According to the National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of Smart Growth America, between 2005 and 2014 a total of 46,149 people were struck and killed by cars while walking in the United States. There is a direct link between increased speeds and a greater risk for pedestrians when a car crashes into them.
Lowering speed limits can help improve safety, and better roadway design plays an integral role in altering driver behavior and reducing crash risk. Design treatments and countermeasures can be active and passive measures for improving driver behavior.
To reduce traffic fatalities and injuries, communities across the country have employed a Four E's strategy: education, engineering, enforcement and evaluation. The Coalition and SGA educate professionals and community members on the best practices in engineering to develop a safe systems approach to their transportation planning, design and implementation by creating an innovative Safe Streets Academy, which educates and trains transportation and public works professionals on the best practices in engineering countermeasures and roadway design to reduce speeds and pedestrian fatalities.
Through a competitive application process, the Coalition will select participants from three jurisdictions to form a Safe Streets Academy cohort. Over a 12-month time frame, the cohort will participate in in-person workshops, distance trainings, and hands-on learning. Using lectures, case studies, and interactive workshops, they will educate the cohort on topics such as planning and designing for slower speeds, active transportation, Vision Zero, planning freight and transit planning, and learn how to update their plans, process and decision-making to support safe streets. Each jurisdiction will host one of the in-person trainings so the cohort can see first-hand the opportunities and challenges of each community.
To complete the Academy, each jurisdiction will design and implement one demonstration project on an identified corridor or intersection in their community that faces serious safety challenges. The DOT must work with their community to design, plan and execute the project. The Academy graduates will be equipped with new tools, skills, ideas and experience with effective engineering countermeasures to control speeds.