Secretary Foxx announces new plan to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced a new DOT initiative to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety. This effort, dubbed Safer People, Safer Streets, will be rolled out over the next 18 months.

The initiative consists of new research and tools to improve bicyclist and pedestrian safety, generate better data, and foster the development of connected physical infrastructure. It also will focuses on building stronger partnerships between Federal, State, regional, and local planners, engineers, and advocates.

“For years, the message pedestrians and bicyclists have been given is, ‘You walk or bike at your own risk; be responsible for your own safety,’” Foxx wrote on his Fast Lane blog. “But that's not good enough. We can’t just tell pedestrians and bicyclists, ‘Be safe,’ without recognizing that in many places there is no safe space for them to be.”

Among the first projects to take place will be a series of walk and bike assessments performed in every State. Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration field offices will work with local officials to conduct the assessments. Pilot assessments already have taken place in Boston, Dallas/Ft. Worth and Lansing, MI.

The Secretary announced his plan in conjunction with the release of new resources to assist practitioners in making pedestrian and bicycle improvements, along with the news of other resources that are currently under development. For example:

A report on how cities and countries around the world develop and monitor comprehensive and safe pedestrian and bicycle networks is underway, with an expected project end date in early 2015. For the full list of anticipated resources, please visit www.dot.gov/sites/dot.gov/files/docs/safer_people_safer_streets_summary_doc_acc_v1-11-9.pdf. The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center will be coordinating with FHWA to announce the release of these new resources, host them on its website, and share information about them via its webinar series.


PBIC names 50th Walk Friendly Community

Walk Friendly Communities logo

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) named three new Walk Friendly Communities, bringing the total communities recognized to 50.

Bellevue, WA (silver); Portsmouth, VA (Bronze); and Sisters, OR (bronze) are the latest communities to earn Walk Friendly status. The Walk Friendly Communities program recognizes a city or town for its success in working to improve conditions related to walking, such as safety, mobility, access, and comfort. The program is supported by FedEx and the Federal Highway Administration.

 “Reaching 50 Walk Friendly Communities is a tremendous milestone” said Carl Sundstrom, WFC program manager. “We continue to see the program grow with communities finding new and exciting ways to improve conditions for walking, and we are looking forward to seeing many more communities attain Walk Friendly status in the years to come.”

Of the 50 Walk Friendly Communities across the nation, Seattle, WA, remains the only Platinum-level Walk Friendly Community.

The program will begin accepting applications for the ninth round on November 3, 2014, with the deadline for submission on December. 15, 2014. Interested communities should visit http://www.walkfriendly.org to learn more about the program and review the community assessment tool.


Livability Tools/Resources

Sustainable Community Indicator Catalog
The Sustainable Community Indicator Catalog helps communities identify indicators that can measure progress toward their sustainability objectives. The indicators in this catalog focus on the relationships among land use, housing, transportation, human health, and the environment. Use this website to identify the indicators that are most closely aligned with the issues of greatest concern to your community.
http://www.sustainablecommunities.gov/indicators

PlaceFit Tool
The PlaceFit Tool provides access to a variety of existing websites based on livability characteristics that may appeal to your lifestyle choices. This investigative tool can help you identify communities with characteristics that appeal to you and your families' needs when relocating for a job, schooling, retirement, or a variety of other reasons; or for comparing how your current community compares to others. It allows you to select primary and secondary characteristics that describe what you are looking for in a community that would be of interest to you.
https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/livability/tools/placefit/

FHWA Livable Communities Discussion Board
The Livable Communities Discussion Board is an online public forum for users to participate in discussion threads and engage with colleagues on questions and ideas related to livable communities. The site is an online community of practitioners in public, private, and nonprofit agencies and organizations at the local, State, and Federal levels, who are interested in helping communities provide more transportation choices, encourage access to good jobs and affordable housing, support quality schools, and promote safer streets and roads. Participants come from a range of fields, including transportation, land use, housing, environment, and economic development. Register here to post questions and contribute to the discussions. Examples discussed may be considered for possible case study topics as part of the FHWA's Livable Communities case study series.
https://collaboration.fhwa.dot.gov/dot/fhwa/livablecommunities/default.aspx


FHWA to offer new guide on separated bike lanes

The Federal Highway Administration and the UNC Highway Safety Research Center will soon release “Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide.”

