Charles Cochran, a Project Manager on the Traffic [...]
By: Jim Meads, P.E.
In its fourth round of Every Day Counts (EDC-4), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is promoting pedestrian safety initiatives under a program called Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP). Pedestrians are most at risk for injury or death when crossing motor vehicle traffic at mid-block locations or un-signalized intersections.
The STEP program focuses on cost-effective countermeasures that produce documented safety benefits at uncontrolled locations. STEP provides education to engineers and transportation providers on pedestrian safety countermeasures and encourages countermeasure implementation in order to drive down the rate of pedestrian injuries and fatalities.
I was excited to attend the EDC-4 Regional Summit in Orlando, FL in December 2016 when the STEP program was rolled out. I believe improving our pedestrian transportation facilities is a high priority to provide transportation equity for all citizens. I’m a member of Alabama’s State Transportation Innovation Council (STIC), a work-group tasked with considering how our state will respond to and promote the EDC innovations.
There are five safety innovations being promoted through STEP:
- Road Diets
- Pedestrian hybrid beacons (also called HAWK signal)
- Pedestrian refuge islands
- Raised crosswalks
- Crosswalk visibility enhancements
FHWA has published a Guide for Improving Pedestrian Safety at Uncontrolled Locations that provides helpful information on how to conduct a pedestrian safety audit and apply safety countermeasures in a cost effective manner. We are seeing increased use of the STEP safety countermeasures throughout Alabama and are sure to see more in the future as communities press for better pedestrian accommodations.