Pedestrian Safety — What You Need to Know
April 6, 2022
In New York State, there are an average 312 deaths, 3,027 hospitalizations, and 12,506 emergency room visits each year due to motor vehicle traffic-related pedestrian injuries. Source: NYSDOH.
Top Priority: Safety
Walking is the most fundamental form of transportation used by people of all ages and physical abilities. Developing new and/or improved pedestrian accommodations takes the knowledge and forethought to understand what improvements are needed to provide impactful, cost-effective pedestrian safety solutions. Pedestrian safety, a key priority in all communities, regions and jurisdictions, can be significantly improved at reasonable costs resulting in a favorable return on investment, and a positive impact on communities. For instance, with limited allocation of funds, it is often difficult to completely overhaul an intersection or corridor to improve pedestrian safety. However, significant improvements can be realized with limited funds by employing cost-effective, solutions-driven measures such as:
- Changing pavement markings to reduce the width and/or number of vehicular lanes
- Adding bike lanes and high visibility crosswalks
- New signage to improve driver awareness of other roadway users
- Studies and awareness programs to increase safety for pedestrians and drivers alike
Funding to support bicycle, pedestrian, multi-use path, and non-motorized transportation-related projects and programs is available through a variety of sources, many associated with the federal-aid programs administered by state DOTs such as the Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ) that reimburse up to 80% of project-related costs.
Other federal-aid programs include the Highway Safety improvement Program (HSIP) which may be used to carry out highway safety improvement projects on any public road or publicly owned bicycle or pedestrian pathway or trail. State-administered programs and funding opportunities through non-governmental organizations may also be available and are designed to fund strategic pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements.
The Fisher Difference
Fisher Associates has a proven track record of evaluating and providing solutions for areas experiencing pedestrian and bicycle-vehicle incidents. In these locations, particularly for secondary school campuses and high-density areas, we are experts at assessing and implementing measures to address:
- Number and locations of crosswalks
- Improved signage and pavement markings
- Installing rectangular rapid flashing beacons (RRFBs)
- Road diets (reducing the number of travel lanes to enhance safety, mobility, and access for all road users)
Such measures have resulted in up to a 45% or higher reduction in accident rates within 1 year of implementation. Our firm’s experience also includes reviewing and recommending pedestrian accommodations at over 250 locations throughout northern NY as part of NYSDOT’s Pedestrian Safety Action Plan (PSAP), assisting our clients with prioritizing and addressing pedestrian improvements.
With over 16% of traffic deaths in New York State involving pedestrians and 25,000 children injured in school zone accidents annually, pedestrian safety within school zones is always a priority; and Fisher Associates has been at the forefront of providing safe pedestrian accommodations within numerous school zones around New York State. Active education of the public on the many pitfalls of distracted walking, walking with earbuds, and talking on a cell phone has also been significant in reducing accidents and fatalities.
By identifying and implementing simple, low-cost improvements, municipalities can significantly improve safety within their communities. Different solutions are warranted in different scenarios. The key is accurately assessing the safety issue and implementing the proper solution that will have the most significant positive impact on safety. Contact Fisher Associates for assistance in evaluating your safety issues and implementing the right improvements to maximize safety within your community.
For information about the Fisher difference and how to take advantage of Fisher’s expertise on LDSA projects and how to enhance pedestrian safety for your region, contact Emily Smith, PE, Vice President, Director of Transportation at Fisher Associates at firstname.lastname@example.org.