Profile: International Pedestrian Audits by the Pedestrians' Quality Needs Project

Pedestrian Quality Needs

The Pedestrians' Quality Needs Project (PQN) aims to identify what people need for their safety and mobility in public spaces. According to the PQN Web site, the main objective is to provide knowledge of pedestrians' needs and how those needs relate to structural and functional interventions, policy making and regulation to support walking conditions across the European Union and other involved countries.

Partners in this effort include intergovernmental networks, foundations and international associations. PQN will be informed by and build upon the research published by previous studies and is expected to network 25 countries. PQN is supported by the COST Office of the European Commission.

Additional objectives of this international project include:

For more information on the project, please visit http://www.walkeurope.org. Pedestrian audits are also available for 20 countries at http://www.walkeurope.org/publications/country_audits_reports.asp.


PBIC participates in WALK21 in Barcelona

The PBIC Director Charlie Zegeer and Associate Director Laura Sandt recently attended Walk21, an international conference that addresses issues relating to walking and pedestrian environments. Sandt presented a paper, "Tools and Practices for Improving Pedestrian Safety" in a breakout session. Zegeer presented a poster on "Evaluation of the Miami-Dade Pedestrian Safety Demonstration Program." The Center also hosted a booth to distribute a number of research documents and tools for practitioners.

Held in Barcelona, Spain, the conference allowed attendees to hear from leading professionals from around the world about programs, policies and projects as well as explore those themes in action through walking tours and visits arranged in the host city. The conference is held annually and has been hosted previously in Toronto, London, San Sebastian, Portland, Copenhagen, Zurich and Melbourne. The 2009 Walk21 conference will be held in New York City.

For more information on Walk21, please visit http://www.walk21.com.


Center researcher participates in international research exchange agreement

Bicycles

26% of all trips in the Netherlands are by bike. The mode share is even higher in some cities.

Laura Sandt

Over the past year, the PBIC's parent organization, the Highway Safety Research Center, has participated in an information exchange with the Stichting Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Verkeersveiligheid (SWOV), Institute for Road Safety Research, based in Leidschendam, Netherlands. The two organizations entered an agreement in March 2007 to collaborate on highway safety research, as well as participate in an employee exchange program between the two institutions.

In April 2007, SWOV researcher Martine Reuerings, Ph.D., fulfilled a six-week turn with HSRC as a visiting researcher. In April 2008, PBIC Associate Director Laura Sandt completed a six-week research residency at SWOV in the Netherlands.

While at SWOV, Laura reviewed several European research and safety initiatives, including the SUNflower project, which involved the development of an international benchmarking tool for evaluating road safety performance. She also took several long-distance bicycle tours to document multi-modal transportation design and operations, and met with officials at SWOV and the Ministry of Transport. During her stay, she collected several hundred images of various bicycle and pedestrian facilities, streets, and public spaces. Many of these images will soon be available on the PBIC Image Library at http://www.pedbikeimages.org.

"Through the exchange program I learned a lot about pedestrian and bicycle research, planning and policy tools available in the Netherlands and other European countries," said Laura. "It was a fantastic experience to be able to live in a place where I could easily go anywhere I needed to go by biking, walking, or taking public transit. There is a lot to be gained from looking at how other countries plan for pedestrians and bicyclists and sharing knowledge of best practices."

In addition to research and employee exchange, SWOV and HSRC continue to explore opportunities for collaborative roadway safety research projects. To view SWOV resources related to walking and bicycling, use the search term "SWOV" in the PBIC library at http://www.walkinginfo.org/library/, or go to SWOV's web site at http://www.swov.nl/index_uk.htm.


Featured Case Study: Bike to Work Week in Victoria, British Columbia

Problem

Initially, Bike to Work events in Victoria, British Columbia inspired only committed cyclists to ride to work. An effort to convince provincial government employees to bicycle to work by linking the message to the province's own "green" initiatives was not recruiting new cyclists to bicycle commuting.

Background

Congestion on the Galloping Goose regional trail is so intense during BTWW that organizers must provide traffic control. Photo: John Luton

The first iteration of Victoria's Bike to Work Week (BTWW) in 1995 was generated by government staff advocating for cycling as a transportation solution. It was supported almost exclusively by provincial funding. The event was attached to Canada's environment week; about 500 people (mainly provincial employees) participated. The challenge in growing BTWW was to decouple the effort to recruit people to cycle to work from superficially similar initiatives aimed at improving environmental citizenship.

Solution

Organizers soon realized that the event attracted committed cyclists, not the potential and non-cyclists who were their real targets. One highly-placed champion began to research behavior change theory and ultimately focused attention on this model as a way to accomplish the goal of recruiting employees to bicycle to work.

The behavior change model relied on research conducted by both the provincial and federal governments that identified barriers to cycling and reasons for choosing cycling. For most cyclists, health and personal fitness were the main motivators, with environment, for example, far down the list of behavior instigators. Key barriers included anxiety about safety, lack of confidence in traffic, concern about the time needed to ride to work and personal grooming issues. BTWW organizers applied behavior change theory by narrowing the event's focus and discarding or changing components that didn't attract new cyclists.

An essential part of the program (introduced some years after the inaugural event) is individual workplace recruitment. BTWW recruits team captains — individual champions in workplaces — and helps them market the program. Friendly competition between businesses or agencies to win prizes and bragging rights helps boost registration. The bicycle mode share at the several hundred workplaces that have established teams for Bike to Work Week is over 14 percent, almost double the mode share for commuter cycling recorded in Victoria's most recent studies.

