The National Academies

NCHRP 17-84 [Active]

Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Performance Functions for the Highway Safety Manual

  Project Data
Funds: $500,000
Staff Responsibility: William C. Rogers
Research Agency: MRI Global
Principal Investigator: Darren Torbic
Effective Date: 3/27/2017
Completion Date: 2/28/2020
Comments: Research underway

While overall traffic fatalities are decreasing, the percentages of those fatalities among walking and cycling are increasing. For 2015, NHTSA estimates that compared with 2014, pedestrian fatalities increased by 10% and bicycle fatalities increased by 13%, and the two categories now account for more than 16% of all traffic fatalities. Most crash data sets have insufficient data for pedestrian and bicycle safety analysis at all severity levels. The lack of quality crash data (frequency, severity, injury patterns, contributing factors, crash types) and exposure data (volume, severity, and event data) for different contexts, precludes the development of safety performance functions (SPFs) for pedestrians and bicycles, as well as rigorous safety analysis to inform and use tools such as PEDSAFE and BIKESAFE, the Interactive Highway Safety Design Model (IHSDM), and AASHTO’s Highway Safety Manual and its online tools. The ability to estimate crashes for pedestrians and bicycles would inform national safety improvements and countermeasures selections. Research is needed beyond traditional data collection to provide practitioners with reliable pedestrian and bicycles crash estimates that can be used throughout the planning and project development process, and to measure performance.

The objective of this research is to develop pedestrian and bicycle safety performance functions (SPFs) using risk-based or predictive methods, for transportation practitioners at all levels to better inform planning, design, and operations decisions. The results of the research will be used to update the Highway Safety Manual (HSM) and associated tools. The research to inform pedestrian and bicycle performance-based decisions can be independent from each other, but should recognize the intermodal relationships. The research should address a broad range of issues related to evaluating pedestrian and bicycle safety such as, but not limited to, the following:
Analyzing the barriers to collecting pedestrian and bicycle safety performance data and developing performance-based decisions in the United States (e.g., legal, privacy restrictions, liability, data ownership, missing data, data incompatibility);
  • Documenting and systematically evaluating domestic and international best practices that overcome barriers for collecting pedestrian and bicycle safety data, including traditional, non-traditional, and surrogate data sources at system-wide and local levels;
  • Documenting the processes used to access and link various pedestrian and bicycle data sources;
  • Testing and evaluating the application of the identified best practices and linkage processes in a pilot study within a U.S. community;
  • Identifying the data collection and analytical methods for use in the development of pedestrian and bicycle safety performance functions;
  • Developing and validating pedestrian and bicycle SPFs;
  • Developing a suite of data-driven tools (e.g., spreadsheets, software, checklists) based on the research results to incorporate into the HSM.
A kick-off teleconference of the research team and NCHRP shall be scheduled within 1 month of the contract’s execution. The work plan must be divided into two phases with tasks, with each task described in detail. Phase 1 will consist of information gathering tasks as described in the objective, culminating in the submission of an interim report. The interim report will describe and summarize the findings from the work completed in the Phase 1 tasks and provide an updated work plan for the Phase 2 tasks.  The updated Phase 2 work plan should address the manner in which the proposer intends to use the information developed in Phase 1 to satisfy the project objective. There must be a face-to-face meeting with NCHRP to discuss the interim report. No work shall be performed on Phase 2 without NCHRP approval. The final deliverables will include (1) bicycle and pedestrian SPFs, using risk-based or predictive methods, for transportation practitioners at all levels to better inform planning, design, and operations decisions, and recommended text for updating the HSM and associated tools; (2) a final report documenting the entire project, incorporating all other specified deliverables of the research, and the data that was gathered; (3) an electronic presentation on the research results that can be tailored for specific audiences; (4) recommendations on needs and priorities for additional research; and (5) a stand-alone technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products”
STATUS: Research underway.

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