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

Prepared for TRB 2013

Federal Highway Administration
Pedestrian & Bicycle Program Activities
January 2013

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 2012: States obligated $854 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 2012. This was an increase from $791 million in FY 2011. Bicycle and pedestrian funding was about 2.0% of Federal-aid highway program funding in FY 2012 (~$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). Three of the most-used fund sources for pedestrian and bicycle projects, the Transportation Enhancement (TE) Activities, Safe Routes to School Program (SRTS), and Recreational Trails Program (RTP), were consolidated into a new Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), funded at about the same level as TE previously. FHWA posted Transportation Alternatives Program Interim Guidance on its MAP-21 Guidance page.

Research: The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) did not reauthorize the Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP). For more information about FHWA’s research program under MAP-21, see FHWA’s Highway Research and Development Program Fact Sheet, FHWA State Planning and Research Fact Sheet, and FHWA’s Research, Technology, and Education Provisions Presentation.

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

Bike Sharing in The United States: State of the Practice and Guide to Implementation: The PBIC in conjunction with Toole Design Group completed a study (September 2012) to explore bike sharing programs 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.

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. A final report was submitted to US Congress in April 2012. Program updates and fact sheets can be found on the NTPP web page.

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 2012 awards were announced in July. For information about the 2012 EHEI recipients, see: The call for 2013 EHEI submittals will be announced in early 2013 and the submittal deadline will be in April 2013.

Recreational Trails Program (RTP): The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) reauthorized the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) through Federal fiscal years 2013 and 2014 as a setaside from the new 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 The RTP also provides funds for Tread Lightly!, Inc to support off highway vehicle user ethics, and the American Council of Snowmobile Associations to support snowmobile safety and access. FHWA plans to initiate a contract 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 Technologies Activities


Safety Products Under Development

Proven Safety Countermeasures: FHWA updated its list of Proven Safety Countermeasures. Three of these countermeasures pertain to pedestrian safety: Medians, Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon, and Road Diets. See

Marketing Effort to Promote the Use of Road Diets, Raised Medians/Pedestrian Refuge Areas, and Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon: These countermeasures have a proven safety benefit, and FHWA is trying to encourage their widespread use where appropriate. The effort includes the delivery of three Webinars.

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 conclude in Summer 2013.

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. The revised Pedsafe and Pedestrian Safer Journey will be complete by the summer of 2013.

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. 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. We have been offering free technical assistance and courses to each of the States and cities, and free bimonthly webinars on subjects of interest.

Available Safety Products

Bicyclist 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 bicyclist safety; however, some RSAs may be conducted to improve an identified bicyclist safety problem. The Bicyclist Road Safety Audit Guidelines provides transportation agencies and teams conducting an RSA with a better understanding of the needs of pedestrians of all abilities.

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: Hard copies are available to order from

Safety Benefits of Raised Medians and Pedestrian Refuge Areas - (Available in either a tri-fold brochure or booklet): The 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: Hard copies are available to order from

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:

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 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.

Ongoing In-House Safety Research Projects

Human Factors Assessment of Pedestrian Midblock Behavior: This research effort is to develop a rule-based analytical framework from which areas prone to midblock crossings. Identified roadway and pedestrian factors that will feed into an analytical framework that can help identify areas prone to midblock crossing. This project will be completed by summer 2013.

Completed Research Reports:

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

Safe Routes to School


Note: Effective October 1, 2012, oversight of the Federal Safe Routes to School Program was transferred from the FHWA Office of Safety to the FHWA Office of Human Environment.

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 2012.

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.

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 (now serves as support for Walk to School Day activities. Technical assistance highlights in 2012 include:

Marketing and Outreach
The National Center has served as the national coordination organization for National Walk to School Day since 2006. Last year the first National Bike to School Day was launched.

Updated: 10/20/2015
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