Social Equity in Pedestrian Collision Trends, Reporting and Decision Making
spite of relatively stable nationwide walking rates, pedestrian traffic deaths
have been on the rise over the past ten years. In particular, Black, American
Indian, or Alaskan Native people and people walking in low-income communities
have been shown to be disproportionately killed in traffic collisions (1). An
emerging body of research has identified a racial bias in motorist yielding
behavior, with drivers shown to be less likely to yield to Black pedestrians
than to white pedestrians (2, 3). Driver behavior and potential biases, as well
as land use and transportation infrastructure, have exacerbated the disparity
in outcomes from a social equity perspective.
a deeper understanding of the causes of and solutions to the disproportionate
burden on historically marginalized groups requires a multi-sectoral and
multi-step approach. The first step (the
what) involves quantifying the safety impacts of prescribed engineering
solutions, the next step (the how) involves analyzing programmatic
interventions that could reduce pedestrian deaths, and the last step is putting
the knowledge into action in a context sensitive way (when and where).
would present recommendations for incorporation of systemic risk and social
equity in the current pedestrian crash reporting processes. The proposed
research would build on the identified disparate collision and injury/death
outcomes, and on work that has identified racial bias in motorist yielding
behavior. The proposed research would additionally build on the research
conducted and tool provided from NCHRP Report 893.
research would develop practice-ready tools to incorporate systemic risk
assessment and social equity in pedestrian safety project prioritization.
execution of this research project will include at least:
practice. A review of approaches taken at the city, county, and state level to
assess and prioritize pedestrian safety needs for improvement projects,
particularly with respect to a systemic approach and with respect to promoting
social equity. The synthesis will involve:
- Identifying engineering solutions. There are engineering solutions
available for unsuitable infrastructure (including separation from vehicle
traffic) and for vegetation maintenance needs.
- Programmatic interventions that could reduce pedestrian deaths.
systemic assessment tool. Develop framework and tool for proactively
prioritizing pedestrian safety projects with respect to systemic transportation
safety risk and social equity. The research and tools will help planners,
engineers, advocates, and policy makers to better understand the equity impacts
of infrastructural and non-infrastructural investments, especially in
underserved communities across the U.S. It will provide insights on ways to
weigh and prioritize different risk factors that impact pedestrian safety. The
tool that builds on the systemic and equity-focused framework would be practice
ready and would be a resource for jurisdictions and agencies that do not
currently plan and prioritize in this way.
studies and syntheses in the past decade have helped with the first step in the
process, quantifying expected safety improvement (i.e., crash reduction
factors, or CRFs) associated with engineering treatments for pedestrians (4).
While CRFs for some treatments are more robustly developed than others, this
foundation has generally equipped practitioners with an understanding of the
relative appropriateness and effectiveness of implementing specific safety
least studied part of the process is addressing the when and where. A socially
equitable method of identifying locations and timing for safety treatments is
dependent on a prioritization framework that explicitly tries to reverse
disparity in outcomes for historically marginalized populations. Given the
disparate outcomes with respect to pedestrian safety, social equity might be
inherently included in an examination of collision history but is best included
explicitly. Many cities, including Oakland, California, have become explicit
about incorporating social equity goals in project prioritization (5).
crash history (both intensity and volume) plays a significant role in
identifying priority locations for safety treatments. But basing safety
decisions solely on collision history is reactive. Practitioners can instead identify
systemic characteristics among high-collision locations (risk factors) and use
these factors to identify high-risk locations without demonstrated collision
to incorporate a systemic, risk-based approach to safety prioritization with a
focus on promoting socially equitable outcomes would bring jurisdictions along
in a twofold industry evolution: away from chasing hot spots to proactively
promoting pedestrian safety, and with a
renewed focus on equity. Such a tool would help to ensure traditionally
underserved communities, who are disproportionately involved in collisions,
benefit from safety investments. This tool could build off of the foundation
provided by both NCHRP Report 893 - Systemic Pedestrian Safety Analysis and
NCHRP Report 803 – Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation Along Existing Roads –
ActiveTrans Priority Tool Guidebook (7, 8).
A key outcome of this research would be a framework and tool for
proactively identifying priority pedestrian safety projects (rather than a
reactive hot spot approach) and for incorporating social equity into that
prioritization. This tool would enable practitioners to prioritize pedestrian
safety projects without waiting for collisions to occur, and help to ensure
socially equitable outcomes. This research would influence the way that jurisdictions
and agencies assess existing pedestrian safety conditions and prioritize safety
projects to promote safety and social equity.
|Sponsoring Committee:||ACH20, Bicycle Transportation
|Research Period:||12 - 24 months|
|RNS Developer:||Torsha Bhattacharya, Mike Alston|
|Source Info:||1. “Dangerous by Design.” Smart Growth America, 2019. https://smartgrowthamerica.org/dangerous-by-design/. Accessed April 2, 2019.|
2. Kahn, Kimberly. “Racial Bias in Drivers’ Yielding Behavior at Crosswalks: Understanding the Effect.” TREC, 2017-869. https://nitc.trec.pdx.edu/research/project/869
3. Goddard, Tara; Kimberly Kahn, Arlie Adkins. “Racial bias in driver yielding behavior at crosswalks.” Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, Volume 33, 2015. 1-6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trf.2015.06.002
4. NCHRP Synthesis 498 - Application of Pedestrian Crossing Treatments for Streets and Highways (2016)
5. Street Story, Berkeley SafeTREC. https://safetrec.berkeley.edu/tools/street-story-platform-community-engagement. Accessed April 2, 2019.
6. Oakland Department of Transportation Strategic Plan. October 4, 2016. https://www.oaklandca.gov/documents/city-of-oakland-department-of-transportation-strategic-plan. Accessed April 2, 2019.
7. NCHRP Research Report 893: Systemic Pedestrian Safety Analysis.
8. NCHRP Research Report 803: Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation Along Existing Roads – ActiveTrans Priority Tool Guidebook
|Index Terms:||Equity (Justice), Pedestrian safety, Pedestrians, Traffic crashes, African Americans, Crash reports, Behavior, |
Pedestrians and Bicyclists