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The National Academies

NCHRP Synthesis 20-05/Topic 49-08 [New]

Pedestrian Injuries and Fatalities Relative to Traffic Speed
[ NCHRP 20-05 (Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $45,000
Staff Responsibility: Jo Allen Gause
Fiscal Year: 2017

Tentative Scope

In 2013, more than 4,700 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the United States. Additionally, more than 150,000 pedestrians were treated in emergency departments for non-fatal crash-related injuries. Historically, state and local safety programs have approached speed and other pedestrian crash issues from the perspective of education, enforcement and engineering (The 3Es). Aside from human error, there is general agreement that engineering design changes offer the greatest promise for minimizing collisions and injury/fatalities, but little data exists to describe the potential safety benefits of lowering speeds. Very little information currently exists for policymakers and engineers in readily usable form to make informed speed policy decisions.

The objective of this synthesis is to document information on pedestrian crashes relative to traffic speed in urban core areas. The report will gather information on reported impact speeds for pedestrian collisions. The synthesis will also document key pedestrian safety policies that have been implemented in support of Vision Zero, a strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safe, healthy, and equitable mobility. First implemented in Sweden in the 1990s, Vision Zero is gaining momentum in major American cities. As many pedestrian collisions occur in urban core areas, the synthesis will focus on urban areas where the benefits of pedestrian safety strategies appear greatest. The synthesis might also explore the creation of pedestrian precinct criteria such as school zone definitions.

The synthesis will gather information on stopping sight distances and how they impact the risk of collisions, both from pure distance perspective and added evasion time perspective. For example, perception and reaction times for motorists are similar for all speeds but the braking distance varies. Most impact speed is lost in the last few feet of braking.

Information will be gathered by literature review, survey, and follow-up interviews for case examples.

Information Sources (Partial):

Impact Speed and a Pedestrian's Risks of Severe Injury or Death, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 2011.



TRB Staff
Jo Allen Gause
Phone: 202-334-3826
Email: jagause@nas.edu

Meeting Dates
First Panel:  October 17, 2017, Washington, DC
Teleconference with Consultant:
Second Panel:

Topic Panel
Patrick D. Adams, Maine DOT - Multimodal Planning Division
Rachel Carpenter, California DOT
DeWayne Carver, Florida DOT
Ronald K. Faller, University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Robert E. Hull, Cambridge Systematics, Inc.
Jonathan M. McCormick, Illinois Department of Transportation
Tamara Redmon, Federal Highway Administration
Guan Xu, Federal Highway Administration
Bernardo Kleiner, Transportation Research Board


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