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“E is for Everybody”: Using Equity to Prioritize Pedestrian Safety Projects and Make the Case for Greater State Funding

Background

Like many States across the country, Virginia is facing a pedestrian safety crisis. On average, 70-90 pedestrians were killed per year from the early 2000s to 2016. Starting in 2016, pedestrian fatalities increased dramatically to 111 to 122 per year; this was followed by a large increase to over 170 in 2022. To address this crisis and reach their goal of zero deaths, which is set in the State’s SHSP, VDOT developed a Pedestrian Safety Action Plan (PSAP). Through collaboration with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), VDOT incorporated VDH’s Health Opportunity Index (HOI) in their PSAP update to proactively and systemically prioritizes locations for pedestrian safety improvements.

Equity Approaches for Vision Zero: San Francisco

Summary

To promote equity in the Vision Zero program, San Francisco has created a strong partnership between traditional transportation stakeholders, public health experts, and the community. The city is using public health methods to ensure accurate and transparent collection and analysis of roadway crash fatalities and injuries to create more complete data. This comprehensive, data-driven analysis allows the City to prioritize safety improvements on roadways on the High-Injury Network located in Equity Priority Neighborhoods, where these investments will make the most progress toward reaching the City’s goal of zero deaths.

MnDOT’s SPACE Tool: Using Equity Data to Inform Active Transportation Safety

Background

Minnesota DOT (MnDOT) strives to serve all Minnesota residents by creating a multimodal transportation system that maximizes the health of people, the environment, and the economy. Between 2016 and 2020, 228 pedestrians and 42 bicyclists were killed in motor vehicle crashes in Minnesota. MnDOT partnered with the Office of Traffic Safety within the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and the Minnesota Department of Health, along with other Federal, State, and local partners, to implement the Toward Zero Deaths program. Minnesota’s Toward Zero Deaths mission is to “create a culture for which traffic fatalities and serious injuries are no longer acceptable.”

As part of the implementation of the Toward Zero Deaths program, MnDOT focuses on three strategies: improving active transportation, improving safety, and improving transportation equity across Minnesota’s transportation system. MnDOT developed the SPACE tool―Suitability for the Pedestrian and Cycling Environment―a GIS-based spatial analysis tool using publicly available data. An index of 19 social and demographic variables identifies where latent demand and crash risk exist on Minnesota’s roadways, what areas warrant additional investigation, and helps with the selection and prioritization of projects and where to direct investments.

The SPACE tool is now available for anyone to use. Visit: mndotspace.mn.gov/