Untangling the Growing Pedestrian Safety Problem on Urban Arterials

The safety literature identifies urban arterials as a leading contributor to the rise in pedestrian fatalities in the United States, among other factors. These arterials are linked to pedestrian crashes on wide, straight roads with high traffic speeds and volume. Previous studies have also shown that most pedestrian deaths occur at midblock locations on high-speed roads during nighttime, which are common features of pedestrian crashes on arterials. The definition of arterial provided by the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) based on functional classification raises concerns as it may underestimate the severity of pedestrian crashes on roads with similar design features to urban arterials but not classified as such. This research will investigate the relationship between crashes on urban arterials and their relationship to areas with high pedestrian activity, such as low-income neighborhoods and public transit stops. It will also delve into factors like driver distractions and fatigue caused by monotonous driving on urban arterials, vehicle speed and volume, and the effects of suburbanization of poverty and gentrification. By utilizing pedestrian crash data, including records of injury severity from California, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, the study will differentiate between crashes with a high likelihood of being fatal—such as those on arterials or comparable roads—and relatively less severe incidents like parking lot collisions or low-speed neighborhood crashes. This distinction will involve the use of machine learning methods and intuitive categorizations. Following this, the study plans to integrate the crash data with census attributes, police narratives, and other geographical data sources to gain insights into changes in population, land-use patterns, and vehicle-related details. In doing so, the research will effectively address the core research questions. Overall, this study intends to identify the most hazardous forms of pedestrian crashes and understand their characteristics.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $95090
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Center for Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety

    University of New Mexico
    Albuquerque, NM  United States  87131
  • Project Managers:

    Melendrez, Carman

    Stearns, Amy

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Tennessee, Knoxville

    Center for Transportation Research (CTR)
    Knoxville, TN  United States  37996
  • Principal Investigators:

    Cherry, Christopher

  • Start Date: 20230601
  • Expected Completion Date: 20240531
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01890195
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Center for Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3552348336
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Aug 17 2023 4:54PM