: 202-366-3222
E-mail: tamara.redmon@dot.gov

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

To receive information on future newsletters, please use the esubscription service provided on this site: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/esubscribe.cfm. Scroll down to "Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety" and select "subscribe" next to "Pedestrian Forum."

Helping Communities to provide safe and convenient transportation choices to all citizens, whether it's by walking, bicycling, transit, or driving is a high priority of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Each year, unfortunately, pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities comprise about 17 percent of all traffic fatalities and there are approximately 6,000 pedestrian and bicyclist deaths. Another 115,000 pedestrians and bicyclists are injured in roadway crashes annually. Pedestrian and bicyclist safety improvements depend on an integrated approach that involves the four E's: Engineering, Enforcement, Education, and Emergency Services. The Pedestrian and Bicyclist Forum highlights recent pedestrian and bike safety activities related to the four E's that will help save lives.

FHWA logo.

NTSB Hearing on Bicyclist Safety and Report

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) held a board meeting on November 5 to adopt the findings and recommendations of Safety Research Report ‘Bicyclist safety on US Roadways: Crash Risks and Countermeasures.' You can view the recording of the meeting here.

"If we do not improve roadway infrastructure for bicyclists, more preventable crashes will happen and more cyclists will die in those preventable crashes. If we do not enhance bicyclist conspicuity, more bicyclists will die in preventable crashes. If we do not act to mitigate head injury for more bicyclists, additional bicyclists will die."

—NTSB Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt

This was the NTSB's first examination of bicyclist safety on U.S. roadways since its last report on this topic in 1972. The agency said critical changes were needed to address the recent rise in fatal bicycle crashes involving motor vehicles, even as overall traffic deaths fell in 2018.

Investigators recommended the following for reducing the number of fatal and serious crashes:

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