PEDESTRIAN & BICYCLE SAFETY

ENSURING A SAFE ALTERNATIVE MODE OF TRANSPORTATION IN FLORIDA

A paper prepared by the Paliwana-Guhdgrayd Policy Research Institute for the Florida Department of Transportation and David Plazak’s Transportation Planning class (CRP545, Iowa State) Brian A. Salmons

December 2007

CHALLENGES
As the popularity of walking and bicycling for health, leisure or as an alternate mode of transportation increases, so too does the risk for injuries and fatalities of pedestrians and bicyclists involved in traffic accidents with motorized vehicles. Or at least one would think so. The existing research on determinative factors in pedestrian and bicycle (PB) safety is generally inconclusive, however some guideposts along the road towards PB safety can be discerned from the literature. While PB fatalities do not necessarily increase as a percentage of population (Dharmaratne & Stevenson 2004), travel demand does grow along with population. And because automobiles are the predominant mode of transportation in Florida (as in the entire U.S.), an increasing population means not only greater traffic congestion, but also more opportunities for PB fatalities, whether or not the modal share of PB itself increases. As the fourth most populous U.S. state, and likely the third most populous by 2011 (U.S. Census Bureau 2005), Florida is currently in the position of dealing with the adverse effects of skyrocketing population growth and will likely continue to deal with it in the long-range future. It is the purpose of this report to provide a review of the existing literature on PB and to outline a vision for a multi-modal transportation system promoting walking and bicycling as safe, alternative modes of transportation in the State of Florida.

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS – A REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
Safety is arguably the central issue in bicycling and walking as modes of transportation. Discourse about pedestrian-friendly or bicycle-friendly communities inevitably focuses on the community’s infrastructure and whether this provides a safe and efficient route to desired places within the area. Communities without sidewalks, bicycle lanes or other PB improvements are generally not characterized as “friendly” to PB users because, quite simply, they are not safe.

With this in mind, a literature search on causative factors in PB safety was conducted, paying equal attention to studies on reducing fatalities at the level of the intersection or roadway and to studies on the effect of larger-scale land use and infrastructure in fostering the growth of PBfriendly communities. The literature search consisted of a web-based search for articles using keyword combinations expected to produce relevant results (e.g. “pedestrian” AND “fatalities” in an Internet search engine). In all, 36 articles were identified that addressed the issue of PB safety. Much more material is available on the topic of PB safety, however due to space and time constraints not all of it was considered for this study. Particularly, the literatures on the effectiveness of helmet-use, and of technological improvements to automobile bodies, in reducing injury severity were not considered for this study (e.g. Thompson & Rivara 2001; Crandall, Bhalla & Madeley 2002). The reason for this is that these approaches are merely palliative: they do not provide any guidance as to how to reduce the risk of collisions between pedestrians or bicycles and motorized traffic in the first place1. From the 36 articles identified that address curative approaches to PB safety, three broad categories of approaches were identified:  Education  Technology (including enforcement)  Reorientation The first two, Education and Technology, concern the modification of the behavior of either pedestrians and bicyclists or automobile drivers, or both. Education, in turn, can be divided

On a side note, a study comparing safety practices in Boston, Paris and Amsterdam found that low rates of helmet use do not necessarily lead to higher fatalities (Osberg & Stiles 1998). Similarly, a study in Australia determined that PB safety is higher when pedestrians and bicyclists are abundant (i.e. safety in number) and suggested that helmet laws may actually increase the safety risk for bicyclists by discouraging bicycle use (Robinson 2005).

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into two sub-approaches: education for pedestrians and bicyclists and education for automobile drivers. Much of the research reviewed concludes that enforcement of traffic regulations (e.g. speed limits, crossing at crosswalks, road-sharing with bicycles) is another, separate approach to PB safety. However, in this study enforcement is classified in the Technology category based on the understanding that technological improvements at intersections and on roadways are mainly enforcement mechanisms. While the Education and Technology/Enforcement categories both aim to modify behavior, they differ in the manner in which they effect behavior modification: the former effects safety through deliberative behavior (e.g. knowledge of the rights of bicyclists to share the roadway) while the latter relies on reactive behavior (i.e. placing structural impediments in the roadway to decrease speed, or reducing red-light running through the placement of cameras at intersections). Some of the literature puts forth “holistic” solutions that are a combination of the Education and Technology/Enforcement approaches (e.g. van Vuuren 2004). The third approach to PB safety identified in the literature is termed here Reorientation. While not eschewing the Education and Technology approaches, the Reorientation approach nonetheless sees these as only a part of the solution. As the name suggests, the Reorientation approach takes the current world-view of the transportation planning profession, and the autocentric infrastructure that it has helped to produce, as the overarching problem in PB safety. The Education and Technology approaches differ from Reorientation mainly in that they propose solutions aimed at accommodating pedestrians and bicyclists within the existing auto-centric framework, rather than reorienting transportation planning priorities so as to better accommodate all modes of transportation. The practicality of Education and Technology is the primary reason

