Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration

Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)
PlanningEnvironmentReal Estate

HEP Events Guidance Publications Awards Contacts

Summary of Federal Highway Administration Pedestrian and Bicycle Research and Program Activities

Prepared for TRB 2011

Federal Highway Administration
Pedestrian & Bicycle Program Activities
January 2011

DOT Trisk SymbolU.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration

This document describes recent, ongoing, and upcoming efforts for the following Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Offices and Contacts:

FHWA Office of Human Environment

Contacts:

US DOT's Support for Livability and Walking and Bicycling: Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood has made livability a key initiative. Secretary LaHood has said livability means "being able to take your kids to school, go to work, see a doctor, drop by the grocery or post office, go out to dinner and a movie, and play with your kids at the park, all without having to get into your car." Recent activities include:

Federal-Aid Funding for Pedestrian and Bicycle Programs and Projects in FY 2010: States obligated $1.037 billion (including all Safe Routes to School and Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program funds) in Federal-aid highway program funds for bicycle and pedestrian programs and projects in FY 2010. This was a decline from $1.189 billion in FY 2009, but FY 2009 was more than twice any previous year. This was 2.2% of Federal-aid highway program funding in FY 2010 ($47.4 billion). See www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/funding/bipedfund.cfm for details.

International Scan on Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety and Mobility: In May 2009, FHWA, in conjunction with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), sent a team of 12 transportation professionals from the United States to visit five countries in Europe to identify and assess effective approaches to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety and mobility. Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom were chosen because of their innovative approaches to nonmotorized transportation, as well as the potential transferability of their policies and practices. The Final Report was released in 2010 and is available online as is a follow-up report entitled Public Policies for Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety and Mobility.

Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program (NTPP): The NTPP has provided $25 million to each of four communities to construct a system of bicycle and pedestrian facilities. The aim of the program is to increase mode share for walking and bicycling. The four communities are: Marin County, CA; Columbia, MO; Sheboygan County, WI; and Minneapolis, MN. An Interim Report on the project was submitted to Congress in January 2008. As projects are implemented in the four communities, they will be evaluated using a consistent methodology developed by the USDOT's Volpe Center. A final report will be submitted to US Congress in fall 2011. Program updates and fact sheets can be found on the NTPP web page.

Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP): The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) authorized the Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP) to fund environmental and planning research within FHWA. STEP requires input for determining both funding levels and the specific research studies that are to be undertaken using STEP funds. Funds are currently being used to support the National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse; additional funds were used to support the NTPP. Further information on STEP is at www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep/step/index.cfm.

Exemplary Human Environment Initiatives: FHWA established a recognition program for Exemplary Human Environment Initiatives (EHEI). See www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/ehei/. The purpose of this initiative is to improve transportation options while remaining conscious of natural and environmental consequences. The award categories are:

The 2010 awards were announced in July. For information about the 2010 EHEI recipients, see: www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/ehei/. The call for 2011 EHEI submittals will be announced in early 2011 and the submittal deadline will be in April 2011.

Recreational Trails Program (RTP): FHWA's RTP continues to work with the USDA Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and through American Trails and other nonprofit trail organizations to support the National Trails Training Partnership, a clearinghouse for training for all kinds of trails. See www.NTTP.net.

Internet reference iconUpdated Websites: FHWA's Bicycle/Pedestrian, Recreational Trails, and Transportation Enhancements team updates its websites frequently:

Some Bicycle and Pedestrian Guidance highlights:

FHWA Safety Programs Activities

Contacts:

Safety Products Under Development

Best Practices for Pedestrian Facility Maintenance and Enhanced Safety: This project will develop a synthesis to identify best practices and barriers for sidewalk and other pedestrian facility maintenance: what works and what does not work based on experience from State and local agencies. The best practices and barriers would be compiled in a guidebook. This project will begin in FY 2011.

Revision of Pedestrian Safety Materials: Using the results of the "Pedestrian Program Strategic Plan and product Evaluation," mentioned under "Available Safety Products," this project will begin the revision of selected materials done in the past by the FHWA Safety Office such as the Safer Journey CD ROMs and the Pedsafe and Bikesafe Guides.

Marketing Effort to Promote the Use of Raised Medians/Pedestrian Refuge Areas and Sidewalks/Shoulders: These countermeasures have a proven safety benefit, and FHWA is trying to encourage their widespread use where appropriate. The effort would include the development of a Best Practices Guide and the delivery of four Webinars.

Develop Bicyclist Road Safety Audit Module: This project will provide funding to develop bicycle modules for Road Safety Audits. Pedestrian and bicycle accommodation are not generally considered during the RSA process, and this project would seek to change that. This project will be complete in 2011. (See item below on Pedestrian Road Safety Audits for a more comprehensive description.)

Develop a multimodal Highway Design Handbook for Older Road Users: This project will update the Handbook to include best practices used around the country in regards to guiding engineers and transportation specialists about safely accommodating older road users. This will include for the first time older bicyclists and motorcyclists in addition to automobile operators and pedestrians. This project will be complete in 2011.

