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NHTSA's New Guide Improves Older Pedestrian Safety

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

NHTSA's New Guide Improves Older Pedestrian Safety

December 14, 1998

NHTSA 83-98
December 14, 1998
Contact: Tim Hurd
Tel. No. (202) 366-9550

Communities And Neighborhoods Can Adopt Guidelines

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today released a how-to guide based on a "zone" safety concept that has reduced older pedestrian crashes by up to 46 percent within those zones.

"Safety is President Clinton's highest priority, and this concept can improve safety for older Americans in their neighborhoods," said Ricardo Martinez, M.D., NHTSA administrator. "Our zone process targets small areas where large number of crashes occur and suggests countermeasures to save lives."

The process begins by identifying zones or small areas within the city containing high concentrations of crashes. Key stakeholders in the community then decide among a set of behavioral and engineering approaches for reducing the problem.

Some advice is aimed at pedestrians--how they can make themselves more conspicuous to oncoming traffic. Other advice is geared to motorists--what drivers should do when they see a car stopped in an adjacent travel lane. Concurrent with the advice are engineering approaches--improved traffic signs, greater crosswalk visibility, and better sight distances--to enhance pedestrian safety at specific locations within the zones.

NHTSA research in one city showed a 13 percent overall decrease in crashes involving older pedestrians. Within the zones which received focus, there was a 46 percent drop in such crashes. These decreases occurred despite an increase in younger pedestrian crashes and an overall increase in the number of city residents. Targeting specific locations and age groups within zones, as opposed to blanketing entire geographic areas, resulted in estimated savings of more than $200,000.

For a copy of the Zone Guide for Pedestrian Safety, write the Office of Research and Traffic Records, NTS-31, NHTSA, 400 7th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20590, or fax a request to (202) 366-7096.

A synopsis of the zone guide, Traffic Tech, No. 181, Zone Guide for Pedestrian Safety Shows How to Make Systematic Improvements, is available at the same address and fax number.

Study findings are described more fully in a companion technical report titled "Development, Implementation and Evaluation of a Pedestrian Safety Zone for Elderly Pedestrians."

The study and a synopsis of the study, Traffic Tech. No. 174, Field Test of a Safety Zone Program for Older Pedestrians, are also available at the same address and fax number.


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