Separated bike lanes are exclusive facilities for bicyclists located within or directly adjacent to roadways but physically separated from motor vehicle traffic with a vertical element.  These facilities, sometimes called “cycle tracks” or “protected bike lanes,” have the potential to improve traffic safety for all street users, can contribute to increased bicycling volumes and mode shares, and may help improve the mobility and health of a community.

The guide will provide an overview of planning and design considerations based on a comprehensive review of the state of the practice in the United States.

The guide is structured in four primary sections:

“Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide” was produced for FHWA by a team led by the UNC Highway Safety Research Center in conjunction with Sam Schwartz Engineering and Kittelson & Associates, Inc. The guide will be available for download at: http://www.pedbikeinfo.org.

 


PBIC offers free webinar series on creating a bicycle safety action plan

With support from FHWA, the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center is hosting a three-part webinar series exploring how to create a safer bicycling environment through facility planning and design. This series is based on the 2012 AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities, the 2013 NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide, FHWA guidance, and current research. Advocates, consultants, and governmental officials will find this webinar series beneficial.

Planning for Safety: This webinar, held Oct. 2, explained how careful planning can contribute to bicycle safety. Attendees learned techniques and approaches for crash data collection and analysis, developing a bicycle network, and selecting the right bicycle facility for the network considering bicyclists’ characteristics. The archive of this webinar is available at http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/training/webinars_PBIC_LC_BSAP_2014.cfm.

Oct. 16, 2014: On-road Bicycle Facilities: This webinar will describe how design of on-road facilities can improve bicycle safety. Attendees will learn the fundamentals of geometric design at intersections, other roadway design considerations (e.g. railroad crossings, bridges, tunnels), and signal timing and detection.

Oct. 30, 2014: Off-road Bicycle Facilities: This webinar will illustrate how the design of off-road facilities can improve bicycle safety. Attendees will learn the basics of pathway design including speed, width, clearance, grade, railings, and intersection/mid-block crossings.

Toole Design Group’s Bill Schultheiss, Vice President, Senior Engineer, and Peter Lagerwey, Seattle Regional Office Director, will serve as the presenters during the series.

To register or to view the archives from this webinar series, go to http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/webinars.


HSRC and FHWA update BIKESAFE

BIKESAFE

FHWA released an updated version of BIKESAFE: Bicycle Safety Guide and Countermeasure Selection System, providing the latest information for improving the safety and mobility of bicyclists.

The new version, which was completed under a contract with the UNC Highway Safety Research Center, VHB, and Toole Design Group, features 46 engineering countermeasures and 34 case studies highlighting how communities successfully improved bicyclist safety. BIKESAFE is comprised of four sections: A guide of basic information, specific countermeasure details, case studies, and an expert system tool for countermeasure selection, and it is among the many tools being unveiled as part of DOT’s Safer People, Safer Streets initiative to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety.

Like its pedestrian counterpart, the latest version of BIKESAFE is only available online and can be accessed at http://www.pedbikesafe.org/bikesafe.

 


Free webinar on Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program

FHWA's Office of Human Environment is sponsoring the upcoming Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program webinar from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. Eastern on October 22, 2014. Representatives from each of the four Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program pilot commfunities will discuss the strategies they used to promote bicycle and pedestrian projects and the lessons learned. The Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program was established in SAFEATEA-LU Section 1807 and provided over $25 million each to four communities (Columbia, MO; Marin County, CA; Minneapolis Area, MN; Sheboygan County, WI) to demonstrate how walking and bicycling infrastructure and programs can increase rates of walking and bicycling.

Webinar Presenters:

To register, go to: https://www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/resources/webconference/web_conf_learner_reg.aspx?webconfid=27822

Once registered, participants will receive an email with instructions on how to access the webcast. For more information contact Daniel Goodman at 202-366-9064 or daniel.goodman@dot.gov.


Featured Case Study: Comprehensive Bicycle Infrastructure and Promotion in a Small City: Columbia, Mo.

Background

Columbia residents learn how to perform bicycle maintenance and repairs.Columbia residents learn how to perform bicycle maintenance and repairs.
Source: City of Columbia

Columbia, Missouri is home to 108,500 residents, more than 30,000 of whom are students at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Although many residents and students bicycled in town, the only formal bike infrastructure was the nine-mile portion of the Katy Trail, which passed through Columbia. Envisioning a more complete network of bicycle facilities in town, Columbia residents Ian Thomas, Chip Cooper, Terry Skinner, and Mike Snyder formed PedNet on Earth Day 2000. PedNet’s goal was to use grassroots advocacy to increase the use of pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure while building public awareness and advocacy for new infrastructure connections and improvements throughout Columbia.