these two approaches are used by transportation planning officials, while sustainability, social equity and health benefits constitute the allure of the Reorientation approach. EDUCATION Education approaches to PB safety can be divided into two types: those directed towards PB users and those directed towards automobile drivers. An example of PB-oriented education is Florida Bicycling Street Smarts (2003), a pamphlet prepared by the Florida Bicycle Association. It provides excerpts from the Florida Uniform Traffic Control Law relevant to bicycle use and verbally and graphically describes safety precautions and rules, much as a driver’s manual does for automobile users. Driver-oriented PB education can take the form of television or radio public service announcements, billboards, published material or activism. A unique example of an activist approach to educating the driving public about bicycling is Critical Mass (Blickstein & Hanson 2001). What started as a “monthly rush hour bike ride through [San Francisco] to increase the visibility of bicycling” has become a global pattern of protest, an “urban sustainability movement”, that has as its purpose a shift in the public consciousness about what transportation is. In this regard, Critical Mass brings the Education approach to PB safety into the realm of Reorientation. The problem of driver’s education in PB safety is apparently one felt around the world. Downing (1991) describes “road user behavior” in developing countries as “less disciplined” than that in developed countries and believes this is one factor contributing to high pedestrian fatality rates in developing countries. Drivers in Washington D.C. neighborhoods who were unfamiliar with PB conditions in the city were involved in 55% of bicycle collisions, suggesting that driver's education should target regional populations rather than just local ones (Goodno 2004). Driver education about PB safety is as much about learning the rules of the road as it is about understanding the place of bicycles and pedestrians in the urban environment. Pucher &

Dijkstra (2000) call for a change in attitude among Americans effected through driver-oriented education. Drawing on the experience of the Netherlands and Germany, they suggest that "instead of being viewed as punitive measures aimed against motorists, [safety-enhancing policies] should be presented as new opportunities for all segments of the population". In Kuwait, Koushki & Ali (2003) found attitudes similar to those of Americans regarding pedestrians. A "lack of identity" regarding who pedestrians are and a "lack of recognition of pedestrian travel characteristics" exacerbates the problem of poor PB safety in that country. Driver-oriented education has also been advocated for a small subset of the driving population: political decision-makers. Sisiopiku & Papaioannou (2000) consider this to be a key component of any successful PB campaign. A good part of the literature on the Education approach concerns itself with PB-oriented, as opposed to driver-oriented, education. One of the factors most often cited as a cause of pedestrian fatalities is alcohol consumption and the presence of liquor establishments on highfatality roads (CDC 1999; LaScala, Johnson & Gruenewald 2001; Noland & Quddus 2004; Spainhour, Wootton, Sobanjo & Brady 2006; van Vuuren 2001). Other factors that have been recommended as the subject of PB-oriented education include jaywalking and not crossing at the intersection (Lau, Seow & Lim 1998; Downing 1991), exiting a vehicle in the roadway (CDC 1999), “bad habits and/or negative attitudes” of pedestrians (van Vuuren 2001), and the need to tailor safety messages to specific demographic groups (Reed & Sen 2005; Goodno 2004; Cahill, Thill & Delmelle 2007; Ziari & Khabiri 2005). TECHNOLOGY A California study found that high incidence of pedestrian injuries is “related to aspects of community structure that are not easy or even necessarily desirable to change”, such as dense,

