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

Prepared for TRB 2015

Federal Highway Administration
Pedestrian & Bicycle Activities
January 2015

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

This document describes recent, ongoing, and upcoming pedestrian and bicycle research efforts and related activities for the following Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Offices and contacts:

FHWA Office of Human Environment


Federal-Aid Funds for Pedestrian and Bicycle Programs and Projects: In FY 2014, States obligated $820 million in Federal-aid highway program funds for bicycle and pedestrian programs and projects, (including all Safe Routes to School and Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program funds), an increase from $676 million in FY 2013. Bicycle and pedestrian funding was less than 2.0% of Federal-aid highway funding (~$40 billion). See

The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) retained broad eligibility for pedestrian and bicycle activities for all Federal-aid highway program funds, but did not dedicate any funds for pedestrian and bicycle activities. MAP-21 did not make any significant changes to the Federal statute relating to Bicycle Transportation and Pedestrian Walkways (23 U.S.C. 217).

Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide

The FHWA is finalizing a Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide, to be released in early 2015. It outlines planning considerations for separated bike lanes (also called “cycle tracks” or “protected bike lanes”) and provides a menu of design options covering typical one and two-way scenarios. It highlights options for providing separation, while also documenting midblock design considerations for driveways, transit stops, accessible parking, and loading zones. It provides detailed intersection design information covering topics such as turning movement operations, signalization, signage, and on-road markings. Case studies highlight best practices and lessons learned throughout the document. The report identifies potential future research, highlights the importance of ongoing peer exchange and capacity building, and emphasizes the need to create holistic ways to evaluate the performance of a separated bike lane.

The guide was developed by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center, Sam Schwartz Engineering, Kittelson and Associates, and consultants William Hunter and Robert Schneider. A Technical Work Group provided input and feedback. The work group included representatives from cities, a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), State Departments of Transportation, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), National Association of City Transportation Officials, and the League of American Bicyclists (LAB).

Pedestrian and Bicycle Assessments

U.S.DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx has made pedestrian and bicycle safety one of the top priorities of his administration. Secretary Foxx announced the Safer Streets, Safer People initiative on September 10, 2014, at the Pro Walk, Pro Bike, Pro Place conference in Pittsburgh, PA. As part of the initiative, USDOT field office staff will convene and lead a pedestrian and bicycle safety assessment event in every State by June 2015. The assessments and other initiative efforts are coordinated by a newly formed Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Action Team, which includes representatives from various modes within the USDOT, including the Office of the Secretary, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). The Secretary's Action Plan on Bike and Pedestrian Safety provides more information on the initiative, see

Connected Pedestrian and Bicycle Networks

FHWA has long supported pedestrian and bicycle transportation through policy, planning, and funding. To build off of this support, FHWA will increasingly focus on the documentation and promotion of pedestrian and bicycle networks, which are interconnected pedestrian and/or bicycle transportation facilities that allow people of all ages and abilities to safely and conveniently get where they want to go.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Research Agenda

As part of an aggressive research agenda, FHWA has initiated the following pedestrian and bicycle research projects, which are underway now. Several of these projects have technical working groups to help guide the research.

FHWA Pedestrian and Bicycle Work Group: An FHWA Pedestrian and Bicycle Work Group meets monthly to coordinate ongoing and planned pedestrian and bicycle initiatives. The work group includes representatives from FHWA, FTA, NHTSA, and the Office of the Secretary.

Pedestrian Bicycle Information Center (PBIC): The FHWA has a cooperative agreement with the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center to operate the national bicycling and walking clearinghouse, known as the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC). FHWA works closely with the PBIC to develop and provide webinars, white papers, case studies, and other material to support walking and bicycling throughout the U.S. See PBIC's report for more information.

Recreational Trails Program (RTP): The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is a set-aside from the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). The RTP provides funds through a cooperative agreement with American Trails for the National Trails Training Partnership, a clearinghouse for trail training, see FHWA posts trail publications and research, including several Forest Service publications and DVDs, at

Internet reference iconUpdated Websites: FHWA's Livability Team updates its websites frequently:

FHWA Office of Infrastructure

Contact: Elizabeth Hilton,, 512-536-5970

Accessibility: The Office of Infrastructure is working closely with the Office of Civil Rights, the Office of Chief Counsel, and other offices to develop Questions and Answers that can be posted on the FHWA website to address common questions on the Joint Technical Assistance on Resurfacing Projects ( and general ADA/Section 504 application. We anticipate that the U.S. Access Board will finalize its work on accessibility guidelines for pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way in 2015 and are discussing the rulemaking that will be needed for DOT adoption of those guidelines as a standard.

National Highway Institute (NHI) Course: FHWA has a contractor working to update the National Highway Institute (NHI) Pedestrian Facility Design course to update the material presented, particularly with regard to accessible design.

