In 2015, 5,376 pedestrians were killed and an estimated 70,000 were injured in traffic crashes in the United States. The vast majority of the fatalities occurred in urban areas, and most of those were at non-intersection locations. In order to develop pedestrian safety countermeasures, accurate methods for counting pedestrians are needed to quantify exposure, and, in turn, evaluate the benefits of the pedestrian countermeasures. However, pedestrian counts are rare and often only collected on a project basis. The majority of pedestrian counts are conducted manually over a short duration (2 hours are most common), and while automated pedestrian counters are emerging, they lag automated bicycle counters. In addition, pedestrians move in many directions and often do not follow dedicated routes, thus making it difficult for automated counters to count them accurately. Furthermore, pedestrians moving in groups make it difficult for counters to capture accurate data.
In January 2015, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx challenged community leaders to raise the bar for bicyclist and pedestrian safety by joining the Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People and Safer Streets effort. More than 230 cities have joined the Mayors’ Challenge to improve conditions of walking and biking. Roadway designs and redesigning signal phasing that address the safety of all road users (including pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers) are being implemented in many cities around the country. These roadway designs often include road diets with corner bulb-outs and/or sidewalk extension, addition of bike lanes, crosswalk widening, and addition of corner or median refuge areas. All these activities highlight the need to develop Highway Capacity Manual (HCM) pedestrian methodologies, currently missing in this widely used manual, for safe and sustainable communities.
The objectives of this research are to: (1) develop guidance for jurisdictions on (a) pedestrian counting techniques, technologies, and exposure estimation for safety analyses, including how to select the appropriate time and location for data collection; (b) factors that impact pedestrian travel patterns; and (c) evaluating the latest automated technologies, including social media, for conducting pedestrian counts; (2) determine field-observed factors affecting pedestrian flow at facility levels (sidewalks, corners, and crosswalks) and integrate those factors into the HCM pedestrian analysis methodologies; and (3) determine how safety improvements on the roadway and signal timing designs (e.g., sidewalk extensions, corner bulb-outs, implementing Leading Pedestrian Phase-LPIs) should be correctly reflected in the HCM pedestrian LOS analysis results.
Note: This project statement reflects the AASHTO Standing Committee on Research’s direction that problems 2018-C-08 and 2018-G-02 be combined into one project.