urban neighborhoods with a predominance of young or older people (LaScala, Johnson & Gruenewald 2001). Consequently, technological improvements such as pedestrian walkways and reduced speed zones might serve these areas’ needs better than just targeted education would. Another reason for approaching PB safety from the Technology viewpoint is that the PB populations most vulnerable to injury and fatality, and hence the target of PB safety educational campaigns, possess a high degree of safety consciousness and believe that their own behavior as pedestrians and bicyclists conforms to the rules (Reed & Sen 2005). Thus, there is a mismatch between those pedestrians and bicyclists who are at a higher risk and those who believe they act safety and follow the proper rules of PB safety. This suggests that Education approaches to reducing risk in these populations are examples of ‘preaching to the choir’; it also suggests that PB behavior is not a major contributor to PB collisions with motorized traffic where a person belonging to one of these high-risk populations is involved. It is possible that the underlying cause of collisions is the intersection of two modes of transportation that are mutually hostile and perceived as indifferent to each other rights and needs. The Technology approach to PB safety shifts the mechanism from a deliberative one (conscious decisions about the rights of road users and rules to follow) to a reactive one (reacting to technological improvements of the roadway or intersection, where the reaction is designed to be safe) so as to bypass the hostility and mutual disregard that often substitutes for deliberation in PB-automobile encounters. Much of the literature on PB safety emphasizes the importance of education in conjunction with technological improvements and enforcement of traffic regulations. For example, van Vuuren (2004) refers to this combination alliteratively as Education, Engineering and Enforcement. A study done by the Centers for Disease Control in metropolitan Atlanta proposed a similar cocktail of solutions. The engineering component would

provide for separation of pedestrians from motorized traffic, traffic-calming, and improved street lighting, while the enforcement component would focus on curbing both driver’s behavior (speeding, red-light running, yielding to pedestrians) and jaywalking by pedestrians (CDC 1999). The notion that PB and motorized traffic should be kept separate to provide for maximum safety is a relatively popular one, although impractical. The need for networks of different modes inevitably means a need for intersections where the different modes meet. Many attempts to circumvent this have proven unsuccessful. For example, following World War II the City of London began constructing high-level pedestrian walkways in the Central Business District (Hebbert 1993). This type of vertical segregation of pedestrians from roadways was ultimately abandoned as a large-scale project, although parts of the walkway are apparently still in use in the city. Unlike the London experiment, the closing off of streets to traffic so as to form pedestrian malls has proven quite popular in many cities (e.g. Denver). The view that PB users should be separated from automobiles remains a popular one (Koushki & Ali 2003). Countering this viewpoint are studies that show integration of transportation modes leads to increased PB safety. Thus, road sharing (dedicated bicycle lanes in the roadway) counterintuitively leads to safer traffic flows. Again, noting that intersections are the “major points of conflict between bicycles and motor vehicles”, Wachtel & Lewiston (1994) conclude that when separated modes of transportation converge at an intersection they seem to come from out of nowhere into each other’s right-of-way, an occurrence they term “blind conflicts”. One innovative concept in that promotes safety through integration to a degree unthinkable to most people. In the Netherlands, the “woonerf” (Dutch for “residential yard”) concept was developed as a traffic calming measure for residential neighborhoods. Ben-Joseph describes the “woonerf” as “a physical design…that integrated sidewalks and roadways into one shared surface, creating

the impression of a ‘yard’…enhanced by trees, benches, and small front gardens”. He concept has since caught on in other countries (Japan, Australia, Israel) and has been proven successful at reducing pedestrian-automobile accidents. Whether they value separation or integration of modes, many studies stress the importance of applying the Technology approach to intersections. Advance pavement markings and yield signs were found to be associated with higher levels of PB safety at intersections in a Canadian study (Huybers, Van Houten & Malenfant 2004). In California, one study determined that traffic control devices to regulate yielding to pedestrians were needed in areas around schools (Boarnet, Day, Anderson, McMillan & Alfonzo 2005). Rural areas have also been found to benefit from technological improvements like walkways, crosswalks and advance warning signs to drivers (Hall, Kondreddi & Brogan 2004). Variations in infrastructure along road lengths have also been found determinative in collision location. Cahill, Thill & Delmelle (2007), in a study of bicycle crashes in Buffalo, New York, concluded that “road infrastructure plays the most important role in determining the physical location of bicycle accidents”. Echoing earlier studies about the need for integration, Sisiopiku & Papaioannou (2000) believe that the provisioning of “facilities that serve the needs of mixed traffic” are necessary to effect PB safety, as is “enforcement of regulations on sharing the road”. Many other studies concur in the need for better enforcement of traffic regulations, like speed limits (Noland & Quddus 2004), illegal crossing of freeways and highways (van Vuuren 2001), and red-light running (Goodno 2004). A more exhaustive search of the literature would likely turn up many more studies on the effects of a Technology approach on PB safety worldwide. This search identified Technology approach applications in places as far flung as Croatia (Missoni & Kern 2003) and Iran (Ziari & Khabiri 2005).

