Connecticut Pedestrian Safety Study and Strategic Plan Development

Pedestrians are one of the most vulnerable road users and their safety continues to be a priority in the State of Connecticut. Current data on pedestrian-involved crashes in Connecticut are collected from police crash reports. Collision statistics alone provide insufficient information for pedestrian safety studies because of the lack of details. The lack of available data makes it challenging to perform meaningful analysis of these types of crashes. Therefore, the Connecticut Safety Research Center (CTSRC) and the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) will conduct this research study aimed at better understanding pedestrian risk taking behavior and how it can be used to evaluate and predict vehicle-pedestrian crashes in Connecticut. The types of conflicts occurring between pedestrians and vehicles vary due to a wide range of interaction types and roadway design variables. Regional and cultural difference play a major role in the behavior of pedestrians and their interactions with vehicles, and it is critically important to understand local pedestrian behavior. The information obtained during this study can be used to design a plan which addresses pedestrian safety through outreach, education, innovative engineering treatment(s) and simulated driving scenarios. There are two primary objectives of this research project: 1) To conduct a statewide pedestrian crash analysis which considers location, traffic volumes, roadway geometry and roadway classification to identify locations with high pedestrian crash rates. These locations could then be ranked, prioritized and targeted for research and evaluation. 2) To study these intersections to gain a better understanding of non-motorist and driver behavior in order to develop a strategic safety plan to reduce risk taking behavior and improve pedestrian safety in Connecticut. Upon analysis of the research data, the CTSRC will work with the CTDOT and the Pedestrian Safety Working Group to review current traffic control policies in Connecticut and discuss ways to improve pedestrian safety. In addition, other states and territories will be used as benchmarks in terms of best practices in effective methods of social norming and education. The outcome of the strategic plan will be used to develop a sample safety campaign. The research team and potential consultant will develop this campaign, in coordination with the Highway Safety Office, to educate and change the behavior of drivers and pedestrians by creating awareness around the greatest influences that impact their safety. This campaign could potentially incorporate behavioral messaging, enforcement, and/or engineering treatments to the surrounding areas. The final phase of this study will conclude with the installation of a full scale driving simulator to allow for more in-depth and innovative research into driver and pedestrian behavior. The principal benefit of this project is a reduction in fatal and serious injury crashes involving pedestrians.