In addition to these program elements, other factors contribute to successful behavior change and enhance the event:

Result

Platoons of cyclists stream across Johnson Street Bridge during afternoon rush hour. Photo: John Luton

Bike to Work Week has grown from 1,075 participants in 1998 to 6,446 registered riders in 2008 (about 2 percent of the entire metropolitan census). There were no new cyclists at BTWW in 1998; in 2008, 979 new riders participated. BTWW's success is also reflected in the number of workplaces participating in the program: 679 teams registered in 2008. Smaller workplaces often have 100 percent participation. Cycling accounts for about 14 percent of all work trips in participating workplaces. This suggests that significant growth in commuter cycling can be encouraged by direct recruitment where people work.

Contact

Stephanie Johnson
Executive Director, Bike to Work Victoria
Box 8837
Victoria, B.C. V8W 3S3
(250) 920-5775 (phone)
(250) 920-5773 (fax)
stephanie@biketowork.ca
http://www.biketowork.ca

For more information, please view the complete case study at http://www.bicyclinginfo.org/library/details.cfm?id=4278.


Featured Resource: International Walk to School Web Site

October was International Walk to School Month. Each year, millions of children, parents, and community leaders from over 40 countries around the world join together in celebration of walking and bicycling to school.

The goal of the walk varies from community to community. Some walks rally for safer and improved streets, some to promote healthier habits and some to conserve the environment. Whatever the reason, International Walk to School events encourage a more walkable world – one community at a time.

Read more about the activities in each country and view event photos at http://www.iwalktoschool.org.


Announcements

Dutch Fietsberaad (Bicycle Council) lauches English-language Web site

Fietsberaad, a Dutch portal for cycling knowledge and expertise, recently launched an English-language version of its Web site. The site contains primarily information from the Netherlands, one of the most bicycle-friendly countries in the world, but is expected to develop into a diverse, international portal.

Register on "My Fietsberaad" at http://www.fietsberaad.nl/index.cfm or read the latest newsletter at http://www.fietsberaad.nl/views/nieuws/nieuwsbrief_HTML_template_en.cfm.


Web site available for setting up workplace bike fleets

The Bicycle Federation of Australia (BFA) has launched a new Web site to help organizations set up bike fleets in their workplaces at www.bikes4work.com.au. Workplace bike fleets are similar to car fleets. They are available for employees to use for work trips where riding a bike is more convenient than other transport modes.

"The BFA sees this as an important initiative to promote cycling and to continue our work in this area," said BFA President Jeff Ibbotson. "It can be much quicker to hop on a bike for a short trip to a client's office, another work location or around a large site."

The BFA also has produced a toolkit "How to set up a successful bike fleet for the federal Department of the Environment" and it can be accessed at www.travelsmart.gov.au/toolkits/bikefleets.


Drive Safely Work Week stresses safety for all road users

Sponsored annually by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), Drive Safely Work Week (DSWW) was held October 6-10, 2008. This nationally observed campaign is designed to help employers emphasize the importance of driving safely both on and off the job to reduce preventable crashes. This year's campaign theme, "Take the High Road Share the Road. It Belongs to Everyone," addressed the special needs and considerations of vulnerable roadway users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, truck drivers, senior and teen drivers.

During the 2008 DSWW campaign, employers committed to "champion" road safety promoted the campaign's message so their workforce will become more aware of the limitations and challenges that each road user faces whether they are traveling on four wheels or 16, two feet or two wheels.

During the week, thousands of organizations demonstrated their ongoing commitment to protecting the health and well being of their most valuable assets—their employees and their families. One of the best ways to keep employees safe on the road is to educate them about safety and promote safe driving practices. Employees across the country heard the share the road safety message each day of the campaign week with the DSWW materials available to employers at no cost via the NETS website at www.trafficsafety.org.


International Resources

WalkON

Living Streets

Danish Road Directorate

International Federation of Pedestrians

SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research

European Cycle Federation

European Local Transport Information Service (ELTIS)

SusTrans

Bicycle Federation of Australia


Pedestrian and Bicycle Issues in the News

The following is a brief compilation of pedestrian- and bicycle-related news stories from around the world. Web links to the following news stories are time sensitive, so some stories might not be accessible after the initial publication date without required registration.

Bicycle-Related News

Bike lanes work, PSU professor says
Sustainable Life
10/16/2008
City will integrate bikes, trains, buses into mobility needs
Rocky Mountain News
10/14/2008
Bailout gives tax break to bicycle commuters
The San Francisco Chronicle
10/08/2008
Secure Bicycle Park for York
The Press
9/29/2008
Dutch cycling treats
Boston Globe
9/28/2008

Pedestrian-Related News

Countdown crosswalks would give pedestrians extra time
Newark Advocate
9/29/2008
Mississauga launches pedestrian safety campaign
City of Mississauga
9/24/08
Minneapolis downtown to become more pedestrian friendly
Minnesota Public Radio
9/17/2008
Hines Ward teaches Pittsburgh kids about pedestrian safety
WXPI
9/9/2008
African kids get a lesson in street smarts
Christian Science Monitor
2/2008
Pedestrian bridges to be built in Dar
IPP Media
1/2008

Upcoming Pedestrian and Bicycle Events

CNU Transportation Summit: Sustainable Transportation Networks
11/06/2008
Charlotte, NC USA
International Association of Chiefs of Police 115th Annual Conference and Exposition
11/08/2008
San Diego, CA USA
Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education 2nd Biennial Conference
11/09/2008
Raleigh, NC USA
19th National Trails Symposium
11/15/2008
Little Rock, AR USA
Transportation Research Board Pedestrian Committee Meeting
1/13/2009 – 1/17/2009
Washington, DC
Transportation Research Board Bicycle Committee Meeting
1/13/2009 – 1/17/2009
Washington, DC


Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center

730 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
Campus Box 3430
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3430
Phone: 1.877.925.5245
Fax: 919.962.8710
www.walkinginfo.org
www.bicyclinginfo.org