National Pedestrian Safety Month: MTC, Caltrans seek ways to promote protection

Pedestrian safety
Mark Prado

October is National Pedestrian Safety Month and Caltrans is stepping up its efforts to enhance safety and educate the public on how to keep pedestrians safe. 

Pedestrian deaths have steadily increased nationally over the last decade, up more than 40% since 2010. In California, pedestrians account for nearly a quarter of all fatalities on public roads, significantly higher than the national average, according to Caltrans. 

Caltrans is working to enhance pedestrian safety on the state highway system by investigating high-risk locations to determine the best safety improvements. Such improvements include: 

  • Signal timing enhancement and extended pedestrian crossing times 
  • Intersection and roadway design changes, such as sidewalks, curb extensions, and roundabouts or raised intersections that provide enhanced pedestrian safety in high traffic locations 
  • New pedestrian signs and markings, including high-visibility crosswalks, advanced stop and yield markings, or "yield to pedestrian" signs. 

Caltrans has already implemented these safety measures at several locations and is working to identify further safety improvements. 

Safety is also top of mind at MTC. The MTC-led Vision Zero Working Group met for the first time this year to exchange ideas on how to make the Bay Area a safer place for pedestrians, bicyclists and others.

MTC has adopted a regional Safety/Vision Zero policy and has begun development on a Regional Integrated Safety Data System to provide jurisdictions with a consistent source of data and tools for conducting safety analyses and informing their safety plans and projects. More information on the Vision Zero Working Group can be found here.