REORIENTATION The Reorientation approach to PB safety is deeply concerned with ensuring the equitable allocation of transportation resources to all members of society, particularly low-income persons. It comes as no surprise then that developing countries like India, where walking and bicycling as alternative modes of transportation have a majority modal share (Mohan 2002a), have found applications of the Reorientation approach useful as a part of their transportation planning goals. Mohan (2002b) states that “a sustainable transport system must provide mobility and accessibility to all urban residents in a safe and environment [sic] friendly mode of transport”. Mohan & Tiwari (1999) explain the high percentage of PB traffic in developing countries as resulting from “a large proportion of the population [that] cannot afford to use motorized transport”. For some, even bicycles are expensive investments beyond their economic reach. To ensure that the transportation needs of all users are able to be met in countries like India, priority must be given to the common denominator of all transportation use: walking (all users are pedestrians at some point in their travels, however not all pedestrians use bicycles, public transit or private transit). Once the needs of pedestrians have been met, the needs of bicyclists and public transit users should then be formulated. Tiwari (2001) explicitly endorses this order of priority (pedestrians, bicyclists, public transit) as the key to a sustainable transportation system. Curiously, he neglects to address the needs of automobile drivers, although one would assume these would be given the lowest priority in such a scheme. The physical re-designing of transportation infrastructure is central to the Reorientation approach to PB safety. Hence, technological improvements such as “woonerfs” and dedicated

bicycle lanes would have a large role to play. The physical layout of communities is widely assumed to be a determining factor in choice of transportation mode. For example, suburban neighborhoods have been criticized as early as the 1950’s (Riesman 1958) for isolation they imposed on residents who must travel long distances by car to run errands, or commute to work or school. Recent studies on the effect of neighborhood layout on PB modal share have offered mixed results. Cao, Mokhtarian & Handy (2007) showed that neighborhood design that “put residents closer to destinations” might actually lead to more walking and less driving, while suburbs of the “sprawl” variety tend to lead to the reverse. Kitamura, Mokhtarian & Laidet (1997) found that while neighborhood design positively affects transport choice, however, significant shifts in transportation modal share might not occur unless residents’ “attitudes” regarding the desirability of walking and bicycling as valid modes of transportation also change. Other problems in the application of a Reorientation approach to PB safety have also been identified in the literature. Ishaque & Noland (2006) researched the history of PB safety measures in Britain and determined several consequences of this history for current transportation planning efforts in PB safety, the most important of which are the long history of prioritizing automobile traffic of over PB traffic and, as a contributing factor to that, the difficulty resulting from the public’s “emotional debates over the competing goals of pedestrian mobility and safety versus maintaining traffic flow”. Additionally, existing infrastructure, as a legacy of then history of transportation planning, poses a significant obstacle to a Reorientation of planning priorities. Piecemeal attempts to redesign the urban environment, while in the spirit of Reorientation, are not always effective. Cervero & Gorham (1995) concluded a study in California with the cautionary note that “islands of neotraditional development in a sea of

freeway-oriented suburbs will do little to change fundamental commuting habits”. And a little closer to home, Miles-Doan & Thompson (1999), in their study of pedestrian fatalities in Orlando, cautioned about an “institutional blindspot” in planning for the safety of pedestrians on arterial roads. They call for a revision of highway design manuals to recognize that "right-of-way space used by arterial roads is subject to competing demands". Because most of the problems identified in the literature on Reorientation are primarily ones of public perception and acceptance of PB issues as legitimate transportation issues, it is reasonable to assume that the continued analysis and promoting of the Reorientation approach, along with a coordinated application of Education approaches about PB issues in general, will be able to overcome these problems.

