Pedestrian Safety Guide and Countermeasure Selection System

Implementation and Resources

Communities are asking that streets do more to accommodate all transportation modes. To better accommodate pedestrians and improve pedestrian safety, communities want to see motor vehicle speeds managed and reduced on their neighborhood streets, streets made more accessible to persons with disabilities, streetscapes that are more attractive and inviting to pedestrians, and more equitable distribution of infrastructural investments. This chapter discusses some of the issues related to setting priorities and developing strategies for implementing pedestrian improvements.

Contsruction workers building a sidewalk It is important to incorporate pedestrian facilities in roadway construction projects.

Getting Started

“Getting started” can be daunting—the needs are overwhelming, resources are scarce, and staff time is limited. Every community is faced with the questions of “Where do I start?” and “How do I get going?” While it is not the intent of this guide to provide an exhaustive discussion of implementation strategies, some direction is useful.


Generally, it is unrealistic to expect that all pedestrian needs can be addressed immediately; therefore project priorities need to be established. To create priorities requires several program objectives:

One Step at a Time

To create a safe, walkable community, take one step at a time. Sidewalks, curb bulb-outs, and other pedestrian improvements are installed intersection by intersection, block by block. Improvements are often made at multiple locations along an entire corridor. Individually, they do not create a safe, livable community. Collectively, they create the infrastructure needed for a great place to work, play, and do business. In other words, the whole pedestrian system is greater than the sum of its parts.

Citizens at a community hearing. Public participation will build community pride and buy-in that is essential to create a safe, walkable community. Source: Trust for South L.A.

Community Concerns

Be sensitive to community concerns. Public participation will build community pride and buy-in that is essential to long-term success. Some of the problems identified in this guide will not be an issue in your community and some of the tools may be perceived as infeasible (at least initially). There probably will be measures that your community puts on hold for a few years until a community consensus is reached. Conversely, there probably will be measures that your community would like to pursue that are not even mentioned in this planning guide. There may also be measures that can be installed on a temporary or interim basis to determine community acceptance.


It is important to produce immediate results that people can see. For example, a new section of sidewalk or a freshly painted crosswalk is visible, while a transportation plan is a paper document that may never be seen or appreciated by the public. To keep its momentum, a program needs some “quick wins.” They create the sense that something is happening and that government is responsive.

Hand holding a pencil making a sketch of a sidewalk. It is important to produce immediate results that people can see

Implementation Strategies

There are many ways to accomplish projects. Be creative; take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves. Here are some suggestions:

Routine Accommodation

“Piggybacking” pedestrian improvements onto capital projects are one of the best ways to make major improvements in a community. Sidewalks, pedestrian ramps, landscaping, lighting, and other amenities can be included in road projects, utility projects, and private construction in public rights-of-way (e.g., cable television, high-speed fiber optics, etc.). To accomplish this, there are several things that can be done:

Annual Programs

Consider expanding/initiating annual programs to make small, visible improvements on a regular basis. Examples include sidewalk replacement programs, curb-ramp programs, annual tree-planting programs, etc. This creates momentum and community support. Several considerations should be made when developing these programs:

Public/Private Partnerships

Increasingly, public improvements are realized through public/private partnerships. These partnerships can take many forms. Examples include: community development corporations, neighborhood organizations, grants from foundations, direct industry support, and involvement of individual citizens. In fact, many public projects, whether they are traffic-calming improvements, street trees, or the restoration of historic buildings, are the result of individual people getting involved and deciding to make a difference. This involvement doesn’t just happen, it needs to be encouraged and supported by local governmental authorities.

Developer Requirements and Incentives

Developers can be required to install public infrastructure such as sidewalks, curb ramps, and traffic signals. In addition, zoning requirements can be written to support more pedestrian-friendly communities by allowing for, incentivizing, or requiring, narrower streets, shorter blocks, frontage improvements that enhance aesthetics and functionality of the pedestrian zone, and mixed-use development. Encouraging developers and community leaders to focus on basic pedestrian needs will benefit the community and increase the attractiveness and marketability of the developments themselves.

Pedestrian Safety Resources

Access Issues

An introduction to accessibility and universal design:

A more comprehensive set of guidelines for achieving full accessibility from the US Access Board:


California’s Local Government Commission has some great resources on street design and livability.

Other Pedestrian Safety Resources

Local Resources and Examples

Many cities have adopted plans and procedures to ensure that pedestrian improvements become a routine activity in new development projects, reconstruction work, and retrofits. Comprehensive information about state and local plans, policies, case studies, and other information can be found in this database of State Resources.  Listed below are just a few examples of organizations with exemplary programs and plans:



Other Local Resources

America Walks, a national coalition of pedestrian advocacy groups, has developed a variety of resources that focus on results and implementation.

Walk Score is an on-line resource that uses factors such as density of land-uses and amenities and mixes of incomes and development types to measure walkability.

Additional Information