Pedestrian safety: a road safety manual for decision-makers and practitioners

Each year, more than 270 000 pedestrians lose their lives on the world’s roads. Many leave their homes as they would on any given day never to return. Globally, pedestrians constitute 22% of all road traffic fatalities, and in some countries this proportion is as high as two thirds of all road traffic deaths. Millions of pedestrians are non-fatally injured – some of whom are left with permanent disabilities. These incidents cause much suffering and grief as well as economic hardship.

The capacity to respond to pedestrian safety is an important component of efforts to prevent road traffic injuries. Pedestrian collisions, like other road traffic crashes, should not be accepted as inevitable because they are both predictable and preventable. The key risks to pedestrians are well documented, and they include issues related to a broad range of factors: driver behaviour particularly in terms of speeding and drinking and driving; infrastructure in terms of a lack of dedicated facilities for pedestrians such as sidewalks, raised crosswalks and medians; and vehicle design in terms of solid vehicle fronts which are not forgiving to pedestrians should they be struck. Poor trauma care services in many countries also thwart efforts to provide the urgent treatment needed to save pedestrian lives.

This manual equips the reader with necessary information on: the magnitude of pedestrian death and injury; key risk factors; how to assess the pedestrian safety situation in a country or area and prepare an action plan; and how to select, design, implement and evaluate effective interventions. The manual stresses the importance of a comprehensive, holistic approach that includes enforcement, engineering and education. It also draws attention to the benefits of walking, which should be promoted as an important mode of transport given its potential to improve health and preserve the environment.

The manual, which is designed for a multidisciplinary audience including engineers, planners, police, public health professionals and educators, will contribute towards strengthening national and local capacity to implement pedestrian safety measures in settings worldwide.

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