FHWA Office of Operations


Interim Approval for Bicycle Signals

The FHWA issued an Interim Approval for bicycle signal faces on December 24, 2013 (IA-16) through the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD). More information is available on the Interim Approval page of FHWA's MUTCD website at, and also through official interpretation 9(09)-47(I) on the official interpretations page at

Bicycle Facilities and the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices Website

The FHWA revised its website entitled Bicycle Facilities and the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices to reflect the current state of the practice with bicycle facilities and how they relate to the MUTCD. The website now includes updated information on bicycle boxes, two-stage turn boxes, dashed bicycle lanes, destination guide signs for shared-use paths, and the use of green-colored pavement in conjunction with the shared-lane marking. Information on what constitutes an acceptable request to experiment with these devices is also provided at this redesigned website. The website also provides information on recent Interim Approvals for bicycle facilities and records of FHWA's official interpretations of the MUTCD with respect to the provisions for bicycle facilities.

Additional Approved Flash Pattern for the Rectangular-Rapid Flashing Beacon

Federally-funded research was conducted by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) regarding the effectiveness of various flash patterns for rectangular rapid flashing beacons. Before proposing to add this new device to a future edition of the MUTCD, the FHWA was interested in determining if a simpler flash pattern that included more dark time would be equally or more effective at getting motorists to stop for pedestrians at uncontrolled crossings. An overview of the study and an executive summary that provides the detailed results are available on the TTI website. More information on the alternative flash pattern is provided through official interpretation 4(09)-41(I) found on the official interpretations page of the FHWA's MUTCD website at

FHWA Office of Planning


Statewide Pedestrian and Bicycle Planning Handbook

The Statewide Pedestrian and Bicycle Planning Handbook will help State DOTs develop or update State pedestrian and bicycle plans. Based on research including interviews with nine State DOTs and critical evaluations of documents from 15 States, this handbook covers statewide planning from plan inception and scoping to engaging stakeholders and the general public; developing goals, objectives and strategies; collecting and analyzing data; linking to the larger statewide transportation planning process; and implementation. For each stage of the planning process, this handbook uses recent experiences and noteworthy practices from DOTs around the country, helping inform a new generation of statewide nonmotorized planning and implementation. See:

Guidance for Coding Nonmotorized Count Data in the Traffic Monitoring Guide Format

The most recent release of the FHWA Traffic Monitoring Guide (TMG) includes recommendations for conducting bicycle and pedestrian counts, and specifies a standard set of data fields for reporting the counts. The TMG data format is comprehensive but also complex. To facilitate effective data exchange using the TMG format, FHWA will develop preliminary technical guidance and coding standards that explain how to encode station and location count data correctly and consistently. Contact: Jeremy Raw.

Pedestrian and Bicycle Updates to the Traffic Monitoring Analysis System (TMAS)

To support statistical analysis of travel trends, FHWA maintains a system called the Traffic Monitoring Analysis System (TMAS) which receives raw data from automatic motorized vehicle collection programs, vehicle classification counts, and weigh-in-motion counters, and computes basic reports from those data sets. A project funded by FHWA will modify TMAS to receive and report on bicycle and pedestrian counts based on the Traffic Monitoring Guide data format (see the previous item). Those enhancements will be included in the next version of TMAS (Version 3.0), scheduled to go into testing in 2016. A related project for a regional count database is underway at Portland State University with FHWA support that will include an assessment of the feasibility of moving counts from regional collection centers to the TMAS database. Contact: Jeremy Raw.

Nonmotorized Travel Analysis Toolkit (NMTK)

The Nonmotorized Travel Analysis Toolkit is a research project to assess the feasibility of providing distributed access to analysis and modeling tools for bicycle and pedestrian planning across the internet. Tools may be developed and contributed to the toolkit by developers, and user access to those tools may be managed by other agencies or organizations. The toolkit framework is currently in end user beta testing through a partnership with the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center. The research system is open source and freely available to tool developers and others interested in exploring the concepts and implementation of a web-based analysis system. Contact: Jeremy Raw, Brian Gardner.

FHWA Office of Safety Technologies Activities

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Safety Products Under Development or Ongoing

A Resident's Guide for Creating Safer Communities for Walking and Biking. This guide is an update of A Resident's Guide for Creating Safe and Walkable Communities developed 7 years ago. It will assist residents, parents, community association members, and others in getting involved in making communities safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. It will be available in early January 2015.

Pedestrian Forum: The Office of Safety produces a quarterly newsletter that focuses on pedestrian safety. The current (and previous issues) are at You can subscribe at

Pedestrian Safety Focus States and Cities: Since 2004, FHWA's Safety Office has been working to aggressively reduce pedestrian deaths by focusing extra resources on the cities and States with the highest pedestrian fatalities and/or fatality rates. The States and cities were revised in late 2011 to what you currently see in this map. We have been offering free technical assistance and courses to each of the States and cities, and free bimonthly webinars on subjects of interest. See

Recent Safety Products

BIKESAFE: FHWA updated the Bicycle Countermeasure Selection System (BIKESAFE) in October 2014. BIKESAFE provides practitioners with the latest information available for improving the safety and mobility of those who bicycle.

