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Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)

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

Prepared for TRB 2009

2008 TRB Annual Meeting
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U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration

Federal Highway Administration
Pedestrian & Bicycle Program Activities
January 2009

This document describes recent, ongoing, and upcoming efforts for the following FHWA Offices and Contacts:

Personnel change:
In summer 2008, Tim Arnade changed positions within FHWA. Becky Crowe replaced Tim as the Safe Routes to School Program Manager. Tim now works for FHWA's Office of Policy on Congressional Affairs.

FHWA Office of Natural and Human Environment


Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP): The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) introduced a new funding program for 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. Most public input has addressed wetlands and ecosystems issues. In previous years, few comments came from pedestrian and bicyclist interests, but comments increased significantly in 2008. Research funds for FY 2009 are $270,000 (out of about $14 million available each year in STEP), with $100,000 for the National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse. This is an increase from previous years when annual funds were only $70,000. Outreach will continue this year. Further information on STEP can be found at

Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program (NTPP): The NTPP provided $25 million to construct a system of bicycle and pedestrian facilities and programs to each of four communities. 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-St Paul, 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 Volpe Center. A final report is due to the US Congress by September 30, 2010, but the report will likely be submitted in Fall 2011.

Exemplary Human Environment Initiatives: FHWA established an award program for Exemplary Human Environment Initiatives (EHEI). See The purpose of this initiative is to improve transportation options while remaining conscious of natural and environmental consequences. The award categories are:

The 2008 awards were announced in December. For information about the EHEI, see: The call for 2009 EHEI submittals will appear soon and the submittal deadline will be in April 2009.

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program: FHWA is sponsoring an SBIR project to develop and evaluate Public Rights-of-Way Assessment Instrumentation that can quickly measure and record objective information about sidewalks, street crossings, and other elements in the public rights-of-way to determine compliance with the draft Public Rights-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines. The assessment instrumentation will consist of: 1) a wheeled data collection cart equipped with sensors that automatically measure elements in the public rights-of-way, and 2) a computer with software that controls data collection, manages data, generates reports, and interfaces with existing agency geographic information systems (GIS). The contractor is Beneficial Designs, the company that developed FHWA's Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access (available from FHWA's Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Guidance webpage under Accessibility Guidance).

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, other Federal agencies, 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

Public Health and Recreation MOU: The Departments of Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Interior, Army, and Transportation signed a Memorandum of Understanding to Promote Public Health and Recreation. The USDOT signed on November 24, 2008. This MOU establishes a general framework for the cooperating agencies to promote uses and benefits of the Nation's public lands and water resources to enhance the physical and mental health and well being of all Americans. This collaborative effort is being undertaken to promote healthy lifestyles through sound nutrition, physical activity, and recreation in America's great outdoors. See links on the RTP Overview page. The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports posted Call to Activity: Getting Kids Moving in the Great Outdoors to encourage youth participation in outdoor activities.

Other Items

Federal Aid Funding Update: States obligated $541 million for bicycle and pedestrian projects in FY 2008. See for more details.

Reauthorization: FHWA will be developing reauthorization proposals in 2009. The Bicycle/ Pedestrian, Trails, and Enhancements Team posted a Summary of comments related to trails and TE activities at

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

Some new or revised pages include:

FHWA Safety Design Activities


Safety Products Under Development

FHWA Pedestrian Safety Program Strategic Plan: The Pedestrian Safety Strategic Plan is being 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. This project will be completed by Summer 2010. [Note this is a joint activity between FHWA's Safety Research and Safety Design teams.]

Available Safety Products

Residents Guide for Creating Safe and Walkable Communities: The FHWA has released A Resident's Guide for Creating Safe and Walkable Communities, which provides examples from other communities working to improve pedestrian safety. The Guide includes information, ideas, and resources to help residents learn about issues that affect walking conditions; find ways to address or prevent these problems; and promote pedestrian safety. The Guide contains fact sheets, worksheets, and sample materials that can be distributed or adapted to meet the needs of a community. References to other resources and materials are also provided. Hard copies are available to order from

The Pedestrian Safety Guide for Transit Agencies is intended to provide transit agency staff and roadway designers with an easy-to-use resource for improving pedestrian safety. The guide includes a variety of approaches to address common pedestrian safety issues that are likely to arise near transit stations, bus stops, and other places where transit (bus or rail) is operated. It provides references to publications, guides, and other tools to identify pedestrian safety problems. Descriptions of engineering, education, and enforcement programs that have been effectively applied by transit agencies are included as well as background information about pedestrian safety and access to transit. You can view and download the document at Hard copies are available to order at