Countermeasures

A grade-separated road crossing added to an existing culvert.A grade-separated road crossing added to an existing culvert.
Source: City of Columbia

At the time, PedNet counted on the support of former Columbia Mayor Darwin Hindman, an outspoken advocate of nonmotorized transportation. PedNet and the City of Columbia worked closely to apply for grant funding from different sources. In 2003, Active Living by Design provided PedNet $200,000 to develop an integrated bicycle and pedestrian network. The project, called "Bike, Walk, and Wheel: A Way of Life in Columbia, Missouri," used Safe Routes to School programming, positive messaging, and changes in the physical environment to encourage Columbia residents to take up walking and biking. Infrastructure improvements included a one-mile urban loop trail (coupled with a walking incentive program), and the approval of new Complete Streets construction standards in 2004. The program also gave away 500 refurbished bikes along with free bike helmets provided by the SafeKids coalition. PedNet also offered (and continues to offer) bike safety and repair classes to children and adults.

Bicyclists use one of the bike lanes.Bicyclists use one of the bike lanes.
Source: City of Columbia

In 2005, PedNet won five new grants, totaling $240,000, to expand its active living and public policy work. PedNet also led a strong campaign to support the approval of a sales tax to fund sidewalks and traffic calming around elementary schools. However, the largest influx of funding occurred in July of that year; the City of Columbia became one of four cities nationwide to receive a $25 million grant from the federal government under the Non-motorized Transportation Pilot (NTPP) Program for building sidewalks, bicycle lanes, and shared-use greenways to connect community activity centers such as schools, businesses, and transit stations. The City of Columbia used the funding to create GetAbout Columbia in the Department of Public Works to implement the infrastructure improvements and chose PedNet to lead the educational component of the program. GetAbout Columbia's guiding philosophy was to promote an increase in walking and biking while providing the infrastructure to support it.

The initial NTPP grant was awarded over four years (2006-2009) and was reauthorized in 2012 to provide an additional $5.9 million to each of the four communities. The funding supported the following projects:

One of two green merge-and-weave intersection treatments.One of two green merge-and-weave intersection treatments.
Source: City of Columbia

Evaluation and Results

The project was evaluated using funds set aside by the City of Columbia and support from the Non-motorized Transportation Pilot Program (NTPP).

Prior to receiving the GetAbout grant, the City of Columbia was more bike-friendly and active than many towns in Missouri, but the lack of bicycle infrastructure made it difficult for many students and commuters to use their bicycles for trips and errands in town. According to a series of counts taken since 2007, bicycling has increased since the early years of the GetAbout program. A series of counts taken between 2009 and 2013 recorded an increase in walking of 22 percent and an increase in bicycling of 44 percent.

Some of the promotional materials created to encourage walking and biking.Some of the promotional materials created to encourage walking and biking.
Source: City of Columbia
Specific bike count locations that were the site of improvement projects registered even greater increases in the number of bicyclists. For example, at the intersection of Providence Road and Stewart Road, an improvement project completed in 2009 reconfigured the intersection, added crosswalks and sidewalks, and improved striping for pedestrians and bicyclists. The project provided an important connection between multiple destinations, and between 2007 and 2013, the number of bicyclists recorded at this intersection increased by 98 percent.

As is often the case when the number of bicycle trips increases, the City of Columbia also recorded a greater number of reported bicyclist injuries. However, an analysis of the number of injuries per million bicycle trips indicates that the rate of bicyclist injuries decreased over time. While in 2002, there were 14.1 injuries per million bicycle trips in Columbia, in 2012, there were 8.4 injuries per million bicycle trips.

Former mayor Darwin Hindman prefers to make trips by bicycle. Former mayor Darwin Hindman prefers to make trips by bicycle.
Source: Missouri Bicycle Federation
Because of the relatively small number of bicyclist fatalities, the number of fatalities was pooled across the four communities that received NTPP grants and compared to the number of bicyclists to understand changes in the rate of fatalities in all four communities (the other three communities were Marin County, CA; Minneapolis area, MN; and Sheboygan County, WI). The results of this analysis indicated that bicyclist fatalities decreased from 13 per 1 million bicycle trips in 2002 to 4 per 1 million bicycle trips in 2012.

