Federal Highway Administration Launches Pedestrian Safety Initiative

Monday, November 08, 2010

The Department of Transportation has actively encouraged walking and bicycling as means of transportation.  However, there are safety concerns when more people are walking and bicycling that have not been adequately addressed.  This week, the Federal Highway Administration launched a pedestrian safety initiative to encourage walking and prevent pedestrian accidents.

The Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration launched the initiative in conjunction with the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center.  The initiative is called Walk Friendly Communities, and it aims to encourage communities across the country to promote pedestrian safety.  According to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the initiative will increase pedestrian safety measures in communities across the country.  These measures will be aimed at presenting walking as a safe means of moving about a neighborhood.

How the program works is by encouraging communities to apply for a Walk Friendly Community designation.  Communities that apply for the designation will receive plenty of suggestions, tools and resources on improving pedestrian safety in their neighborhood.  Implementing pedestrian safety measures and preventing accidents can be much more challenging than we know.  It helps substantially to have access to knowledge and resources to promote safety in your neighborhood. 

The Federal Highway Administration has tested the viability of Walk Friendly Communities.  A pilot test was conducted, including nine communities that tested the application and online assessment tool.  The Federal Highway Administration is currently accepting applications from communities from now through December 15, 2010.

The Walk Friendly Communities program will evaluate safety in a community through questions related to engineering, encouragement, education, evaluation and planning.  According to the website, Walk Friendly Communities includes pedestrian safety programs that have been developed to encourage communities, towns and cities across the country to make a commitment towards a safer walking environment.  The program is meant to encourage those communities that want to work hard at improving safety, access, and comfort for pedestrians. 

Broadly, a Walk Friendly Community is a city or town that has been found to have a commitment to improving pedestrian safety through the competence of programs and policies.  When a community applies for Walk Friendly Community designation, it receives plenty of suggestions and resources on production safety.  Through questionnaires that are included in the assessment tool, communities can identify the areas where there is need for improvement.  Based on this, pedestrian safety programs can be developed and implemented.  Besides, communities that are designated as Walk Friendly Communities will be rewarded through national recognition for these pedestrian accident prevention efforts.

California pedestrian accident attorneys would encourage any efforts by federal safety agencies to improve safety for pedestrians.  There is no question that we need to encourage walking and bicycling as viable and safe means of transportation in order to reduce our dependence on fuel.  However, that won't happen if we continue to bypass and ignore safety.


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