HSRC Directions
Summer 09
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HSRC News Briefs

PBIC director participates in international scan of pedestrian and bicycle mobility

In May 2009, AASHTO and FHWA sponsored an international scan to survey ways to improve walking and bicycling safety and mobility. PBIC Director Charlie Zegeer was a member of a team of 12 transportation professionals with expertise in bicycling and walking from the U.S. that visited five countries in Europe.

Some of the countries visited, including Denmark, have experienced an increase in car use since the 1960s and 1970s, and subsequently reoriented their transportation policies to give priority to bicycling and walking. The scan team heard presentations from and had informal discussions with many foreign hosts. During most visits, the scan team also participated in guided field visits (by bike as well as by foot) to better understand and experience the design and operation of various walking and bicycling facilities. These field visits were invaluable in documenting the facilities through photos and video, observing traffic behavior, and experiencing firsthand how well a design or operational strategy worked.

The purpose of this scan tour was to identify and assess effective approaches to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety and mobility. The specific topics of interest were:

  • Improving Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety: Approaches (engineering, education, enforcement, and policy) that have been successful in improving pedestrian and bicyclist safety.
  • Safe Routes to School Programs: Approaches and policies for improving safety for child pedestrians and bicyclists, especially those that support programs like Safe Routes to School.
  • Monitoring Usage Levels and Exposure: Quantitative methods of monitoring pedestrian and bicyclist usage levels (for example, counts and surveys) and exposure to crashes.
  • Safety Research and Evaluation: Recently completed or ongoing research and collaboration opportunities in pedestrian and bicyclist safety.

The scan team identified numerous possible approaches to improving pedestrian and bicyclist safety and mobility in the U.S. The scan team also prepared a list of implementation items for those approaches that should be pursued in the U.S. A summary report has been released. It provides a quick-response overview of the team's findings and recommendations. The report can be found on the PBIC Web site at www.walkinginfo.org/library/details.cfm?id=4447.

Congratulations to HSRC scholarship recipient

HSRC Director David Harkey congratulates Katherine Hebert, recipient of the HSRC Scholarship. Hebert is a master's student at UNC Chapel Hill studying in the Department of City and Regional Planning.

Each spring the UNC Highway Safety Research Center awards a $1,000 scholarship to a graduate student with an interest in transportation safety. This year HSRC awarded the 2009 scholarship to Katherine Hebert, a master's student at UNC Chapel Hill studying in the Department of City and Regional Planning.

Studying toward her goal of working at a Metropolitan Planning Organization or similar regional planning office, Ms. Hebert is focusing on alternative forms of transportation, like walking and biking, as a link between health and safety. She specializes in land use management and environmental planning. In the spring semester of 2009, she enrolled in the new Bike and Pedestrian Planning course taught through DCRP.

"The suggested benefits to health and safety from alternative transportation are indicative of a much bigger shift in the way roads and communities are planned," says Ms. Hebert. "All potential users of a road network must be considered and a more holistic and creative approach is needed to keep up with the demand for complete streets."

Ms. Hebert has previously consulted with the city of Martinsville, V.A. and the Dan River Basin Association in Henry County, V.A. on planning recreational facilities and coordinating environmental education programs. She is a student representative to the North Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association.

The annual HSRC scholarship is available to a full-time graduate student enrolled at any of the University of North Carolina campuses in any discipline. The purpose of the HSRC scholarship is to foster the education and professional development of graduate students with an interest in transportation safety-related areas, including, but not limited to, engineering, driver behavior, planning, public health and environment.

While helping her fund her studies, Ms. Hebert also says of the $1,000 scholarship: "It has given me the chance to meet the HSRC's staff to discuss the importance of planning in addressing issues of highway safety and how HSRC, UNC, and planning organizations such as the American Planning Association can work together to address these issues."

HSRC in the News

The following is a highlight of recent media stories that include information and research from the Center. Web links to the following news stories are time sensitive, so some stories might not be accessible after the initial publication date without required registration.

Impairment a concern among older drivers
WRAL Raleigh
August 21, 2009

Child's death revives driving debate: Should the old face restrictions?
News & Observer
August 21, 2009

Highway Patrol: Teen driving deaths increasing
WRAL Raleigh
August 13, 2009

Texting ban, but what about the rest?
News & Observer
August 11, 2009

Statistics show fewer DWIs for Hispanic drivers
News 14 Carolina
August 7, 2009

Driven to Distraction, Drivers and Legislators Dismiss Cellphone Risks
New York Times
July 18, 2009

Death shows need to obey pickup bed law
Asheville Citizen Times
July 9, 2009

There's danger afoot for pedestrians in Fayetteville
Fayetteville Observer
July 5, 2009

The University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center
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