Lehman Center for Transportation Research at Florida International University

Comprehensive Study to Reduce Pedestrian Crashes in Florida

  • Sponsor: Florida Department of Transportation
  • Contact: Dr. Albert Gan, (305) 348-3116, gana@fiu.edu

  • Pedestrian safety is of particular concern to Florida as one in every five traffic-related fatalities in the state is a pedestrian. In fact, a recent study by Transportation for America (T4 America) has ranked Florida as the most dangerous state in the country for pedestrians. The same study also ranked 52 large metropolitan areas with over 1 million population. In this ranking, the top four unfortunate spots went to Orlando/Kissimmee, Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Jacksonville, and Miami/Fort Lauderdale/Pompano. These rankings were given based on the Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI), which computes the rate of pedestrian deaths in relative to the amount of walk-to-work trips in an area.

    While one could argue that the index favors metro areas that tend to have a higher percentage of walk-to-work trips, the simple fact remains that Florida has the highest pedestrian deaths per capita based on the 2009 statistics of 2.51 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 population. More recent statistics indicate that the situation may have worsened. In the first six months of 2010, Florida’s pedestrian deaths increased to 243 from 208 of the same months a year before (i.e., a 17% increase). These numbers are in stark contrast to other large states such as Texas, which experienced a 25% reduction over the same periods (from 166 to 124).

    Improving pedestrian safety is a different challenge compared to improving the safety and mobility of vehicular traffic because of the following reasons: pedestrian crashes are rare and often very severe; pedestrian exposure is different from vehicle exposure and is difficult to quantify; and pedestrian crash trends are quite distinctive and are dependent on land use, population demographics, socioeconomic factors, etc. A comprehensive safety analysis to reduce pedestrian crashes should therefore identify pedestrian high crash locations, analyze pedestrian crash causes and patterns, and recommend proven effective countermeasures to address specific crash causes.

    The main goal of this project is to conduct a comprehensive study to improve pedestrian safety on state roads in Florida. Specific objectives of this research are to:
    1. Perform a comprehensive literature search.
    2. Identify pedestrian crash causes.
    3. Conduct descriptive trend analysis on pedestrian crash data to identify crash patterns.
    4. Develop/recommend a method to identify pedestrian high crash locations.
    5. Identify the most effective countermeasures for the identified high pedestrian crash locations and crash causes/patterns.