DOT unveils initiative to improve pedestrian, bicyclist safety

Washington – The Department of Transportation has launched an 18-month campaign aimed at improving pedestrian and bicyclist safety.

Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx on Sept. 10 announced the initiative, stating that DOT field offices in every state will assess road safety and offer resources to help towns build safer streets.

Through the initiative, DOT will conduct research; promote design for safer routes; and talk to safety experts, officials and members of the public about how to improve safety.

DOT also will share information on “road diets” – when roads with lighter traffic are redesigned to provide more space for pedestrians and bicyclists. Road diets decrease traffic crashes by an average of 29 percent, and 47 percent near rural highways in small towns, according to a DOT press release. Additionally, the initiative will work to improve routes to bus stops and train stations.

Assessments already have been conducted in Boston, Dallas/Fort Worth and Lansing, MI.

Pedestrian deaths increased 6 percent and bicyclist deaths rose nearly 7 percent from 2011 to 2012, according to DOT.