Pedestrian and Bicyclist Road Safety Assessments Summary Report

Conducting a simple assessment can be an effective first step in beginning a conversation about how to improve walking and bicycling networks.

by Federal Highway Administration

Conducting a simple assessment can be an effective first step in beginning a conversation about how to improve walking and bicycling networks. The national assessments effort confirms and reflects the benefits that assessments can provide at many levels, including the ability to influence policies, planning, and funding; educate and engage a wide range of stakeholders; and build diverse partnerships to support safe walking and bicycling.

The assessments provided opportunities for community, local, State, and Federal stakeholders to work together to address pedestrian and bicycle safety concerns in a variety of environments and locations. Many assessments noted that while the assessment was useful at a site level, it was also valuable in establishing more cohesive and collaborative working relationships between various stakeholders going forward. For example, the Maryland assessment identified an opportunity for better data sharing among agencies and stakeholders; the Maryland State Highway Administration maintains relevant data that other stakeholders did not necessarily know existed. As a result of the assessment in Louisiana, the State DOT invited the FHWA Division Office to give a presentation at the Statewide Traffic Operations Engineer’s meeting on the assessment and performing roadway safety audits for non-motorized users. In Ohio, as a result of the assessment, the State DOT is planning to create a pedestrian/bicycle subcommittee of the Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) steering committee, and provide training to local public agencies on how to conduct multi-discipline pedestrian and bicycle safety assessments.

The assessments also helped to develop a common understanding of various challenges and thereby build partnerships to support addressing them. In Arkansas, a community visioning meeting was held in the evening after the assessment to discuss the vision for the corridor, where a regional arts center (drawing 5,000 to 7,000 visitors per year) is planned. The success of the arts center plan would rely on good pedestrian and bicycle access, and the assessment results have clearly articulated needs for pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements in the downtown area. Based on the discussion of these needs, that evening the City Council approved funds for a Master Pedestrian and Biking Trail Plan.

Many locations noted opportunities to incorporate assessment findings into upcoming planning efforts and project scoping, including a regional pedestrian and bicycle plan in Puerto Rico and a roadway safety project in North Carolina.

Based on the previous evidence of the value of assessments and the positive feedback coming out of this effort, U.S. DOT encourages Federal, State, and local staff to continue to conduct assessments (see Appendix 1 for guidance on how to conduct an assessment). The U.S DOT recognizes assessments as a valuable way to gather information needed to address other priorities related to multi-modal transportation connectivity, accessibility for people with disabilities, access to essential services for communities of color, and promoting sustainable transportation policies and practices.

About the Author

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), part of the US Department of Transportation, provides expertise, resources, and information to improve the nation's highway system and its intermodal connections. The Federal-Aid Highway Program provides financial assistance to the States to construct and improve the National Highway System, other roads, bridges, and trails.

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