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Mobilizing for pedestrian safety: an experiment in community action

Abstract

In contrast to the steady reduction in mortality and morbidity from collisions involving motor vehicle occupants, relatively little progress has been made in controlling motor vehicle/pedestrian collisions. Engineering modifications are the most effective means of reducing such collisions, but mainly because of their cost, and public apathy about pedestrian safety, are too rarely employed.

A modest experiment in community action was undertaken by attempting to induce the authorities of 10 small cities to apply for state funds to create a single model pedestrian refuge in their respective communities. Our hope was that this model would later lead to more widespread improvements. The key elements of the campaign were organizing local pedestrian safety task forces, compiling local pedestrian injury statistics, and publicizing the stories of pedestrian injury victims.

At the conclusion of the planning process, all 10 target communities submitted grant applications and all 10 received full grant funding. Five projects were completed as planned, two are under construction, and the plans for three were abandoned.

Pedestrian safety is not an issue that captures public attention. To make progress, goals must be modest, and a dedicated constituency must be developed. “Victim advocacy” is a vital part of this process. Progress in injury control requires concerted community action.

  • accidents
  • traffic/prevention and control
  • environment design
  • lobbying
  • mass media
  • survivors/psychology
  • HIPRC, Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center
  • WSDOT, Washington State Department of Transportation
  • accidents
  • traffic/prevention and control
  • environment design
  • lobbying
  • mass media
  • survivors/psychology
  • HIPRC, Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center
  • WSDOT, Washington State Department of Transportation

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