The former mayor of Columbia, Darwin Hindman, said that conditions for bicyclists have improved tremendously since he took office in 1995. He said that bicyclists were a rare sight on Columbia streets in 1995. Today, bicyclists are a common sight, especially downtown, on the campus of the University of Missouri, in the neighborhoods around downtown and the university, on the trail network, and in the neighborhoods close to trails. It also is not uncommon to see bicyclists in less bicycle-friendly locations where bicyclists were nonexistent before.

Conclusions and Recommendations

PedNet began as a grassroots effort in 2000 and successfully worked on different grants, projects, and campaigns from the outset. Having an active advocacy organization in place such as PedNet was instrumental for receiving funding from Active Living by Design and the NTPP, but the success of different projects also depended on cooperation and collaboration between different organizations that were working together toward achieving those goals.

Parking meters in downtown Columbia are outfitted with metal loops for bike parking.Parking meters in downtown Columbia are outfitted with metal loops for bike parking.
Source: Missouri Bicycle Federation

In expanding Columbia's bicycle network, GetAbout Columbia emphasized connectivity between new and existing segments of bicycle infrastructure. Where large roads and intersections, railroad tracks, or natural features such as rivers and streams acted as barriers, solutions were conventional (e.g., intersection redesign) and unconventional (e.g., the expansion of existing culverts for use as bicycle underpasses). By using a wide array of solutions to site-specific challenges (e.g., using wide sidewalks where bicycling was allowed where arterial conditions prevented on-street facilities), bicycle infrastructure could be tailored to existing conditions. One piece of advice from the GetAbout team was to expect initial skepticism from the community and consider pilot implementation as one strategy to build support for a project.

In general, it was easier and quicker to implement on-street infrastructure projects and outreach programs than it was to complete off-street infrastructure projects. Some of the most successful outreach and marketing efforts were major, recurring events, Safe Routes to School programs, and giveaways, like when police officers handed out bike lights. Competency classes for adults were considered effective because 40 percent of participants said that they would bicycle more; however, competency classes only attracted about 100 participants per year. Media campaigns were somewhat successful in promoting active transportation, but they may not have been as cost-effective as other strategies. Though marketing and outreach generally seemed less effective in increasing bicycling in the long-term than infrastructure improvements, they were valuable in increasing collaboration, communication, and capacity between different agencies and stakeholders.

Cost

Of the $22.4 million allocated to GetAbout Columbia, 40 percent went to on-street infrastructure, 43 percent to off-street infrastructure, 16 percent to outreach activities, and 2 percent to bicycle parking.

Some of the costs of infrastructure improvements are detailed in the table below.

Table showing costs of infrastructure improvements.

Reference

Federal Highway Administration. (2012). Report to the U.S. Congress on the Outcomes of the Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program SAFETEA-LU Section 1807. www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/ntpp/2012_report/final_report_april_2012.pdf


New Resources

The PBIC has recently added the following resources to the PBIC Online Library, a centralized, Web-based collection of pedestrian- and bicycling-related materials. To search the library, please visit http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/library.

Crossing an Arterial through an Offset Intersection: Bicycle-Only Center-Turn Lane
http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/data/library/details.cfm?id=4906

Estimating Bicycling and Walking for Planning and Project Development: A Guidebook
http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/data/library/details.cfm?id=4905

Design and Implementation of Pedestrian- and Bicycle-Specific Data Collection Methods in Oregon
http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/data/library/details.cfm?id=4903

Recommended Bicycle Lane Widths for Various Roadway Characteristics
http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/data/library/details.cfm?id=4902

Evaluation of Bicycle-Related Roadway Measures: A Summary of Available Research
http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/data/library/details.cfm?id=4901

Bicycling and Walking in the United States: 2014 Benchmarking Report
http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/data/library/details.cfm?id=4900

Methods for Estimating Bicycling and Walking in Washington State
http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/data/library/details.cfm?id=4899


Announcements

FHWA updates its guide to funding opportunities

The Federal Highway Administration updated its list of federal funding available for pedestrian and bicycle projects. “Bicycle and Pedestrian Funding Opportunities: Federal Transit and Federal Highway Funds” denotes which federal funding programs can be used to support a variety of pedestrian and bicycle facilities. The update includes funding changes under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act.
http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/funding/funding_opportunities.cfm

US bike share programs coalesce under new association

Several bike share programs in the U.S. joined forces to create a new trade group, the North American Bikeshare Association. The organization’s goal is “to provide collaboration, sharing of experiences and best practices, enhanced communication, and guidance to the new and fast growing industry of bikesharing.”
http://nabsa.net/

Bicycle helmet mini-grants available

The National Center for Safety Routes to School and Schwinn’s Helmets on Heads program teamed up to provide $1,000 mini-grants to 25 schools across the country. The funds can be used for a variety of bicycling-related initiatives. Applications are due Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014 with winners announced in 2015.