Bicycle Safer Journey: helps educators, parents and others who care about bicycle safety to get the conversation started with children and youth. Available online, three videos --one for each of three age groups --accompanied by a quiz or discussion and an educator's resource library can be used as an introduction to bicycle safety skills or to augment a comprehensive curriculum.

Road Diet Informational Guide: One of FHWA's Proven Safety Countermeasures is the Road Diet. A Road Diet involves converting an existing four-lane undivided roadway segment to a three-lane segment consisting of two through lanes and a center two-way left-turn lane. The reduction of lanes allows the roadway cross section to be reallocated for other uses such as bike lanes, pedestrian refuge islands, transit stops, or parking. FHWA just released a new Road Diet Informational Guide to help communities determine if a road diet is right for them. Road diets are also part of the FHWA Every Day Counts 3 initiative.

Guide for Maintaining Pedestrian Facilities for Enhanced Safety: The Guide provides guidance for maintaining pedestrian facilities with the primary goal of increasing safety and mobility. The Guide addresses the needs for pedestrian facility maintenance; common maintenance issues; inspection, accessibility, and compliance; maintenance measurers; funding; and construction techniques to reduce future maintenance: The research report is also online

Pedestrian Safer Journey:. These resources help educators, parents and others who care about pedestrian safety get the conversation started with children and youth. Three videos --one for each of three age groups --accompanied by a quiz or discussion and an educator's resource library can be used as an introduction to pedestrian safety skills or to augment a comprehensive curriculum.

Pedsafe: Pedestrian Safety Guide and Countermeasure Selection System. First developed in 2003, Pedsafe is an expert system that allows the user to select treatments (mainly engineering with some enforcement and education activities) that help mitigate a known crash problem or help achieve a specific performance objective.

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

Contact: Ann Do,, 202-493-3319

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 Technologies section of this document.

Evaluation of Pedestrians Safety Engineering Countermeasures at Urban and Suburban Midblock Crossing Locations: The goals of this research effort are to improve pedestrian safety at urban and suburban midblock crossing locations by identifying and evaluating low- to medium-cost pedestrian countermeasures to reduce pedestrian fatalities and injuries at these locations. This project will be completed by summer 2015.

Evaluation of Safety Treatments for Pedestrian Crossing: Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon, Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon, Circular Rapid Flashing Beacon, and Raised Crosswalks: This effort will develop and analyze pedestrian and driver behaviors regarding Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (PHB) and the operational tradeoffs for different locations of PHBs. Additional research will begin to identify the impacts of beacon/LED characteristics, such as size or flash pattern, being used or considered for Pedestrian Crossing signs, and determine the safety effectiveness of raised crosswalks. This project will be completed by summer 2016.

Pedestrian Countermeasure Crash Modification Factor Study: FHWA's Countermeasure Deployment Project wrapped up in 2009. The purpose of the project was to: 1) demonstrate the effectiveness of pedestrian safety plans in reducing pedestrian fatalities, injuries, and conflicts and 2) to demonstrate the plan's portability to other jurisdictions within the United States. The objective of this new follow-on effort is to evaluate the three sites (Las Vegas, Miami, and San Francisco) several years later to determine the project's effectiveness in improving pedestrian safety. This project will be completed by Fall 2017.

Completed Research Reports:

Copies of the completed research reports are available upon request to:

Safe Routes to School Activities


FHWA entered into a 3-year cooperative agreement with the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center in 2013 to operate the National Center for Safe Routes to School (National Center), which serves as the clearinghouse for the Federal Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program. Below are highlights of activities the National Center conducted in 2014.

Tracking the Federal SRTS Program

The National Center produces quarterly Tracking Briefs to provide information about State SRTS programs with a focus on funding award announcements. Highlights from the report ending September 30, 2014 include:

Federally Funded Project List and Map

This searchable list is updated quarterly by State SRTS contacts and is organized by State, project type, year, amounts, funding source, and recipient schools. A GIS-powered map allows access to information and locations of local projects funded under the Federal SRTS Program. The map is searchable by State, county, congressional district, and MPO. Note: The list of projects entered from 2006 through 2012 as part of SAFETEA-LU transportation legislation is complete. Project lists entered since 2013 as part of MAP-21 legislation are complete for some States but not others. This is because some States either no longer specify SRTS projects or they have opted to fund other eligible activities within TAP.

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.

Research Program

The National Center is engaged both in conducting research and evaluation of the SRTS program and working with researchers across the country to provide assistance in State evaluations of SRTS programs.

Technical Assistance

Technical assistance occurs primarily through educational resource development, training and support for State and local SRTS Coordinators. The website is the central distribution mechanism for SRTS technical assistance. A second website serves as support for Walk and Bike to School Day activities. Technical assistance highlights in 2014 include:


Annual State Safe Routes to School Coordinators Meeting

Marketing and Outreach

The National Center has served as the national coordination organization for National Walk to School Day since 2006. In 2012 the National Center launched the first National Bike to School Day. Marketing highlights include:

Updated: 10/22/2015
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