15 Years Later — The State of Bicycling and Walking

PBIC 15-Year Report

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) has released a 15-year status report detailing the trends and changes in bicycling and walking since the National Bicycling and Walking Study was published in 1994. This is the third report of its kind that the PBIC has produced to examine the levels of walking and bicycling in the country. Going one step further than the previous 5-year and 10-year reports, this report looks at the present efforts to impact the rate of these modes of transportation. The full report, funded by the Federal Highway Administration, can be accessed at www.walkinginfo.org/15_year_report.

In his blog "The Fast Lane," U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) Secretary Ray LaHood featured the 15-year report. Secretary LaHood discussed the bicycling and walking gains outlined in the report and stressed the want and need of Americans to have alternative transportation methods to driving.

"That's why we recently announced a policy change that encourages transportation agencies to go beyond minimum standards and provide safe and convenient facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists," stated Secretary LaHood in his blog entry, addressing the new U.S. DOT policy for pedestrian and bicyclist accommodations.

In 1994, the U.S. DOT, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted an extensive study highlighting the conditions of bicycling and walking in the United States. Once the initial study was finalized, the U.S. DOT established two overall goals: to double the percentage of total trips made by bicycling and walking in the United States from 7.9 percent to 15.8 percent of all travel trips, and to simultaneously reduce the number of bicyclists and pedestrians killed or injured in traffic crashes by 10 percent.

The 15-year status report reveals the progress made toward the goals of the 1994 National Bicycling and Walking Study. Taking a look at the 2009 National Household Travel Survey (NHTS), walking trips accounted for 10.9 percent of all trips, and 1 percent of all trips reported were taken by bike; together accounting for 11.9 percent of all trips. Bicycling and walking combined attributed to approximately a 25 percent increase for both modes of transportation since the 2001 NHTS. The number of trips taken by bicycling and walking has more than doubled since 1990.

In regards to safety, the nation witnessed a 12 percent decrease in pedestrian fatalities and a 22.3 percent decrease in fatalities among bicyclists between 1993 and 2008 (the last year data was available). NHTSA data indicates that there was a 17.8 percent decrease and a 14.7 percent decrease in estimated pedestrian and bicyclist injuries, respectively, between 1995 and 2008.

"While the goal of doubling the percentage of total bicycling and walking trips has not been met, an increase in walking and bicycling has been observed and the safety goal outlined in the 1994 study has been exceeded," says Laura Sandt, PBIC associate director. "We are excited about the progress outlined in the report, but fully recognize the need for continued support of walking and bicycling."

PBIC Presents "Designing for Pedestrian Safety" Webinar Series

On July 20, PBIC along with FHWA launched a new Webinar series entitled "Designing for Pedestrian Safety." The free, eight-part series focuses on pedestrian safety issues through design and engineering implementations. Modeled after FHWA and PBIC's in-person training course, the Webinars walk through a number of topics including sidewalk design, interchanges and roundabouts, and road diets. To learn more about the "Designing for Pedestrian Safety" series, visit www.walkinginfo.org/webinars or the links below to register.

The first two Webinars in the series have been completed. Archived Webinars can be viewed at www.walkinginfo.org/training/pbic/dps_webinars.cfm.

Part 1: Introduction to Pedestrian Safety Design and Planning Principles
Presented by Craig Allred, FHWA Resource Center Technical Specialist
and Michael Ronkin, Owner, Designing Streets for People LLC.
Originally presented July 20, 2010

Part 2: Sidewalk Design
Presented by Peter Eun, FHWA RC Safety Engineer
Originally presented August 3, 2010

Remaining Webinars in the series include:

Part 3: Treatments at Unsignalized Pedestrian Crossings
Presented by Charlie Zegeer, PBIC Director
Tuesday, August 17 at 2:00 p.m. EST

Part 4: Intersection Geometry
Presented by John LaPlante, Director of Traffic Engineering, T.Y. Lin International, Inc
and Keith Sinclair, Acting Assistant Division Administrator, FHWA Connecticut Division
Thursday, September 9 at 2:00 p.m. EST

Part 5: Signalized Intersections
Presented by Michael Moule, President, Livable Streets, Inc.
Monday, September 27 at 2:00 p.m. EST

Part 6: Interchanges and Roundabouts
Presented by Fred Ranck, FHWA Resource Center Safety Design Engineer
and Hillary Isebrands, FHWA Resource Center Safety Specialist
Tuesday, October 5 at 2:00 p.m. EST

Part 7: Pedestrians and Transit
Presented by Dan Nabors, Senior Transportation Engineer, VHB
Date TBD

Part 8: Road Diets
Presented by Peter Lagerwey, Senior Planner, Toole Design Group
Date TBD

PBIC Calls for Pilot Applications for Walk Friendly Communities

Walk Friendly Communities

PBIC is gearing up for the national launch of Walk Friendly Communities (WFC) with the recent call for applications. PBIC announced its search for five communities to test the WFC online assessment tool. The Center received 44 applications before the July 20th deadline.

