Creating a safe, comfortable pedestrian network is key to encouraging walking. In every community, there are intersections and midblock locations without traffic control where pedestrians need to cross the street to reach a destination.
The Federal Highway Administration’s recently published Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP) Guide to Improve Uncontrolled Crossings offers a set of cost effective safety countermeasures that communities can take to make crossing the street safer for people walking. Pedestrian crashes at uncontrolled crossings have been identified as a significant national safety problem. Applying the STEP countermeasures will improve safety while also enhancing livability and pedestrian accessibility.
Vehicle speed is a critical issue for pedestrian safety. According to the World Health Organization’s recently released Managing Speed report, a 5% reduction in average speed can result in a 30% decrease in traffic fatalities. Moreover, an adult pedestrian’s risk of dying is less than 20% if struck by a car traveling below 50 km/h (around 30 mph), compared to an almost 60% risk of dying if hit by a vehicle traveling more than 80 km/h (around 50 mph).