HSRC Directions
summer 05
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Pedestrian safety guide implemented

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) recently completed the guide How to Develop a Pedestrian Safety Action Plan for the Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Safety.  The instructional manual is intended for use by local and state officials to guide pedestrian safety planning, implementation and improvement.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 4,641 pedestrians killed in traffic crashes in 2004.  The number of pedestrian fatalities has decreased over time, but is still a large problem that the PBIC is aiming to help though safety measures, planning and education.

“In a society that values choice and freedom, people should be able to walk safely, whether for fun and recreation, errands, getting to work or school, shopping or other reasons.  However, pedestrians are often left out when planning or renovating roadways,” said Charlie Zegeer, PBIC director and co-author of the how-to guide. “With the creation of How to Develop a Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, we hope to encourage cities and states to make their streets more friendly and safe for pedestrians.”

The manual offers guidance that can help municipalities determine and solve their pedestrian safety concerns, from identifying pedestrian safety problems to obtaining funding and enacting change.  Easily tailored to individual areas, the manual also offers expertise on managing a pedestrian advisory board, collecting and analyzing data and planning a street that offers optimal pedestrian accessibility. 

Following the development of the manual, the PBIC will be working with selected states and cities to train and assist city planners, engineers, public health and injury prevention officials, traffic safety and enforcement officers and any other key decision makers.

The PBIC recently conducted several training sessions in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey and New York, attended by state and local transportation and government officials; roadway design, traffic safety and planning engineers; and metropolitan planning organizations. 

Dennis Scott, state pedestrian/bicycle coordinator for the Florida DOT said, “During the sessions, the group participated in field training and looked at unfriendly intersections.  All parties came to a consensus as to how the intersection could be made safer for both pedestrians and drivers, and plans are underway to enact these changes.”

Trainings took place in Tallahassee as well as St. Petersburg in late March of this year.  “The training was well-received,” said Scott.  “We hope to do similar trainings throughout the state and help more people see that local and state governments can work together to make Florida safer for pedestrians and drivers.”

Moving forward, the PBIC will also be instructing in Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas.  Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York City and Phoenix are the cities where the PBIC will provide technical assistance and training.  

How to Develop a Pedestrian Safety Action Plan is part of FHWA’s goal to decrease pedestrian fatalities by 10 percent in two years.  FHWA has launched a campaign to encourage municipalities to take pedestrian safety into their own hands and develop independent plans and pedestrian-safety programs.  The manual was contracted through Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc., a national engineering firm, who subcontracted HSRC to author this FHWA project and provide technical assistance. 

For more information on how your community can participate in training to improve pedestrian safety, please contact Charlie Zegeer at charlie_zegeer@unc.edu.

The University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center
730 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Suite 300  |  Campus Box 3430  |  Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3430
Phone: 919.962.2203  |  Fax: 919.962.8710