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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 2012

Federal Highway Administration
Pedestrian & Bicycle Program Activities
January 2012

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


Federal-Aid Funding for Pedestrian and Bicycle Programs and Projects in FY 2011: States obligated $791 million (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 2011. This was a decline from $1.037 billion in FY 2010, but FY 2010 included $200 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Bicycle and pedestrian funding was about 2.0% of Federal-aid highway program funding in FY 2011 (~$40 billion). See

FHWA released Creating Livable Communities and Livability Videos to describe how transportation investments help shape the character of places and how we experience our daily lives. See

Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program (NTPP): The NTPP has provided over $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. A final report is expected to be submitted to US Congress in 2012. 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. Information on STEP is at

Pedestrian Bicycle Information Center (PBIC): In 2011, FHWA awarded a new cooperative agreement to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Highway Safety Research Center to operate the national bicycling and walking clearinghouse. The clearinghouse websites include:,,,, and

Guide to Optimizing Bike Sharing in the United States: The PBIC in conjunction with Toole Design Group is conducting a study to explore the evolution of bike share programs in cities where they currently exist in the U.S. and Canada, define success factors, explore funding models, explain how community demographics and geographies influence bike share implementation, recommend a step-by-step approach for implementation in cities in the start-up phase, and will discuss measures to increase demand and expansion of existing programs. This project is anticipated to be completed in summer 2012.

Exemplary Human Environment Initiatives: FHWA established a recognition 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 2011 awards were announced in July. For information about the 2011 EHEI recipients, see: The call for 2012 EHEI submittals will be announced in early 2012 and the submittal deadline will be in April 2012.

Recreational Trails Program (RTP): FHWA's RTP initiated a new 5-year agreement in 2011 with American Trails to support the National Trails Training Partnership, a clearinghouse for training for all kinds of trails, see FHWA also initiated a 5 year agreement with Tread Lightly!, Inc to support off highway vehicle user ethics, and with the American Council of Snowmobile Associations to support snowmobile safety and access. FHWA initiated an 18-month agreement with the National Off Highway Vehicle Conservation Council to support OHV safety and access.

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


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 began in FY 2011 and will conclude in FY 2013.

Revision of Pedestrian Safety Materials: Using the results of the "Pedestrian Program Strategic Plan and Product Evaluation," mentioned under "Available Safety Products," FHWA is in the process of revising the Safer Journey CD ROMs the Pedsafe and Bikesafe Guides, and The Resident’s Guide for Creating Safe and Walkable Communities.

Proven Safety Countermeasures: FHWA recently updated its list of 9 Proven Safety Countermeasures and will be strongly encouraging their use in the coming year. Three of these countermeasures pertain to pedestrian safety: Medians, Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon, and “Road Diets.” See The FHWA Office of Highway Safety is launching a marketing effort.

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 2012. (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 2012.

Available Safety Products

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 the map ( Pedestrian focus cities were selected based on the number of pedestrian fatalities or the pedestrian fatality rate per population. Cities were identified as pedestrian focus cities if they had more than 20 average annual pedestrian fatalities or a pedestrian fatality rate greater than 2.33 per 100,000 population (the annual national average number of pedestrian fatalities is 20 and the average national rate of pedestrian fatalities is 2.33 per 100,00 population). States with a focus city were automatically identified as focus States. For more information, visit this web page:

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 [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: To receive updates on the latest pedestrian safety program information, please use our e-subscription service. Go to, then click on “eSubscribe” in the upper right hand corner. From there, subscribe to the areas you are interested in.

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


Safety Research Activities in Progress

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 study will be completed in March 2014.

Ongoing In-House Safety Research Projects

Human Factors Assessment of Pedestrian Midblock Behavior: The goal of this research is to apply human factors techniques and methodologies to explain the behavior of why pedestrians cross at midblock locations in urban and suburban areas. Additionally, the environmental characteristics associated with different crossing behaviors will be identified. This study will be completed in March 2013.

Completed Research Reports:

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

FHWA Office of Safety Technologies Safe Routes to School


The National Center for Safe Routes to School (National Center) serves as the clearinghouse for the Federal Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program. Below are highlights of activities the National Center conducted in 2011.

Technical Assistance: Technical assistance occurs primarily through educational resource development and training. The website is the central distribution mechanism for SRTS technical assistance. Technical assistance highlights in 2011 include:

Tracking the Federal SRTS Program

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 September 2011, the National Center updated the online data collection and reporting system with more user friendly functionality and enhanced report generating capabilities, including reports that aggregate results for programs with multiple schools.

Research Program:


The National Center operates a project through which local schools can apply for $1,000 mini-grants to support SRTS goals. Last year's activities include:

Marketing and Outreach

Updated: 10/20/2015
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