To learn more or to apply, go to: http://saferoutesinfo.org/about-us/newsroom/national-center-safe-routes-school-and-schwinn%E2%80%99s-helmets-heads-mini-grants-program.

More people traveling to work by bicycle

Commuting by bicycle grew by 62 percent from 2000 to 2013, according to the latest figures from the American Community Survey. More than 882,000 people commuted by bicycle in 2013, the survey shoes, up .5 percent from 2012.
http://www.census.gov/acs/www/

Grant program to fund “Big Ideas”

Advocacy Advance, a partnership of the League of American Bicyclists and the Alliance for Biking and Walking, is offering three $10,000 grants to organizations working on innovative ways to promote bicycling and walking. The “Big Ideas” grants are intended to “help with unforeseen opportunities, short-term campaigns or to push campaigns into the end zone to win funding for biking and walking infrastructure programs.” The deadline to apply is Oct. 17.

To learn more or to apply, go to: http://www.bikewalkalliance.org/news/394-announcing-advocacy-advance-big-ideas-grants.


From our Facebook Page

Here are some of the more popular posts from the past few months:

September 22, 2014: Wondering where you can get money to fund your pedestrian or bicycle project? The Federal Highway Administration recently updated its chart on federal funding opportunities. Be sure to check it out: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/funding/funding_opportunities.cfm

September 19, 2014: If you’ve ever wondered what a Road Diet is, this is a good primer: http://www.citylab.com/design/2014/09/so-what-exactly-is-a-road-diet/379975/

September 4, 2014: Here are five ways to make streets to be safer for pedestrians and bicyclists: http://mntransportationresearch.org/2014/08/25/five-steps-to-improve-minnesota-bike-lanes/

September 3, 2014: Check out what the PBIC's Charlie Zegeer had to say about improving pedestrian safety: http://everybodywalk.org/4500-americans-killed-crossing-street-year/

August 20, 2014: Here is a look at the connection between neighborhood design and obesity: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/08/blame-the-city/375888/

August 19, 2014: A new study out of New Zealand finds that for every $1 a city spends on separated bike lanes, it could save as much as $24 in health care, pollution and traffic costs: http://www.fastcoexist.com/3034354/the-cities-that-spend-the-most-on-bike-lanes-later-reap-the-most-reward

August 8, 2014: Fort Collins, Colo. is among the growing list of cities installing buffered bicycle lanes. http://www.coloradoan.com/story/news/local/2014/07/28/fort-collins-tries-buffered-bike-lanes-boost-safety/13302151/

July 24, 2014: As part of its effort to improve pedestrian safety, San Francisco is considering dropping speed limits: http://www.sfbg.com/politics/2014/07/15/san-francisco-study-dropping-speed-limit-20-mph-pedestrian-safety

July 21, 2014: Indianapolis is going to use infrared cameras to improve bicyclist safety at intersections: http://wishtv.com/2014/07/14/body-heat-sensing-cameras-coming-to-monon-trail/

July 2, 2014: This is an interesting article discussing a new study showing pedestrian countdown signals increase crashes between motor vehicles. http://www.npr.org/2014/07/01/327199161/safety-feature-for-pedestrians-has-undesired-consequence


Upcoming Events

2014 National Recreation and Parks Association Congress and Exposition
October 14-16, 2014
Charlotte, NC USA

Walk 21 Sydney
October 21-23, 2014
Sydney, Australia

International Conference on Sustainable Infrastructure 2014
November 6-8, 2014
Long Beach, CA USA

2014 American Public Health Association Annual Meeting and Exposition
November 15-19, 2014
New Orleans, LA USA

Transportation Research Board
January 11-15, 2015
Washington, DC USA

International Trails Symposium and Sustainable Trails Conference
May 15-20, 2015
Portland, OR USA



Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center

730 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
Campus Box 3430
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3430
Phone: 1.888.823.3977
Fax: 919.962.8710
www.walkinginfo.org
www.bicyclinginfo.org