New York State invests US$62m in pedestrian safety upgrades on state and local roads

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Governor Andrew M Cuomo has announced a US$62m investment as part of the groundbreaking Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, a multi-agency initiative to use engineering, education and enforcement campaigns to enhance pedestrian safety across New York State.

More than US$22m of the funding is going toward the first batch of pedestrian safety projects on state roads, which are currently underway, while US$40m is being invested to enhance pedestrian safety on local roadways. In addition to the US$62m pedestrian safety investment, a police enforcement and education campaign focusing on correct motorist and pedestrian behavior will run until the end of June.

The new pedestrian safety projects are funded through the Governor’s five-year US$110m NYS Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, which calls for a systemic approach to proactively address safety issues and minimize the potential for crashes through engineering, enforcement and education. The initiative launched in 2016 and will run through State Fiscal Year 2020. The plan targets improvements in communities outside of New York City, which already has an established pedestrian safety program that receives millions in federal funding from the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT).

Pedestrian safety site evaluations began last year on state-owned roadways, including at 2,000 crosswalks without traffic signals, and 2,400 signalized intersections. The assessments identified cost-effective upgrades that greatly improve safety for pedestrians. Upgrades include the installation of high-visibility crosswalk markings and additional signs, as well as signalization enhancements, such as extended crossing times, countdown timers that tell pedestrians how many seconds they have to cross the street, and leading pedestrian intervals that help make pedestrians more visible to motorists by giving them a head start before traffic can turn onto the street. Projects on local roads were selected through the NYSDOT’s capital program. Funding is being provided for cost-effective upgrades that greatly improve safety for pedestrians. Upgrades could include the installation of high visibility crosswalk markings and additional signs, as well as signalization enhancements.

Analysis of crash data included in the 2016 plan determined that an average of 300 pedestrians are killed and 15,000 injured by motor vehicles in New York State each year, and more than 25% of motor-vehicle-related fatalities are pedestrians. Figure show that 61% of the contributing factors to these crashes were related to driver actions, including driver inattention and failure to yield right of way. The top two pedestrian actions that contributed to crashes were pedestrian error and pedestrian failure to yield right of way.

“Pedestrian safety impacts residents of all ages and in all communities, and it is critical that we make our roads safer for everyone,” said Cuomo. “By making significant investments in our roads, educating the public, and cracking down on lawbreakers, New York is supporting eco-friendly transportation in our downtowns, while enhancing pedestrian safety in all corners of the state.”

NYSDOT’s acting commissioner, Paul A Karas, commented, “Combining public education and law enforcement efforts with road improvements, such as installation of new signs, pavement markings or pedestrian signals, will create safer, more walkable communities across New York State.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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