Skip Top Navigation

Research - Multimodal


Research Implementation Plan

Project Title:
 Managing Pedestrian Safety I: Injury Severity
Project WA-RD#: 671.1
Principal Investigator: Anne Vernez Moudon, Dr. es Sc.
Professor of Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Urban Design and Planning, Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology and Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington
Technical Monitor: Paula Reeves, Paula Reeves, Community Design Assistance, Branch Manager, WSDOT Highways and Local Programs

Description of Problem:
Each year an average of 85 pedestrians are involved in fatal collisions in Washington. In 2007, the Governor set a goal for traffic accidents called Target Zero and developed strategies to minimize and work to eliminate fatalities. This study is part of the effort to better understand the cause of accidents by examining the relationships between road (state route only), community characteristics, and risk of collisions occurring between pedestrians and motor vehicles.

Major Discovery:
The study focused on pedestrian-vehicle collisions on state routes within King County. King County accounts for approximately 28 percent of the state’s population, and yet it has 44 percent of the state’s pedestrian collisions, 34 percent of pedestrian fatalities, and 41.7 percent of disabling pedestrian injuries.
The result of this analysis showed that fatal and high-injury pedestrian collisions were strongly and significantly associated with two factors:

  1. Severe injuries were more likely to occur with vehicles moving straight ahead on the roadway, versus turning vehicles and all other types of vehicle actions. This study established a connection between speed and severity of pedestrian collisions by demonstrating that vehicles moving straight ahead are typically moving faster, and therefore collisions are more likely to be severe.
  2. Pedestrians crossing at unmarked and unsignalized intersections were almost four times more likely to be injured or die than when crossing at walk ways, signalized intersections or walking along the roadway. This is especially true in multi-lane roadway settings with nearby retail attractions.

Use of the information and Value to WSDOT:
We learned from this research there are a series of treatments that should be applied at crossings on multiple-lane roads in urban areas where there are retail areas such as groceries, restaurants and other retail outlets. Those treatments go beyond placing a striped crossing and may include such things as medians, lighting and pedestrian-activated signals.

The information gained from this research will aid the Washington State Department of Transportation as it updates its State Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan and builds a prioritized list of non-motorized projects. Pedestrian collision “hot spots” will be considered as part of the prioritization process. Hot spots are locations with higher than average risk of collision in a concentrated area.

WSDOT is currently using the research to select hot spots for further study and to develop treatments that reduce collisions. Knowledge gained will contribute to future traffic safety programs, policies, and standards.

Implementation Plan Checklist

Results achieved
through this research
Items/Actions needed to
implement results
x Knowledge to assist WSDOT x Management decision
  Manual change   Funding
x Policy development or change   Training
  Development of software/computer
  Information technology deployment
  Development of new process x Information sharing
x Additional research needed   Other (specify)
  Project produced no usable results    
  Other (describe)