Crash Analysis
Program of Improvements

Some pedestrian crashes are associated with deficient roadway designs. Pedestrians and motorists often contribute to pedestrian crashes through a disregard or lack of understanding of laws and safe driving or walking behavior.6 Because most crashes are a result of human error, crashes will not be completely eliminated as long as pedestrians and vehicles share the same space. Yet, the consequences of these crashes are exacerbated by speeding, failing to yield, or failing to check both directions for traffic, so new education, enforcement, and engineering tools are needed to manage the conflict between pedestrians and drivers.

A complete program of pedestrian safety improvements includes:6,7

  • • Provision of pedestrian facilities, such as sidewalks and crosswalks.
  • • Roadway and engineering measures, such as traffic control devices, lighting, and roadway design strategies implemented on streets and highways for both pedestrian and vehicular movements.
  • • Programs to enforce existing traffic laws and ordinances for motorists (e.g., obeying speed limits, yielding to pedestrians when turning, traffic signal compliance, obeying drunk-driving laws) and pedestrians (e.g., crossing the street at legal crossings, obeying traffic and pedestrian signals).
  • • Wearing of reflective clothing and materials by pedestrians, and/or using a flashlight when walking at night.
  • • Education programs provided to motorists and pedestrians.

Roadway improvements can often reduce the likelihood of a pedestrian crash. Physical improvements are most effective when tailored to an individual location and traffic problem. Factors to consider when choosing an improvement include: location characteristics, pedestrian and vehicle volume and types, vehicle speed, design of a given location, city laws and ordinances, and financial constraints.6,8 Many of these factors are included for consideration in the PEDSAFE Selection Tool.

It is important to remember that overuse or unjustified use of any traffic control measure is not recommended, since this may breed disrespect for such devices.9 Although facilities for pedestrians can, in many cases, reduce the risk of pedestrian collisions, crash reduction is not the only reason for providing such facilities. Other benefits of pedestrian facilities include improved access to destinations by walking, better air quality due to less dependence on driving, and improved personal health. Traffic and transportation engineers have the responsibility for providing facilities for all modes of travel, including walking.6


U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration

Crash Analysis