Improving Pedestrian Safety and Community Engagement in Virginia with a Pedestrian Safety Action Plan
Pedestrian Crossing | October 2021
“Virginia’s PSAP is not just a plan, but a tool to accelerate pedestrian safety improvements through policy changes and funding projects.”
- Mark Cole, State Highway Safety Engineer, Virginia DOT
Figure 1. Frye Road Crossing before (top) and after (bottom). Source: Virginia DOT
Between 2012 and 2016, more than 450 pedestrians died and over 8,000 were injured while walking along or across Virginia’s public roads. Over 90 percent of these crashes occurred when the pedestrian was crossing the street, and more than half were at mid-block pedestrian crossings.
In 2016, Virginia DOT developed a Pedestrian Safety Action Plan (PSAP) to better understand Virginia’s pedestrian safety concerns, recommend policy changes, and identify and fund locations for pedestrian safety projects. Virginia DOT performed a systemic analysis of the road network to identify corridors with higher association with selected crash risk factors. In 2018, they announced a program to use Highway Safety Improvement Program funding for pedestrian safety projects and hosted workshops to educate local agencies on the program. The first round yielded 59 project proposals, from which 25 pedestrian safety projects were funded (totaling $8 million) at locations identified in the PSAP. One of these projects was on Frye Road, a multi-lane roadway, where a rectangular rapid flashing beacon and refuge island were constructed. (Figure 1)
Virginia DOT’s implementation of the PSAP is improving pedestrian safety. For example, between 2015 and 2019, there were nine reported crashes at or near the Frye Road crossing (five of which involved pedestrians including one pedestrian fatality, one pedestrian serious injury, and four other injured pedestrians. In the 18 months since the project was completed, there have been zero reported pedestrian crashes at this location. While it is still early, Virginia DOT is greatly encouraged by the preliminary results and hopeful pedestrian crashes will continue to be reduced or eliminated going forward.