Communities that participate in pilot testing are automatically evaluated in the first round of the WFC awards once the program is officially launched. This is the second round of pilot testing to assess the online application and submission process. The first round of testing looked at the foundations of the program and the assessment tool. Cedarburg, Wis., Orlando, Fla. and Davidson, N.C. participated in the initial round of pilot testing. The program will officially be launched in the fall of 2010.

Walk Friendly Communities is a national recognition program established by PBIC, in partnership with a wide number of organizations, to promote towns and cities across the United States to create or recommit to a high priority for supporting safer walking environments. In addition to recognition, participating communities will receive technical assistance from experienced PBIC staff members during the application process and learn what they can do to address different pedestrian safety issues. For more information on WFC, visit www.walkfriendly.org.

Equal Footing Summit Launches at 2010 Pro Walk/Pro Bike®

America Walks, a national non-profit organization, will host Equal Footing: Launching the National Walking Strategy®, a summit to rally and coordinate diverse organizations, businesses and individuals to speak with one voice to improve walkability in America. In 2010, the campaign's steering committee will develop a National Walking Strategy and action plan that will provide the foundation to put walking on truly equal footing. The Equal Footing Summit will be held on September 16, 2010 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, directly after the conclusion of the Pro Walk/Pro Bike® conference.

Sign up to attend the Equal Footing Summit either when registering for Pro Walk/Pro Bike® conference or at the America Walks Website www.americawalks.org/equal-footing. You can also support the campaign by signing on as a partner organization or event sponsor. Email Scott Bricker at sbricker@americawalks.org to get involved.

Free PBIC Printed Resources Available

Are you seeking pedestrian and bicycle materials for your next conference or fair? PBIC provides a collection of resource cards, brochures and reports for you to distribute. For more information or to request a packet, contact Davien Anderson at anderson@hsrc.unc.edu or 919-843-4859.

Featured Success Story: Safe Streets for Seniors


In New York City, adults aged 65 and older make up 12 percent of the city's population, but accounted for 39 percent of its pedestrian fatalities between 2002 and 2006. Despite this grim overrepresentation, older pedestrians are underrepresented on the streets of New York City, according to a study commissioned by New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT). With the city's senior population expected to nearly double between 2010 and 2035, pedestrian safety among older adults had become a priority for NYC DOT.


Improvements in bicycle infrastructure, combined with rising fuel costs, from 2000 to 2010 have resulted in unprecedented spikes in bicycle commuting, and improvements to pedestrian facilities have increased safety. But the need to tackle problems such as inadequate public spaces and insufficient amenities for pedestrians and bicyclists culminated in a commitment to create a livable community. In 2007, New York City released PlaNYC: A Greener, Greater New York, a long-range, comprehensive plan to address economic, social, and environmental concerns facing the city's five boroughs: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. NYC DOT commissioned a consultant to conduct public life surveys around the city to determine what was missing from NYC sidewalks and streets, which was later released in the report World Class Streets: Remaking New York City's Public Realm. According to the count results and surveys, several key types of public space needed improvement and only 10 percent of pedestrians observed were seniors or children, while those two age groups make up 30 percent of the city's population. In the report, the department outlined an overall approach called the World Class Streets initiative. Included under this initiative are a number of new programs and guidelines that respond directly to overall problems and individual issues on specific streets including Safe Streets for Seniors, a safety initiative for older NYC pedestrians.


In January 2008, NYC DOT and the city's Department for the Aging partnered to announce the Safe Streets for Seniors program. Using crash history, NYC DOT identified 25 focus areas where pedestrian injuries and fatalities that involved older adults were particularly high.

From these 25 neighborhoods, NYC DOT selected five pilot neighborhoods — one in each borough — to test the program. These sites included:

The program focuses on safety concerns for senior pedestrians, including insufficient crossing times, broken or missing curb ramps, crosswalks and street markings that are difficult to see, drainage problems at curbs and in crosswalks, and driver behavior problems such as turning vehicles that fail to yield to pedestrians.

