View the full PBCAT Tech Brief (PDF)

What is PBCAT?

In 2004, 4,641 pedestrians and 725 bicyclists were killed in traffic crashes, accounting for more than 12 percent of all traffic fatalities in the United States. An additional 68,000 pedestrians and 41,000 bicyclists were reported to be injured as a result of incidents involving motor vehicles. PBCAT is a software application designed to assist State and local pedestrian and bicycle coordinators, planners, and engineers in addressing pedestrian and bicyclist crash problems.

PBCAT accomplishes this goal by enabling users to develop a database of details associated with crashes between motor vehicles and pedestrians or bicyclists. One of these details is crash type, which describes the pre-crash actions of the involved parties. After developing a database of crash information, PBCAT users can analyze the data, produce reports, and select countermeasures to address the problems identified by the software.

Why Crash Typing?

The development of effective countermeasures to prevent bicyclist and pedestrian crashes is hindered by computerized State crash files that contain insufficient details about the crashes. Analysis of these files often provides data that includes where pedestrian and bicyclist crashes occur, such as the city, street, type of street, or intersection; when crashes occur, such as the time of day or day of the week; and the characteristics of the victims, such as their age, gender, and severity of injuries. These data, however, do not provide adequate detail to determine the sequence of events that lead up to and cause crashes.

During the 1970s, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration developed methodologies for typing pedestrian and bicycle crashes to better define the sequence of events and precipitating actions leading to crashes. In the 1990s, the methodologies were applied to more than 8,000 pedestrian and bicycle crashes in six States. The results provided a representative summary of the distribution of crash types experienced by pedestrians and bicyclists. Over time, this method has evolved and was refined during development of PBCAT Version 1.0.8