Road Safety Audits for Pedestrian Facilities

One tool that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and state and local departments of transportation have found effective in identifying potential safety issues and recommending countermeasures is the road safety audit (RSA). FHWA defines an RSA as a formal examination of the safety performance of an existing or planned road or intersection by an independent audit team. RSAs consider all potential road users, including pedestrians, and account for their capabilities and limitations. When auditing pedestrian facilities, RSA teams should consider the following: the presence, design, and placement of pedestrian features; their quality and condition; their continuity and connectivity; lighting; and visibility. An RSA or pedestrian RSA involves the following eight steps: (1) identify a project or existing road, (2) select a multidisciplinary team, (3) conduct a startup meeting to exchange information, (4) perform field reviews under various conditions, (5) conduct an RSA analysis and prepare a findings report, (6) present findings to the project owner or design team, (7) prepare a formal response, and (8) incorporate findings into the project when appropriate. The benefits of an RSA include the design and reconstruction of facilities that reduce the number and severity of crashes, and the reduction of costs by identifying safety issues and correcting them before projects are built. RSAs also promote awareness of safe design practices, the value of integrating multimodal safety concerns, and consideration of human factors in all facets of design. This article highlights the RSA program implemented by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT). Some of the typical pedestrian-safety issues observed while conducting RSAs are presented, highlighting key findings and a few lessons learned. The state's experience indicates that vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians, bicyclists, and persons in wheelchairs, are not always accommodated in the design and construction of transportation facilities.


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  • Accession Number: 01142406
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, ATRI
  • Created Date: Oct 22 2009 12:54AM