Racial and Economic Disparities in Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety

Disproportionate levels of pedestrian crashes, injuries, and fatalities are experienced by Native Americans, people of color, and people with low incomes. Although there is limited data on bicycle injury and fatality disparities, initial research suggests there may be disparities in safety outcomes and in access to safe and comfortable bicycling facilities. There is a need for further data and analysis on exposure to unsafe conditions, such as high-speed and high-volume arterials, and access to safe facilities, including the differences in access based on income versus race. Disparate exposure does not end at traffic safety. Several other issues are also at play including but not limited to an analysis of air quality and public health, driver behavior regarding yielding to pedestrians from these communities, and decisions made regarding whether and when to bike or walk in specific environments. Finally, there is a need to better understand the role of underreporting of pedestrians and bicycle exposure and crashes, particularly for certain groups, and how that might affect the understanding of pedestrian and bicycling safety disparities. The objective of this research is to clarify the strengths, limitations, gaps, and biases of existing data and data sources for understanding active transportation safety equity implications, propose improvements to data collection practices, and improve the application of available data and modeling. This research should seek to disentangle disparities by race and income, since disparities may be different between distinct demographic groups. The research should also assess urban, suburban and rural areas separately, to separate the effects of urban context with race or income effects. The research should also examine walking and bicycling separately, recognizing the commonalities and differences between the modes. Activities to be undertaken could include (1) documenting available data, current data applications, and proposing updates to data collection and application processes to be utilized in assessing pedestrian and bicycle safety disparities; and (2) developing an understanding of the extent and causes of active transportation safety disparities. Better data and a better understanding of how to analyze active transportation safety disparities is a key step in acting to address causes and promote investment in targeted safety programs and infrastructure, and inform policies to improve bicycle and pedestrian data and safety in disadvantaged areas.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $750000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 08-166

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Weeks, Jennifer

  • Start Date: 20220607
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01847359
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 08-166
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: May 26 2022 4:50PM