Pedestrian Safety Countermeasures Proven to Work: The FHWA Safety Office has recently completed an updated "Toolbox of Countermeasures and Their Potential Effectiveness for Pedestrian Crashes." This "toolbox" document estimates the crash reduction that might be expected if a specific countermeasure or group of countermeasures is implemented with respect to pedestrian crashes. The crash reduction estimates are presented as Crash Reduction Factors (CRFs). Traffic engineers and other transportation professionals can use the information contained in this toolbox when trying to figure out which countermeasures would be effective in improving safety at a certain type of location (such as a signalized intersection). Some of the countermeasures featured include pedestrian countdown signals, providing sidewalks and paved shoulders, installing medians and raised islands, "road diets" (or roadway narrowing), adding intersection lighting, implementing a "leading" pedestrian interval, adding an exclusive pedestrian phase (scramble) to a signalized intersection, converting an unsignalized intersection to a roundabout, etc. The document can be viewed and downloaded at:

FHWA Safety Policy Memo Contains Provisions for Pedestrians: Former FHWA Associate Administrator for Safety, Jeff Lindley, signed a memo on July 10, 2008, that strongly encourages the States to adopt nine countermeasures that are proven to increase safety and implement them wherever it makes sense. There are two that are aimed specifically at improving pedestrian safety.

Pedestrian Safety Countermeasure Deployment Project: In 2002, the FHWA awarded grants to the cities of San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Miami to examine and map out their pedestrian crashes and develop a plan for deploying and evaluating various pedestrian safety countermeasures in high crash "zones" and locations. The purpose of the project was to demonstrate how a city could improve pedestrian safety by performing a detailed analysis of its pedestrian crash problem, identifying and evaluating high crash locations, observing factors such as driver and pedestrian behavior, and deploying various lower cost countermeasures tailored to the site. All three localities have completed their final reports. An independent evaluation is also being conducted to compare the countermeasure deployment in the three cities. Some of the countermeasures evaluated include: Automated (video) detection of pedestrians to extend crossing time, flashing beacons, "in street" pedestrian signs, "Turning Traffic Must Yield to Pedestrians" signs, median refuge islands, pedestrian push button acknowledgement, LED "No Turn on Red" signs, reduce minimum green time (hot button), "smart" crosswalk lighting, and pedestrian countdown signals. To view the final reports from Miami, Las Vegas, and San Francisco, visit this page:

Pedestrian Report to Congress: This Report to Congress on Pedestrian Safety was developed in accordance with requirements of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users. Section 2003(e) required the Secretary of Transportation to submit to Congress a comprehensive report on pedestrian safety that builds on the current level of knowledge of pedestrian safety countermeasures by identifying the most effective advanced technology and intelligent transportation systems. Section 2003(e) also required that the report include recommendations on how new technological developments could be incorporated into educational and enforcement efforts and how they could be integrated into national design guidelines.

Improving Pedestrian Safety with Road Safety Audits: A road safety audit (RSA) is a formal safety examination of a future roadway plan or project or an in-service facility that conducted by an independent, experienced multidisciplinary RSA team. All RSAs should include a review of pedestrian safety; however, some RSAs may be conducted to improve an identified pedestrian safety problem. The Pedestrian Road Safety Audit Guidelines and Prompt Lists provides transportation agencies and teams conducting an RSA with a better understanding of the needs of pedestrians of all abilities. The RSAs are being field tested and evaluated in several pedestrian Focus States and/or Cities. A comprehensive report will be prepared after the field tests and revisions may be made to the checklist and guidelines. Two field tests have already occurred--one in Phoenix, Arizona and one in Prince George's County, Maryland. The guidelines can be viewed at:

Other Reports: Other recent 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:

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


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 December 2010.

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.

A study was conducted during the summer of 2004 examining 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). This study was completed in 2006.

A second study is currently underway investigating both novice and experienced Segway riders performing simple navigation tasks on a sidewalk at TFHRC. Participants also view a series of sidewalk videos shown from the rider's perspective and rate them on the quality of lateral and longitudinal separation, passing ability, and general ridability exhibited. This study will be completed in Spring 2009.

Pedestrian Exposure to Risk: This project is in an initial stage and will examine ways to better quantify pedestrian and bicyclist exposure to risk. The first step will be to conduct a literature review to find out how researchers try to measure pedestrian exposure to risk, the advantages and limitations of these approaches, and how these findings are used. A long-term goal is to develop a pilot study to more adequately investigate risk. This project will be completed in Fall 2009.

Recently Completed Research Reports:

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

FHWA Office of Safety Programs

Safe Routes to School

Contact: Becky Crowe,, 804-775-3381
FHWA Website:

The National Center for Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Website:
This website is the central distribution mechanism for Safe Routes to School (SRTS) technical assistance. The website includes the following new additions:

International Walk to School Day: FHWA provides support for coordination of International Walk to School events in the U.S. and provides information through the website: In its twelfth year, participation reached a record high with more than 3,000 events registered.

National Safe Routes to School Task Force Report: The FHWA established a National Safe Routes to School Task Force in October 2006 to study and develop strategies for advancing Safe Routes to School programs nationwide. The group included leaders in health, transportation, and education as well as representatives from State government, local agencies, and nonprofit organizations. The Task Force submitted the report to the U.S. DOT Secretary in July 2008 and a downloadable version of the report is available at:

Updated: 10/20/2015
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