Advancing pedestrian safety at the state level
September 5, 2012 1 Comment
Last week a diverse group of Caltrans staff, law enforcement representatives, pedestrian advocates, and researchers – all members of the committee on pedestrian safety for Caltrans’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan – gathered at UC Berkeley for a brainstorming workshop about how to take the SHSP pedestrian safety effort to the next level.
The researchers, leaders of the team at UC Berkeley SafeTREC (Safe Transportation Research & Education Center), kicked off the workshop with a presentation on some of their impressive work analyzing collision data, mapping the data against geographic and demographic indicators, and creating valuable assessment tools such as their TIMS (Transportation Injury Mapping System) maps. SafeTREC created a Safe Routes to School TIMS map for each city and county in California showing the locations of all schools with indicators for the school income demographic and pedestrian and bike injuries and fatalities in the school vicinity. This is a powerful tool for evaluating areas of need for Safe Routes to School projects. SafeTREC has also created a benefit/cost calculator for infrastructure projects with safety interventions that is a requirement for applications for Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) projects.
At the workshop SafeTREC demonstrated an exciting new tool that has just gone live on the TIMS website that maps injuries by county from collisions associated with each of the SHSP safety target areas. The SHSP tool also pulls out annual trends and injury severity by SHSP target area.
Following the presentation by SafeTREC the discussion opened up to brainstorming new actions that the SHSP pedestrian safety team should work on in the future. We had a great discussion on what additional data was needed and exposure data – i.e. data on where people are walking – was identified as a key priority. Many terrific suggestions were also proposed for future work by the committee, including addressing high roadways speeds, safety on multi-lane roadways, and conflicts at highways off-ramps. It was inspiring to participate in the workshop and see good work to advance safety in communities across the state being done by Caltrans, other state agencies, and our partners in advocacy for Safe Routes to School.