In 2008 and 2009, NYC DOT moved quickly to assess problems in its five pilot neighborhoods, identify and implement countermeasures, and launch comprehensive educational campaigns about the Safe Streets for Seniors program and associated traffic changes. In the pilot project in Flushing, Queens, NYC DOT took a multipronged approach to address heavy pedestrian and vehicle volumes, conflicts caused by failure of the turning vehicles to yield at crosswalks, dangerous pedestrian behaviors, and long crossing distances.

In this pilot, NYC DOT added 23 new signs instructing users to "Wait for Walk," "Yield to Pedestrians in Crosswalk," and "Wait for Green Light." The department also added several pedestrian refuge islands, left-turn bays for vehicles, high-visibility crosswalks, and advance stop bars. In some cases, NYC DOT narrowed streets by reducing the number of vehicle lanes.

Other countermeasures involved installing new or upgraded pavement markings, high-visibility crosswalks, and advance stop bars to encourage drivers to stop before a crosswalk rather than in it. Maintenance activities included replacing missing roadway signs, repairing broken curb ramps, and installing needed ramps. The city also has employed other pedestrian-friendly treatments such as leading pedestrian intervals, which activate a walk signal before vehicles get a green light so pedestrians can have a head start into a crosswalk. Leading pedestrian intervals are a particular help to pedestrians who have slower walking speeds.


The results from this combination of improvements were encouraging. For instance, injuries at the intersection of Northern Boulevard and Bowne Street have decreased by 45 percent since NYC DOT installed a pedestrian refuge island at that location. Pedestrian refuge islands and a road diet (reduced number of lanes with freed space converted to parking, bike lanes, landscaping, walkways, or medians) on Manhattan's Chrystie Street resulted in a 66 percent reduction in pedestrian crashes.

Having completed improvements at the pilot sites, NYC DOT is continuing progress on the Safe Streets for Seniors program. The department selected 10 of the 25 focus areas as phase I projects and the engineering studies and recommendations prepared for those areas were reviewed to determine what needed to be adjusted in each neighborhood. Studies for phase II areas began in January 2010.

More Information

New Resources

The following resources have been recently added to the PBIC Online Library, a centralized, Web-based collection of pedestrian- and bicycling-related materials. To search the library, please visit www.walkinginfo.org/library or www.bicyclinginfo.org/library.


New Report from the National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse Reviews Nationwide Spending

The National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse has published the 2009 report "Transportation Enhancements: Summary of Nationwide Spending as of Fiscal Year 2009." The report covers nationwide spending of approximately $9.2 billion from fiscal year 1992 through 2009 and also takes into account the funding of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The data in the report was obtained from the FHWA Fiscal Management Information System and through direct interaction with staff and data systems at each state transportation agency. The National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse is funded in equal parts by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and the Federal Highway Administration and exists to increase knowledge of the Transportation Enhancements program.

To access the full report, visit www.enhancements.org.

FHWA Offers Free Webinar on Accommodating Pedestrian with Disabilities

The next FHWA Pedestrian Safety Webinar will take place on Friday, August 13 from 1:00-3:00 Eastern Time. This webinar will focus on accommodating pedestrians with disabilities at roundabouts. Scott Windley, of the United States Access Board, and Janet Barlow, of Accessible Design for the Blind, will be speakers. To register for this FREE webconference, follow this link: https://www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/resources/webconference/web_conf_learner_reg.aspx?webconfid=20815

DOT and HUD Teaming Up to Provide Livable Communities Grants

The U.S. DOT and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are partnering to help develop planning for more livable, sustainable communities. Up to $75 million in funding (with $35 million from U.S. DOT and $40 million from HUD) will be contributed for planning activities for projects that include transportation, housing and economic development.

Projects that apply for funding will be evaluated by a dual-agency process. Applicants will be reviewed through a streamlined application process and will not have to proceed through two separate grant applications that may potentially run on different timelines. Grants for transportation planning projects of successful projects will be funded through U.S. DOT's Tiger II Discretionary Program and HUD's Sustainable Communities Challenge Program.

For more information on this partnership, visit www.dot.gov/affairs/2010/dot12210.html.

Public Roads Discusses Complete Streets Design in New Article

In a recent article, Public Roads highlights policy statements, planning and programs that integrate avenues for accessibility with all travelers in mind. The article "Street Design: Part 1 — Complete Streets" spells out the true definition of complete streets and how it affects its users. With the recent policy statement from Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood in the spring, Public Roads addresses how this statement influences design implementations in complete streets communities. The article also covers national programs such as Safe Routes to School and examines the complete streets concept on a micro-level by featuring street designs in Charlotte, NC. The article is authored by Robin Smith, senior transportation planner in the FHWA Office of Planning, Sharlene Reed and Shana V. Baker, both community planners with the FHWA newly formed Office of Human Environment. To access the full article, visit www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/publicroads/10julaug/03.cfm.

