Impact of roadway design characteristics on pedestrian safety

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Kukla, Christopher
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Community and Regional Planning

Community and regional planning is a professional field of study aimed at assessing the ever-changing socioeconomic and physical environments of our communities and planning for their future. Planners evaluate and seize opportunities to understand and solve problems. Most planners work at the local level, but they are concerned with issues that affect the world: the preservation and enhancement of the quality of life in a community, the protection of the environment, the promotion of equitable economic opportunity; and the management of growth and change of all kinds.

The Department of Community and Regional Planning was established in 1978 when it was split from the Department of Landscape Architecture and Community Planning.

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Most vehicle/pedestrian crashes in the United States occur in urban areas, and over three-fourths of these crashes take place at non-intersection or "midblock" locations. There are a number of factors that may play a role in a vehicle/pedestrian crash, these include: the environment, motorist, pedestrian, and the roadway. Of these factors, roadway design and layout can be addressed on a consistent basis. Previous research on pedestrian safety has focused on a specific crash type or roadway improvement. This research will look at the combined impacts of multiple roadway design features. Determining if there is a relationship between multiple roadway design features and vehicle/pedestrian crashes will increase an understanding of how to make the road environment safer for pedestrians. This research measures the relationship between roadway design characteristics and vehicle/pedestrian crashes in Des Moines, Iowa, using a regression model. For this regression model, crash density was used as the criterion in order to normalize the number of crashes due to the study segments being of varying lengths. The regression model explains the relationship between the relevant predictors and the criterion. The resulting regression equation shows that both on-street parking and number of lanes are positively related to the vehicle/pedestrian crash density. These results help to explain why certain road segments in Des Moines have a higher number of vehicle/pedestrian crashes. They also show that more than one factor can play a role in this type of crash and that multiple factors should be taken into account when improving the pedestrian safety of a road segment.

Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2004