The report provides valuable information on the relationship between driver speed and pedestrian safety, discusses the benefits of a Safe System approach, and outlines strategies and countermeasures to address pedestrian safety through speed management. Local agencies can find best practices, tools, and strategies that can be used to redesign streets in order to lower speeds and improve pedestrian safety.

The holiday season also tends to include celebrations involving alcohol, which can lead to more impaired drivers and pedestrians on the roads. In one analysis, NHTSA found that usually there are about 36 fatalities a day from crashes involving alcohol impaired drivers, but that number increased to 45 per day during the three days around Christmas and jumped to 54 per day over the New Year’s holiday period. DUI arrests are at their highest between Thanksgiving and the end of New Year’s weekend.
These realities—that speed management can be fraught with difficulty—have spurred creative thinking about how to work within contextual confines, resulting in some particularly noteworthy and promising practices. For example, the City of Nashville anticipated potential backlash against speed-management efforts and thus chose to work with advocacy groups to identify areas of the city desiring walkability improvements. By installing walkability improvements in those areas first, city leaders created instant wins that could be used as leverage for future projects.

The authors of the synthesis found there may be a need for greater clarity about the speed-limit-setting process, as well as for greater collaboration between local and state agencies when state roads run through urban areas. In particular, it may be worth exploring whether there is a need for a framework that will foster collaboration between local and state staff on safety initiatives such as achieving flexibility in roadway design, changing laws or regulations that govern speed-limit setting, and finding a balance between local safety needs and regional mobility needs. Such a framework may support both local and state agencies attempting to address safety issues and reach larger goals as articulated through movements like Vision Zero.

Whether you’re the driver or the pedestrian, always be alert and attentive. Everyone deserves to reach their destination! Check out the PDF for strategies you can utilize to help keep pedestrians safe!