Profile: Pedestrian and Bicycle Intersection Safety Indices

Pedestrian and Bicycle Intersection Safety Indices Cover

The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, through research conducted at the UNC Highway Safety Research Center, recently completed the development of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Intersection Safety Indices. These indices are a set of models that enable users to identify intersection crossings and intersection approach legs that should be the greatest priority for undergoing in-depth pedestrian and bicycle safety assessment. Using observable characteristics of an intersection crossing or approach leg, such as number of lanes, area type, presence of bike lane, type of traffic control, traffic volume, etc., the tool produces a safety index score, with higher scores indicating greater priority for an in-depth safety assessment.

Each leg of an intersection may have different characteristics affecting pedestrian or bicyclist safety, therefore the tool is intended to provide a rating of the safety of an individual crossing (Ped ISI) or approach leg (Bike ISI) rather than evaluating the intersection as a whole. A practitioner can use the tool to develop a prioritization scheme for a group of pedestrian crossings or bicyclist approaches. This method enables the practitioner to prioritize and proactively address sites that are the most likely to be a safety concern for pedestrians or bicyclists rather than having to wait for analysis following a crash or cluster of crashes at an intersection.

Researchers developed Ped ISI and Bike ISI based on both safety ratings — expert opinion of the safety of a site — and observed behaviors — observed interactions between pedestrians and motorists or bicyclists and motorists. These measures enabled the researchers to use a multifaceted approach to determine the relative safety of a pedestrian crossing or bicycle approach leg.

To develop the Ped ISI and Bike ISI models, researchers studied 68 pedestrian crossings at signalized and unsignalized intersections in Miami, FL, Philadelphia, PA, and San Jose, CA, and 67 bicycle approaches at signalized and unsignalized intersections in Eugene, OR, Gainesville, FL, Philadelphia, PA, and Portland, OR.

To find out more about the Pedestrian and Bicycle Intersection Safety Indices, please visit:

Featured Case Study: State and Regional Agencies Work with Community Members to Create Regional Bike/Pedestrian Action Plan in Charleston, SC

In 2003, in response to citizen pressure to improve conditions for bicyclists and pedestrians, the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments (BCDCOG) submitted a successful proposal for funding to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Active Living by Design Program. The $200,000 grant funded the creation of a regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Action Plan as well as a partnership to promote health and active living through the built environment.

This partnership included a bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, the SC Department of Transportation, the Medical University of South Carolina, and several healthcare organizations. The Action Plan contained three main goals:

All of these goals were accomplished through an organized framework that outlined five specific actions and performance measures for each of these goals, and assigned a lead organization for each action.

The group continued to involve the community during the planning process. During the creation of the long-range transportation plan, the BCDCOG distributed a survey asking how much one would spend on various transportation facilities if given just $100. On average, respondents allocated $24 for pedestrian and bicycle improvements, in contrast to the existing allocation of $0.05 for every $100 spent currently. The agency took steps towards narrowing this discrepancy by allocating $30 million for pedestrian and bicycle improvements over the coming 21 years.

For more information, visit the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments web site at

Featured Resource: FHWA University Course on Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation

FHWA University Course on Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Logo

The Federal Highway Administration University Course on Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation contains modular resource material that is intended for use in university courses on bicycle and pedestrian transportation. The Student Workbook contains 24 lessons that span a wide range of topics including an introduction to bicycling and walking issues, planning and designing for bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and supporting elements and programs. Scripted slideshows for all 24 lessons are available to facilitate course development and delivery. An overview lecture and scripted slideshow also is provided when a one- or two-lecture overview is needed for existing undergraduate or graduate courses.

For more information on the course, including links to the course material, please visit

News Briefs

BikeEd 2007 Conference in Austin, TX

The League of American Bicyclists will hold their bi-annual conference for cycling educators and decision makers at the Omni Austin Hotel on June 14–16, 2007 in Austin, TX. This conference will bring together more than 200 national, state and local bicycle safety educators, and government agency staff to discuss best practices, opportunities and challenges in bicycle education. Austin promises to be an exciting location for three days of workshops, plenary presentations, and on-bike training opportunities. The Austin Cycling Association is participating as local host. For more information please contact the League of American Bicyclists at 202-822-1333, email, or visit

1st Safe Routes to School National Conference in Michigan

The National Center for Safe Routes to School and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership proudly present the 1st Safe Routes to School National Conference: Creating, Building and Sustaining Momentum. The conference will be held November 5–7, 2007, in Dearborn, Michigan and will be hosted by the Michigan Fitness Foundation.

In addition to support for the conference, the National Center for Safe Routes to School will also be providing $10,000 in stipend funding to assist Safe Routes to School programs with travel expenses in order to attend the conference. Additional information on applying for the stipends will be released in early summer 2007.

To register for the conference, please visit

Ped/Bike Issues in the News

The following is a brief compilation of pedestrian- and bicycle-related news stories from across the country. 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.

Tougher Pedestrian Safety Law Can Revoke Drivers' Licenses
KITV-TV Channel 4
June 5, 2007
Cyclist Beats Car, Bus in Bike-to-Work Challenge
Bicycle Retailer
May 21, 2007
Seattle Walks: A weight problem
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
May 21, 2007
Montgomery County Launches Pedestrian Safety Initiative
May 21, 2007
Speed camera revenues go to school pedestrian safety
The Examiner
May 21, 2007
Community Conversations: Bicycling a great way to promote non-motorized transportation
The Sheboygan Press
April 10, 2007
Pedestrian needs key in Maine DOT studies
Portsmouth Herald News
April 9, 2007
A new Bellevue: Step by step to a pedestrian-friendly downtown
Seattle Times
April 9, 2007
We're getting wiser to benefits of walking
Portland Press Herald
April 8, 2007
Patrol wants fewer pedestrian fatalities -- Initiative seeks to raise awareness of safety rules
Georgetown Times
March 29, 2007
Path: Walking and cycling plan can work
Winston-Salem Journal
March 29, 2007
Efforts aim to make intersections safe on foot
USA Today
March 27, 2007
Campaign for pedestrian safety begins
Washington Post
March 20, 2007

Upcoming Ped/Bike Events

BikeEd 2007 Conference
June 14–16, 2007
Austin, TX
Developing Master-Planned Communities: Learning from the Experts
June 14–15, 2007
Huntington Beach, CA
Urban Street Symposium
June 24–27, 2007
Seattle, Washington
Institute of Transportation Engineers 2007 Annual Meeting and Exhibit
August 5–7, 2007
Pittsburgh, PA
CBC Walk/Bike California 2007 Conference and APBP Professional Development Seminar
September 11–14, 2007
Davis, CA

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