DOT campaign reminds: Everyone is a pedestrian

August 13, 2013

It can be an intimidating time to be a pedestrian – new federal statistics for 2011 have revealed that fatalities are on the rise, with estimates pegging a “pedestrian killed every two hours and injured every eight minutes in traffic crashes.” Plus, seventy-five percent of pedestrian deaths were in urban areas, and 70 percent of the victims were at non-intersections, according to federal findings published by Forbes. In response into these stats and general concern over pedestrian safety, last week the U.S. Department of Transit launched a new awareness campaign, “Everyone is a Pedestrian.”

Pedestrian crossing sign in Death Valley

This sign in Death Valley, CA proves the Department of Transportation’s point – there truly are pedestrians everywhere. From Rupert Ganzer.

“Whether you live in a city or a small town, and whether you drive a car, take the bus or ride a train, at some point in the day, everyone is a pedestrian,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, in a statement. In addition to an educational website, the project will provide grant money totaling to be awarded to up to six of twenty-two potential cities with the highest rate of pedestrian deaths. The cities, which must apply for the funds, will use the project money to address “pedestrian safety education and enforcement initiatives,” according to StreetsBlog. Once awarded, the funds will be used on education and safety enforcement projects, but the specific initiatives funded will be determined by cities’ individually-identified safety issues. According to the agency, frequent issues include speeding, and lack of yielding to passengers.

The twenty-two cities include: Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Stockton, Washington, DC, Fort Lauderdale,; Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, Louisville, New Orleans, St. Louis, Newark, New York City, Tulsa, Philadelphia, Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth, and San Antonio.

As reported by StreetsBlog, the funded projects will likely include the following:

  • “A comprehensive education and enforcement activity that supports active infrastructure improvement projects.  For example, having enforcement and education activities in areas surrounding re-painted crosswalks or newly-installed mid-block crosswalks.
  • Improved data and analysis of pedestrian crashes to identify trends, high risk populations and high crash locations.
  • Development and implementation of an education campaign focusing on the high risk groups identified through crash analysis.
  • Deployment of enforcement operations in high crash locations (corridors and/or intersections).
  • Evaluation of the countermeasures used to reduce pedestrian deaths and injuries.”

In addition to the grants, the new campaign’s website also features children’s educational materials, community resources (such as tips for making neighborhoods more walkable), handy research and statistics, and guidelines for developing a pedestrian safety plan, among other tools. The DOT, along with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) are joining forces on the initiative, noting: “Everyone has different preferences when it comes to transportation, but there’s one that all road users share—everyone is a pedestrian. Unfortunately, pedestrians were one of the few groups of road users to experience an increase in fatalities in the United States in 2011, totaling 4,432 deaths.”

Pedestrian bridge in Santa Barbara

Six out of 22 cities will win funding for awareness initiatives to prevent pedestrian injuries. From Richard Masoner.

NHTSA administrator David Strickland noted in a statement, “We continue to see high rates of pedestrian fatalities in major cities and across every demographic. To help stop the recent increase in deaths and injuries, we need everyone to play a role in pedestrian safety. Working with partners on the federal, state, local and individual level, we hope to turn this concerning trend around.

The project is a good start, however, $2 million is a drop in the federal funding bucket, and the outreach has largely targeted pedestrians, rather than the drivers who injure or kill them. However, there was one positive piece of news to be gleaned from the statistics: though there was a three-percent rise in pedestrian fatalities in 2011 over 2010, there was a notable, seven-percent decrease in fatalities since 2002.

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Category: Pedestrian safety, Trends

About the Author ()

Katy is a writer, reporter and editor who, in addition to writing for RoadTrafficSigns, has worked with the United Nations Development Programme, Hamptons magazine, Hearst Corporation, The Daily Mail, People Magazine, and a variety of other publications and nonprofits. After graduating with honors from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2011, and distinctions on her thesis and in the consumer journalism seminar, she moved to Milan, Italy. In Italy, she worked as a writer and consultant for an international magazine, editing and translating text and reporting on such events as the Salone Internazionale del Mobile, the annual design fair. A born and raised New Yorker, she has lived in three of five boroughs, relying quite a bit on public transport until getting her driver's license at the admittedly belated age of 21.

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