Austin is designated as a Bronze-level community due to the city’s commitment to education and encouragement, targeted enforcement, and strategic evaluation efforts. Highlights of Austin’s application include:
- The Safe Routes to School program in Austin benefits from, and works in tandem with, the Public Works Child Safety Program. These programs not only provide pedestrian safety education to children, but also to adults. The Child Safety Program employs 4 safety trainers and targets drivers, parents, teachers, and students in a comprehensive pedestrian safety education program. Austin also encourages people to use alternative modes of transportation through a Walk, Bike, & Roll program.
- Austin’s Walk Texas! program promotes walking as a method of managing and preventing chronic diseases, particularly Type II diabetes. Using a community-based approach, the program seeks to change behaviors, policies, and environments to encourage healthier lifestyles for Austinites. The program also includes a challenge whereby residents keep track of their walking mileage to reach the equivalent of walking across the state, which has created a friendly competition around walking in the community.
- Enforcement is a critical part of any successful pedestrian safety initiative and Austin’s program is a model for other cities. Apart from issuing over 80,000 citations for speeding and over 3,000 citations for failure to yield each year, they also have 10 photo enforcement devices that target speeding and red light running and are planning more. Enforcing pedestrian safety in a comprehensive way can yield substantial safety benefits in a community as showcased by the city of Austin.
- Baseline pedestrian counts provide a starting point for investment in pedestrian transportation in Austin. By conducting counts at 15 sites in Spring, 2010, and planning a long-term counting program and analysis of the trends, Austin has taken steps to ensure that investment in pedestrian infrastructure is targeted in the correct locations. Two automatic pedestrian counters have also been installed in the city to provide year-round count data. Additionally, Austin’s Child Safety Program also conducts pedestrian counts around schools to evaluate programmatic and infrastructure needs.