Evaluation of Sustained Enforcement, Education, and Engineering Measures on Pedestrian Crossings

Principal Investigator(s):

Nichole Morris, Director, Mechanical Engineering


Project summary:

Pedestrian fatalities and injuries represent a growing percentage of all traffic fatalities and injuries. For example, pedestrian fatalities comprised 10.9 percent of all traffic deaths nationwide in 2004, but 14.5 percent in 2013. A behavioral approach to safety culture would suggest changing one safety target area at a time. If one changes a number of safety related behaviors in a specific area, such as pedestrian safety and speeding, one should expect changes to transfer to untreated safety related behaviors. A recent study supported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) demonstrated that an element of the driving culture could be changed on a citywide basis using a multifaceted program that systematically applied psychological behavioral principles on a community level. The objective of this study is to review the City of St. Paul's effort to improve pedestrian safety and investigate whether a program similar to the NHTSA-supported study could be applied to changing the driving culture related to yielding to pedestrians and speed compliance on arterial and collector roads on a citywide basis. The multifaceted activities will be planned and implemented in St. Paul together with city traffic engineers and enforcement officers. This study will add value to developing livable communities by: 1) analyzing effectiveness of previous and newly implemented countermeasures to change two significant targets (yielding to pedestrians and speed reduction); 2) investigating whether effectiveness could be transferred to other safety areas; and 3) examining long-term maintenance of the behavior changes produced by program implementation. Morris is working with Dr. Ron Van Houten (Western Michigan University), who serves as the Vice President for Research of the Center for Education and Research in Safety. Morris and Van Houten both conduct research for the Roadway Safety Institute (RSI), the Region 5 University Transportation Center (UTC) funded through the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) federal transportation bill passed in 2012. This project marks the first research collaboration between two of RSI's partner institutions.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2018010
  • Start date: 06/2017
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Transportation Safety and Traffic Flow
  • Topics: Pedestrian, Safety, Traffic operations