Tag Archives: active transportation

Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety at Intersection: Phase 2

Different Modes = Different Experiences

While the transportation network is meant to accommodate a variety of transportation modes, the experience varies for users of each mode. Cyclists and pedestrians face a greater risk of injury or death when involved in a crash as compared to drivers/passengers of motor vehicles. Crashes involving active travel modes are most likely to occur at an intersection, therefore it is imperative to understand what characteristics make any given intersection safer or more dangerous.

Map of Davis count with red and green dots

Davis County study results: high-risk = red, low-risk = green

Expanding the Geographic Scope

The goal of this research was to build upon the findings from a pilot study of Salt Lake County (2012) to examine which characteristics of the built-environment, roadways, and signal programming have the biggest impact on safety and crash rates for active travelers. This phase of data collection examined intersections in Weber, Davis, and Utah Counties.

Collecting the Data

Using data from the Utah Office of Highway Safety and UDOT, crashes involving at least one pedestrian or cyclists were highlighted within the study area. Intersections with the highest numbers of incidents were then further evaluated on 83 distinct criteria. Intersections with very low crash rates were also evaluated and included in the analysis for comparison.

What Makes an Intersection Dangerous?

The analysis found that incorporating longer signal lengths, reducing the presence of left turn arrows, and limiting non-residential driveways within 100 meters of intersections can significantly reduce the number of non-motorized accidents. Additionally, road construction at intersections was shown to significantly increase the number of non-motorized incidents; particularly those involving cyclists.

Graphic of car turning left into the path of straight traveling bicyclist

Left Turn Parallel Path Problem

System Improvements Benefit All Users

Addressing these issues and enacting appropriate improvements will not only improve safety conditions for non-motorized users, but will likely also provide an enhanced travel experience for automobile travelers and result in additional external benefits of traffic calming and improved flow.

Next Steps…

A follow-up to this research is currently underway, and will examine intersection safety off the Wasatch Front in Cache, Tooele, and Washington Counties, as well as in Moab City.

This guest post was written by Shaunna K. Burbidge, Ph.D., Active Planning and Jason Richins, S.E., UDOT Research Project Manager and was originally published in the Research Newsletter.

Getting Active

Photo of people listening to a speaker.

Road Respect Tour representative addresses a crowd in Cedar City. Communities take the lead, with UDOT support, to develop active transportation plans and activities.

A flexible, non-traditional approach to planning provides a learning environment for UDOT and stakeholders and empowers community members to see active transportation opportunities.

Many know about the Road Respect cycling tour – it’s an outreach and education effort, started in 2011, that promotes bicycling and emphasizes safe, respectful cycling and driving. Road Respect has moved beyond annual tours and built on the good will generated by cyclist-ambassadors.

Today, Road Respect Community – an off-shoot of the annual Road Respect Tour – connects UDOT with communities and policy makers to plan and improve active transportation options.

Under the Road Respect Community Program, cities and towns throughout Utah are leveraging and building on what they already have in place to create comprehensive approaches to bicycle planning. The program begins with a forum that examines issues and solutions having to do with local bicycling. The forums bring together representatives from UDOT, local cities and counties, planning and law enforcement agencies, cycling advocates, and community members who have an interest in active transportation.

Photo of groups discussing cycling issues

Road Respect Communities connects UDOT with cyclists and policy makers to plan and improve active transportation options.

The initial forum centers on addressing the concerns of the community. Then community members are invited to take the ideas generated during the forum and work with local government leaders and UDOT to improve area active transportation in an ongoing process. “We have enjoyed a lot of success in our Road Respect Community program,” explains Evelyn Tuddenham, UDOT’s Bike-Pedestrian Coordinator. “The forums have put several communities on the fast-track to improving active transportation options.”

Example: Moab Main Street

An intense business, trucking and travel corridor, Moab Main Street is also a route cyclists use to get to the many trails that let tourists experience the beautiful, matchless red rock landscape. Business owners along the corridor are glad to accommodate the influx of tourists. But the community members, cycling groups and leaders were concerned with how to get cyclists around town and on and off trails safely.

Photo of facilitator hanging papers up with ideas written on them

A forum facilitator posts issues on a display board for all attendees to see.

The issues forum in Moab helped educate the stakeholder groups about available options along the multi-use corridor. “When we left Moab, there was a much better understanding by the locals about the mobility issues UDOT was faced with on a street that needed to accommodate a wide variety of users, from pedestrians and bicycles, to large trucks,” says Tuddenham. Together, the forum attendees came up with ideas for mapping and signs. UDOT is now looking at solutions for pedestrian crossings. These efforts will help improve mobility and safety for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists. Community members will continue to work with UDOT to find additional solutions.

Making connections

“With Road Respect Community forums, we are able to get people together in an informal, nonthreatening settng,” says Tuddenham. Such a setting can foster trust, enhance dialogue among disparate groups. Once citizens are able to voice their concerns and be trained about options, ideas for solutions inevitably follow. Road Respect Community forums have:

  1. Helped community groups, including local cities or county planning or law enforcement agencies, and cycling advocacy groups, understand how UDOT functions.
  2. Connected UDOT with communities to strengthen the relationship between UDOT regional offices and the public.
  3. Empowered communities to take the lead, with UDOT support, to develop active transportation plans and activities.

UDOT U is funding a report about the program so other UDOT programs can use the collaboration and training approach as a model.

Road Respect Community is a grass-roots effort that fosters education and action. The program has moved UDOT forward in the effort to unite with community groups and other government agencies to collaborate and develop active transportation plans across the state.

This guest post was originally published in the UDOT U Summer 2014 newsletter.