Having spent the past week on a GROW AMERICA Express bus tour of five southern states to highlight surface transportation infrastructure needs, US Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx, has returned to Washington and announced that more than 85 cities have already signed up to participate in the US Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People and Safer Streets. Mayors and team leaders from each city will attend a Safer People, Safer Streets Summit in March and then take significant action over the next year to improve pedestrian and bicycle transportation safety in their communities. While overall highway fatalities have been declining, pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities have been on the rise in recent years and now represent nearly 17% of total road deaths. The Mayors’ Challenge aims to reduce this trend through seven Challenge activities that are based on the latest pedestrian and bicyclist safety innovations.
More cities and other jurisdictions are expected to sign up for the Challenge before it officially begins on March 12 with a Mayoral Summit, which will be held at the USDOT headquarters in Washington, DC. Participants will discuss how to implement or build upon the Challenge’s seven activity areas, learn about USDOT and stakeholder resources they can use during the Challenge, and network with their peers. The Mayors’ Challenge is a vital piece of Foxx’s overall pedestrian and bicycle safety initiative. In September, he announced the launch of the Safer People, Safer Streets initiative and asked USDOT field offices to conduct road safety assessments in every state, which will be completed this spring. In March 2016, cities participating in the Challenge will reconvene for a capstone meeting to share lessons learned and celebrate their successes.
“Strong local leadership is essential to making safety gains in a community, so I’m thrilled to see so many Mayors from across the country joining our Challenge,” said Foxx. “With Mayors signing up from small towns and large cities to prioritize bicycle and pedestrian safety, I know we’ll be able to reduce fatalities and injuries, while making our roads safer for all users.”