University of Washington Offers Two Sustainable Transportation Certificate Programs

The University of Washington introduces two new online certificate programs for students interested in sustainable education. The programs were developed in partnership with the University of Washington Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering under the direction of Scott Rutherford, professor of Transportation Engineering. The Certificate in Sustainable Transportation: Environmental Issues and Impacts program examines the relationship between transportation and the environment, including energy, climate change, air pollution and water quality. Focusing on transportation planning, the Certificate in Sustainable Transportation: Planning and Livable Communities program helps students understand important issues involved in sustainable transportation planning. Students can elect to take the programs for graduate credits or take the program as non-credit. Online information sessions for the programs will be held this summer and the programs will begin this fall. For more information on the University of Washington certificate programs visit www.pce.uw.edu or call 888-469-6499.

2010 Pro Walk/Pro Bike®

Chattanooga, Tennessee, the site of Pro Walk/Pro Bike® Conference, September 13–16, 2010, has much to boast about, including a walkable downtown, electric transit opportunities, a heavily used river trail, mountain biking opportunities within 10 minutes of town, and much more.

Over the past 30 years, Pro Walk/Pro Bike® presented by the National Center for Bicycling & Walking (NCBW) has become the preeminent conference focusing on bicycling and walking programs in America. This year's theme is bringing livable communities and regions to scale, with presentations from large and small communities and regions across the United States. and abroad. Mobile workshops will showcase a livable community in action, intended to accelerate trans-disciplinary practices in transportation, land use, housing, public health and the environment.

Pro Walk/Pro Bike® 2010 will provide a learning experience for advocates and professionals working on policy and programs in every kind of community, at every level of government and with non-government organizations. Registration is available at www.bikewalk.org.

New NCHRP Project Proposal Request

The National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) will soon begin requesting proposals for a new project (7-17) "Methods to Improve Physical Conditions for Pedestrians and Bicyclists along Existing Roads." The objective of this research project is to identify and analyze institutional barriers to improve physical conditions for pedestrians along roadways. Information on submitting proposals will be available soon.

For more information on the project, visit onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/NCHRP_Announcement2011.pdf.

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.

Auto safety bill would require 'alert sounds' for quiet hybrid, electric cars
The Washington Post

Rome unveils plan to transform into green capital
Bloomberg Businessweek

Signs slow drivers to protect pedestrians at Greensburg crosswalks
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Pedestrians, Bicyclists Spar for Space in NYC's New No-Car Zones
New York Times

New report shows biking and walking gains
Fast Lane

LAPD issues 159 tickets in pedestrian safety crackdown
LA Weekly

Pedestrian 'countdown' timer unveiled in Southwark
BBC News

Crosswalk Safety Campaign Reminds Motorists, Pedestrians to Share Road
Nova Scotia Canada

Berkeley's Solano Avenue gets sidewalk seating
Berkeley Side

Sidewalk projects aim to improve safety
Salisbury Post

Officials take to the streets to measure Shakopee's 'walkability'
Star Tribune

Group looks at ideas for making city more bicycle, pedestrian friendly
Echo Press

De Pere police pushing pedestrian safety
Fox 11

City aims to enhance safety by upgrading South Alder crosswalks
Courier Island

New crosswalk at busy intersection to help Horn Lake pedestrians
The Commercial Appeal

Upcoming Events

Designing for Pedestrian Safety Webinar Series Part 3: Treatments at Unsignalized Pedestrian Crossings
Web-based, USA

Road Diets Webinar
Web-based, USA

Safe Routes to School: Understanding Parent Perceptions Webinar
Web-based, USA

Designing for Pedestrian Safety Webinar Series Part 4: Intersection Geometry
Web-based, USA

Pro Walk/Pro Bike 2010
Chattanooga, TN USA

Integrating Bike/Ped Facilities with Transit Webinar
Web-based, USA

Designing for Pedestrian Safety Webinar Series Part 5: Signalized Intersections
Web-based, USA

Designing for Pedestrian Safety Webinar Series Part 6: Interchanges and Roundabouts
Web-based, USA

International Walk to School Day
Everywhere, USA

48th International Making Cities Livable Conference
Charleston, SC USA

Portland, OR USA

Transportation Systems for Livable Communities
Washington, DC USA

Accommodating Pedestrians and Bicycles at Roundabouts Webinar
Web-based, USA

For a listing of pedestrian and bicycle conferences and events, please visit www.walkinginfo.org/training/events/ and www.bicyclinginfo.org/training/events/.

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