Focus Cities and States

Focus cities and states eligible to apply for new pedestrian safety grants.

Fifteen states with the worst percentage of pedestrian casualties have until August 30 to apply for a total of $2 million in pedestrian safety grants from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced yesterday.

In a statement, he said that along with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the NHTSA is launching a “one-stop” website which provides safety tips and resources for local leaders and city planners for improving pedestrian safety, including information for parents on how to teach children about safe walking. The grants can be used for education and enforcement initiatives in 22 focus cities selected based on the number of pedestrian fatalities or the pedestrian fatality rate per population.

FHWA Safety writes:

Cities were identified as pedestrian focus cities if they had more than 20 average annual pedestrian fatalities or a pedestrian fatality rate greater than 2.33 per 100,000 population (the annual national average number of pedestrian fatalities is 20 and the average national rate of pedestrian fatalities is 2.33 per 100,00 population). States with a focus city were automatically identified as focus states.

Focus states include: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Pensylvania, and Texas. Focus cities include: Los Angeles, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Tulsa, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit, Louisville, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Washington, D.C., Newark, Philadelphia, and New York.

On a page called “Everyone is a Pedestrian,” NHTSA writes that pedestrians were one of the few groups of road users to experience an increase in fatalities in the U.S. in 2011, with a total of 4,432 deaths, an 8% increase since 2009. “On average, a pedestrian was killed every two hours and injured every eight minutes in traffic crashes,” according to the NHTSA. (“Traffic Safety Facts: Pedestrians,” August 2013.)

Since 2009, FHWA has provided more than $3.8 billion for more than 11,000 projects making roads safer for pedestrians and bicyclists, the press release says, to improve walking routes and infrastructure. For example, they provide an online toolbox called PEDSAFE that communities can use to improve pedestrian safety.

Colorado does not have any focus cities, nor is it a focus state. On the official Colorado state site, the Colorado State Patrol reports that on roads the Patrol enforces, in 2008 there were four fatalities and 19 injuries due to pedestrian violations. The relatively low number of pedestrian accidents in Colorado might be due to safety initiatives highlighted by PEDSAFE, namely four case studies of pedestrian safety projects in Colorado. They include improvements to the 55th Street Corridor in Boulder, Red Light Camera Enforcement in Boulder, Solutions from Citizen Input in Grand Junction, and “Woonerf-Style” (living street) Developments in Boulder.

Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez said:

We’re working to create safer environments for everyone, whether it’s getting proven safety measures onto roads and at intersections or sharing online resources with schools, teachers, and parents that teach kids pedestrian safety.

In a related news item, published a DOT infographic showing that medians, speed bumps, and other “traffic-calming” efforts can reduce auto accidents that injure pedestrians by up to 15%. The infographic also shows that among people who live in neighborhoods with sidewalks on most streets, 47% are more likely to be physically active for at least 30 minutes a day, which lowers heath care costs.

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