The Walk Friendly Communities program, now celebrating its tenth year, recognizes cities throughout the United States for high levels of commitment to pedestrian safety. The program works to encourage walkable cities and towns by raising awareness of those who are promoting walkability and by educating decision-makers through resources and detailed feedback.
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.
In 2017, ‘citizen scientists’ can help professionals with everything from searching for planets and stars to preventing traffic deaths by teaching computers to predict high risk road environments. The public can now help the city of Bellevue, the University of Washington, and Microsoft, who have teamed up on a new technology development project called Video Analytics Towards Vision Zero.
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).
May 8-12 is the United Nations’ Global Road Safety Week, and the theme is #SlowDown. The accompanying WHO report provides an excellent resource for towns and cities wishing to consider speed reduction safety measures, and it lists important strategies focusing on vehicle speed management. Walk Friendly Communities manage speed in a variety of innovative ways, and we were able to narrow down a few highlights which tie in to the #SlowDown strategies. Continue reading How Walk Friendly Communities Manage Speed
One of the smaller Walk Friendly Communities, Davidson, NC, with a population just over 10,000 people, is a lakeside college town which proudly prioritizes pedestrian safety. After a couple of tragic pedestrian crashes in 2011, the town decided to focus resources on improving pedestrian safety through infrastructure countermeasures. Continue reading Safety Success with Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons in Davidson