New York City launches Pedestrian Safety Action Plans

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The New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) has launched ‘Borough Pedestrian Safety Action Plans’ for each of the city’s five boroughs, which are part of its Vision Zero policy that aims to eliminate all deaths from traffic crashes, regardless of whether on foot, bicycle, or inside a motor vehicle. Despite aggressive pedestrian-oriented street re-engineering between 2007 and 2013, citywide pedestrian fatalities have not declined, but increased by 2% in 2012 and 2013, while fatalities to other road users fell by 24%. At the same time, the pedestrian share of overall fatalities rose from 51% to 58%, whereas across the USA, pedestrians make up just 14% of all traffic fatalities. In an effort to drive these fatalities down, NYCDOT and the New York Police Department (NYPD) developed a set of five plans, which analyzes the unique conditions of each borough and recommends actions to address their specific challenges to pedestrian safety. The plans pinpoint the conditions and characteristics of pedestrian fatalities and severe injuries; and also identify corridors, intersections, and areas that disproportionately account for pedestrian fatalities and severe injuries, prioritizing them for safety interventions.

The Action Plans’ proposals include: implementing at least 50 Vision Zero safety engineering improvements annually at Priority Corridors, Intersections, and Areas citywide, informed by community input at project locations; significantly expanding exclusive pedestrian crossing time on all Priority Corridors by the end of 2017; adding exclusive pedestrian crossing times to all feasible Priority Intersections by the end of 2017; modifying signal timing to reduce off-peak speeding on all feasible Priority Corridors by the end of 2017; installing expanded speed limit signage on all Priority Corridors in 2015; coordinating with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to ensure bus operations contribute to a safer pedestrian environment; expanding a bicycle network that improves safety for all road users; proactively designing for pedestrian safety in high-growth areas; implementing the majority of speed camera locations at Priority Corridors, Intersections, and Areas; and concentrating targeted enforcement at all these locations.

Each Borough Plan was shaped by the community input from nine Vision Zero Pedestrian Safety Workshops held across the five boroughs and thousands of comments collected through the interactive Vision Zero Input map. In each borough, ‘heat maps’ were created to highlight locations with the highest density of pedestrian fatalities and severe injuries. The maps were then used to create borough Priority Maps, which were built on borough crash data, rather than citywide data. NYCDOT and NYPD are tasked with addressing road safety for all residents in all boroughs, so creating five separate action plans was the most practical way to develop a robust set of focused, effective actions for each of the districts.

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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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