ANALYSIS
Planning for walking and bicycling as modes of transportation encompasses a variety of disparate activities, policies and viewpoints. Education ranges from specific messages about local ordinances to large-scale campaigns promoting PB as an alternate mode of transportation. Similarly, technological solutions are applied at many different levels, from the individual intersection or roadway to neighborhoods and metropolitan regions. As a result, many applications of the Education and Technology approaches may actually effectuate change more like desired in the Reorientation approach, while Reorientation inevitably requires the application of Education and Technology approaches. The approaches as defined in this paper are not exclusive by any means. That being said, the Education and Technology approaches in general are less effective as achieving meaningful, long-term change in the issue of PB safety. A bias towards automobiles in most of the Education and Technology segment of PB safety literature is evident in the explanations and solutions it puts forth. For example, Spainhour

et al. (2006) state that “the most significant causes of pedestrian crashes are pedestrian behavior”, in spite of evidence for the widespread disregard of pedestrians by motorists and the inherent safety risk in the convergence of pedestrians, bicycles and automobiles at intersections. Lau, Seow & Lim (1998) recommend reminding pedestrians “of the rudiments of crossing the road…like look right, then left, then right again” and that “special care must be taken by the elderly”. Many of the recommendations from the Education and Technology approaches have a similar hollow ring. In fact, with regard to the recommendation for the elderly, evidence shows that elderly pedestrians are already very safety conscious, however being mindful of the rules does not apparently decrease their risk for fatal injury as pedestrians (Reed & Sen 2005). In the attempt to evaluate the relative effectiveness of the various solutions to PB safety, it may prove useful to apply a second layer of analysis beyond the Education-TechnologyReorientation conceptualization. Vuchic (1999) provides just such a framework. In Transportation for Livable Cities, he analyzes the current state of transportation planning and devises a tiered classification system based on the scopes and objectives of transportation management plans:  Level IV: Individual facilities  Level III: Single mode network or system  Level II: Multi-modal coordinated system  Level I: City-transport relationship At Level IV, decisions regarding single transportation facilities (a road, an intersection, a bus route) are made with little regard for their relationship to other facilities, networks, the transportation system as a whole, or the other needs of the transportation user. Level III planning takes the different modes of transportation and plans for them independently of one another.

Hence, the public transportation planners do not coordinate with road and highway planners to the degree necessary to achieve a multi-modal transportation system. Level II, by contrast, does try to coordinate transportation planning across modes and throughout an entire geographic region. Level I perfects the multi-modal system of Level II by integrating transportation planning into all of a city’s other needs and services, like housing. As such, Level I is the “highest level of…operational integration” in transportation planning. Vuchic’s Four Levels of Transportation Planning not only provide another way to conceptualize the multitude of PB safety strategies discussed in the literature, they also provide a way to evaluate the desirability of the Reorientation approach versus the Education and Technology approaches. While there is not a direct correlation between Vuchic’s Levels and this study’s tripartite conceptualization of PB safety approaches, on the whole, the Education and Technology approaches cluster within Levels IV and III. Technological improvements to intersections and roadways are Level IV and Level III strategies, respectively. Both driveroriented and PB-oriented Education approaches can have consequences at Levels II and I, but if the education is primarily about traffic rules then the effect is limited in scope and objective and, thus, would probably fall under Level IV. The Reorientation approach to PB safety falls squarely within Levels II and I, the highest levels of transportation planning in terms of organization, as well as in terms of benefits to users of alternate modes of transportation and, arguably, all of a city’s population.

CONCLUSION
Planning for PB safety is necessarily a multifaceted and complicated undertaking. Addressing just one aspect of such a complex problem is an ineffective way of going about the task. Driver-oriented and PB-oriented educational campaigns are a significant part of the solution

to PB injury and fatalities on Florida’s roads, as mostly certainly are technological improvements like pedestrian markings and signs and red-light running cameras. These measures have been proven highly effective at reducing PB fatalities and should not be underestimated as a part of the solution to PB safety. However, to focus solely on education and technology within the existing policy framework of land use and development, and without attempting to address the infrastructural legacy of the 20th century’s love affair with the automobile, is to ignore the most important part of any comprehensive, long-term solution to PB safety. It is within the best interest of the citizens and elected officials of Florida to reexamine the current configuration of transportation priorities and to become cognizant of the complex interrelations between transportation choices and other quality-of-life issues. Everything from where to live, to how much time to spend with one’s family, to how much disposable income one wants are affected by the transportation choices made by people everyday. Education and technological improvements are merely band-aids on a boxer: they cover up the problem but do not address the behavior that caused the problem in the first place. To improve the safety, efficiency and performance of our transportation choices, and the quality of life we experience as a result of these choices, we must step up to a higher level of analysis, both in policy formulation and in personal choices, to effect change in those behaviors that are at the root of the problem. Only through such a holistic, multi-pronged and integrated approach to transportation planning can the issue of pedestrian and bicycle safety be adequately addressed.

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