Available Safety Products

Safety Benefits of Walkways, Sidewalks, and Paved Shoulders (available in either a tri-fold brochure or booklet): Annually, around 4,500 pedestrians are killed in traffic crashes with motor vehicles in the United States. Pedestrians killed while "walking along the roadway" account for almost 8 percent of these deaths. Many of these tragedies are preventable. Providing walkways separated from the travel lanes could help to prevent up to 88 percent of these "walking along roadway crashes.This document expands on the FHWA guidance memo detailed here: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/provencountermeasures/pc_memo.htm. Hard copies are available to order from http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/ped_bike_order/

Safety Benefits of Raised Medians and Pedestrian Refuge Areas - (Available in either a tri-fold brochure or booklet): The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) strongly encourages the use of raised medians (or refuge areas) in curbed sections of multi-lane roadways in urban and suburban areas, particularly in areas where there are mixtures of a significant number of pedestrians, high volumes of traffic (more than 12,000 vehicles per day) and intermediate or high travel speeds. This document expands on the FHWA guidance memo detailed here: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/provencountermeasures/pc_memo.htm. Hard copies are available to order from http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/ped_bike_order/

FHWA Pedestrian Safety Program Strategic Plan: The Pedestrian Safety Strategic Plan was developed to identify gaps in existing research, resources, and deployment and prioritize short- and long-term activities that FHWA can undertake to improve pedestrian safety, accessibility, and mobility. This Plan will provide a 15-year framework for FHWA activities, including conducting original safety research, developing safety programs and products, ensuring technology deployment, and updating, enhancing, or supplementing existing products or programs. The Plan will take into account FHWA's overall vision, mission, and goals, and recommendations for actions and will include performance measures that FHWA can use to assess its progress in accomplishing its goals. The Strategic Plan will be data-driven, informed and supported by original research and analysis of pedestrian crash/injury and other data, literature reviews, an evaluation of existing products and distribution methods, and input from a diverse group of informed stakeholders, including representatives of State and local agencies. The document can be viewed and downloaded at : http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/pssp/fhwasa10035/. [Note this is a joint activity between FHWA's Safety Research and Safety Design teams.]

Other Reports: Other FHWA Safety Reports related to walking and bicycling (e.g., PEDSAFE, BIKESAFE, and How to Develop a Pedestrian Safety Action Plan) can be ordered at this web site: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/ped_bike_order/.

FHWA Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Research (Turner Fairbank Highway Research Center)

Contacts:

Safety Research Activities in Progress

FHWA Pedestrian Safety Program Strategic Plan: Note that this is a joint activity between FHWA's Safety Research and Safety Design teams. The project description can be found in the Safety Design section of this document.

Evaluation of Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Measures: Evaluation of new and innovative signing and other low-tech countermeasures and recommendations for their installation and use. This project will be completed by summer 2011.

Ongoing In-House Safety Research Projects

Segway® Human Transporter Research: Two studies have been developed to investigate the operational characteristics of Segway riders. The results of these studies are intended to assist engineers and policy makers in understanding Segway performance. One study examined the stopping behavior of experienced Segway riders. Participants rode on a closed sidewalk course at Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC) and made planned and unexpected stops while traveling in three different speed keys (up to 6 mph, 8 mph, and 12.5 mph respectively). The second study investigated both novice and experienced Segway riders performing simple navigation tasks on a sidewalk at TFHRC. A report detailing the results of these studies has been prepared. The final report is available for download at /publications/research/safety/10025/index.cfm.

Pedestrian Exposure to Risk: A new metric for measuring pedestrian and bicycle exposure to risk was developed. This metric was then tested in one sample city (Washington, DC) to determine its viability. Pedestrian and bicycle exposure to risk was measured at 100+ sample sites. A report summarizing the results from the sample city data as well as the validation of the metric is currently being prepared. The final report will be available in spring 2011.

Completed Research Reports:

Copies of the completed research reports are available upon request to: ann.do@dot.gov.

FHWA Office of Safety Technologies
Safe Routes to School

Contact:

The National Center for Safe Routes to School (SRTS) serves as the clearinghouse for the Federal SRTS Program. Below are highlights of activities the National Center conducted in 2010.

The National Center Website: www.saferoutesinfo.org. This website is the central distribution mechanism for SRTS technical assistance. Highlights of new additions to the website in 2010 include:

Tracking the Federal SRTS Program

Mini-grants

The National Center operates a project through which local schools can apply for mini-grants to support SRTS goals. Last year's activities include:

Program Data Collection: To both facilitate local program planning and monitoring and to inform a national-level understanding of progress of the SRTS program, standardized data collection forms and data processing are provided by the National Center.

In June 2010, the National Center updated the online data collection and reporting system with more user friendly functionality and enhanced report generating capabilities.

Research Program: FHWA funded three projects specifically to evaluate different aspects of SRTS:

Marketing and Outreach

Updated: 07/29/2014
HEP Home Planning Environment Real Estate
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000