The Role of Urban Form, and Demographics, and Disadvantaged Communities in Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety

One of the core objectives of the National Roadway Safety Strategy (NRSS) is to enable safety for all road users, especially vulnerable road users (VRU) that include pedestrians and bicyclists. Meanwhile, the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) is taking initiatives to understand and, where appropriate, resolve disproportionate safety impacts of crashes on historically disadvantaged communities (DACs). In this regard, the USDOT released data on such communities at the census tract level through the Justice40 initiative and aimed to address transportation equity issues. Specifically, six comprehensive indicators identify DACs based on economy, environment, equity, health, resilience, and transportation. A fundamental research question to be answered is whether the DAC indicators, urban form (e.g., density, land use mix, alternative mode infrastructure), and demographics (race or gender) are correlated with higher levels of pedestrian and bicyclist crashes at the national and regional levels. All three are closely related, e.g., the urban form can lead to segregation and concentration of DACs with limited access to resources such as safe infrastructure, services, and economic opportunities. Additionally, when analyzing pedestrian and bicycle safety, the study will investigate the extent of inequities regarding transportation safety and the presence of spatial heterogeneity and explore the safe systems interventions to effectively address vulnerable road user safety. The study will create a unique large-scale dataset by combining ten years of fatal crash data with demographic information and DAC indicators for the 72,000-plus census tracts in the US. The data is proposed to be analyzed using descriptives to understand data characteristics and distributions, time-series analysis to examine pedestrian and bicycle fatalities over time, and Geographically Weighted Regression (GWR) to account for the spatial variations in relationships and enable insights into the spatially varying correlates of safety outcomes.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $120599
  • 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:

    Khattak, Asad

    Rodriguez, Daniel

    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: 01890197
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Center for Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3552348336
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Aug 17 2023 5:01PM