With warm weather comes outdoor activity, and one of the most popular activities is walking. Over 110 million Americans walk for exercise, transportation to work or school, or just for fun! With that many pedestrians out there, who are vulnerable users of the roadways, it’s important to keep them safe.
Pedestrian fatalities escalated 53 percent between 2009 and 2018, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Crashes with vehicles killed 6,283 pedestrians in 2018, the highest number since 1990. The Federal Highway Administration has made pedestrian safety a priority through their Every Day Counts (EDC) initiative Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian or STEP.
STEP promotes proven safety countermeasures for addressing pedestrian safety, and ranges from low-cost measures such as enhanced signage and markings to larger-scale projects such as Rapid Rectangular Flashing Beacons (RRFBs). The entire list, often referred to as the Spectacular Seven, along with additional information on each can be found here.
Many of these countermeasures may be familiar to you, as Connecticut has been proactive in installing them at both the State and local level. The CT Department of Transportation (DOT) has taken a programmatic approach to pedestrian safety, including it the State’s Complete Streets policy, the Active Transportation Plan and the Highway Safety Plan. CTDOT also created a pedestrian safety countermeasure tool for marked uncontrolled crosswalks, which was featured in the March Connecticut Crossroads Safety Matters.
On a local level, many cities and towns have been working to improve pedestrian safety by installing many of the Spectacular Seven countermeasures. You can see some of them on the T2 Center’s Safety Examples website,
FHWA has recently added more resources to help agencies improve pedestrian safety. One of these is STEP Studio, which is, according to FHWA’s website, “a comprehensive compilation of resources, design guidance, research, and best practices for practitioners to identify appropriate countermeasures for improved pedestrian safety.” They also have instituted a STEP UP campaign, focusing on key pedestrian safety issues. More information can be found on their website at https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/step/step_up_campaign/.
For more information and assistance with local road safety in your community, contact Melissa Evans, Safety Circuit Rider, at firstname.lastname@example.org.