Campus Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Evaluation Methods
Pedestrian and bicycle safety are critical issues on and around university campuses. A thorough approach to addressing pedestrian and bicycle safety problems typically involves two main steps: 1) identify safety problems and 2) prioritize and recommend safety improvements. This discussion of pedestrian and bicycle safety evaluation methods is organized according to these two steps.
Identify Safety Problems
University campuses can take advantage of methods that other communities use to identify and improve pedestrian and bicycle safety. Common methods to identify problems include:
- Safety audits
- Level and quality of service also see "A pedestrian level of service method for evaluating and promoting walking facilities on campus streets"
- Intersection safety indices
- Crash typing, using the Pedestrian and Bicycle Crash Analysis Tool
University agencies and researchers have also developed a number of innovative approaches to A number of studies have described methods to identifyevaluate pedestrian and bicycle safety problems in campus environments. These methods include:
- Campus hub assessment
- Hot spot analysis
- Perceived risk analysis
- Self-reported incident analysis
- Crash rate analysis
- Behavior observations
- Expected crash estimation
Prioritize and Recommend Safety Improvements
Once pedestrian and bicycle safety problems are identified, tools such as PEDSAFE and BIKESAFE can be used to select countermeasures to address them. PEDSAFE and BIKEAFE describe the purpose, considerations, safety impacts, and costs of engineering countermeasure options. They also include case studies to illustrate the countermeasures and an expert system that can generate a "short list" of candidate treatment options to address a specific pedestrian or bicycle safety problem.
In addition, locations for improvements can be prioritized using objective methods such as the ActiveTrans Prioritization Tool (APT). This method enables universities to develop a ranked list of locations for improvements based on factors such as safety, demand, public input, connectivity, opportunities, and constraints. The APT allows agencies to select locally-appropriate variables to represent these factors and weight each of the factors according to local preferences.
Many strategies to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety can be categorized into education, enforcement, and engineering treatments. Examples of how these strategies have been applied to university campuses are provided in the next three sections.
Case Study: A Strategic Framework for Implementing Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Improvements
Schneider et al. (2012) used a combination of objective measures and pragmatic opportunities to rank pedestrian and bicycle improvements on and around the University of California, Berkeley campus. This strategic framework provided guidelines about how to move forward with improvements in an environment with multiple jurisdictions and plans. The strategic framework established four implementation categories and one subcategory of recommended projects (see below):
Group 1: Supported by Existing Plan, Straightforward to Implement
This group included specific recommendations that were supported in official planning documents by the City of Berkeley or the University of California, Berkeley. Many of these recommendations had already gone through a public process and were approved by governing bodies. The projects in Group 1 should be relatively straightforward to implement, meaning that the projects were relatively inexpensive, did not involve extensive analysis, or had preliminary studies are already underway.
Group 2: Supported by Existing Plan, Challenging to Implement
Similar to those in Group 1, the recommendations in Group 2 were supported by existing planning documents from the City and University. However, they were more challenging to implement, possibly requiring more detailed design and analysis before a final project concept could be selected. Most were anticipated to involve more public outreach and a large amount of staff time.
Group 3: New Suggestion, Straightforward to Implement
Similar to those in Group 1, the recommendations in Group 3 were anticipated to be relatively straightforward to implement. However, they were not currently supported by an official plan.
Group 4: New Suggestion, Challenging to Implement
Recommendations in this group were new ideas that could be considered in future planning processes. They were not supported by existing plans and they were also more challenging to implement.
Early Action Projects
This framework also designated a key subcategory of early action project recommendations, which could come from any of the four groups described above. Early action recommendations were projects such as signage and marking changes that could be implemented quickly and have an immediate impact on pedestrian and bicyclist comfort and safety. Early action projects also included projects for which detailed studies were currently underway.
Specific infrastructure recommendations were divided into the four main implementation categories. The recommendations within each group were then ordered according to the objective priority ranking score (a combination of suitability, anticipated demand, and reported crash density) calculated for specific locations in the campus area.