Pedestrian safety is a growing concern for transportation planners and safety engineers within North Carolina and across thecountry. Pedestrians are extremely vulnerable users of the transportation system and are particularly subject to serious injuries and fatalities in the event of a crash. For example, while pedestrians are involved in just 1% of all crashes in NC, they are represented in 10% of those crashes involving serious injuries or fatalities. The 2019 update to the North Carolina Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) identifies pedestrians, bicyclists, and other non-motorized users as a critical emphasis area within the broader objective of providing a safer transportation system to all North Carolinians. Furthermore, while the number of motor vehicle crashes has decreased significantly during 2020 due to reduced vehicular travel, pedestrian-related crashes have remained relatively steady throughout the year.
The goal of this project was to inform the systemic safety process for pedestrian safety on roadway segments in North Carolina. With this goal in mind, the specific objectives were to: 1) identify and quantify systemic risk factors for pedestrian safety on North Carolina roads; and, 2) develop guidance for analysts at NCDOT and local agencies within the state on how to apply these risk factors to proactively address potential safety concerns. Risk factors were developed for both fatal and severe pedestrian crashes, as well as all pedestrian crashes, on urban roadway segments. The products of this research can provide guidance on how to implement systemic pedestrian safety analysis in North Carolina, focusing on the identification and use of pedestrian risk factors in urban areas.