What is Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP)?
Pedestrians account for over 17.5 percent of all fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes, and the majority of these deaths occur at uncontrolled crossing locations (such as non-intersections) or at intersections with no traffic signal or STOP sign. Cost-effective countermeasures with known safety benefits can help reduce pedestrian fatalities in these scenarios.
FHWA promoted the following safety countermeasures through EDC-4 and EDC-5:
Road Diets can reduce vehicle speeds, limit the number of lanes pedestrians cross, and create space to add new pedestrian facilities.
Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons (PHBs) are a beneficial intermediate option between Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons (RRFBs) and a full pedestrian signal. They provide positive stop control in areas without the high pedestrian traffic volumes that typically warrant signal installation.
Pedestrian Refuge Islands provide a safe place to stop at the midpoint of the roadway before crossing the remaining distance. This is particularly helpful for older pedestrians or others with limited mobility.
Raised Crosswalks can reduce vehicle speeds.
Crosswalk Visibility Enhancements, such as crosswalk lighting and enhanced signing and marking, help drivers detect pedestrians—particularly at night.
NJ's Progress Towards Institutionalizing STEP
Stage of Innovation: ASSESSMENT (December 2019)
NJ's work on STEP began with EDC-4 and continues to progress during EDC-5:
Developed an Action Plan for Implementing Pedestrian Crossing Countermeasures at Uncontrolled Locations. For this collaborative effort, NJDOT and FHWA reviewed existing practice and policies impacting crossings and recommended actions for targeting specific safety countermeasures to help reduce the number and rate of pedestrian crashes, fatalities, and injuries on NJ highways.
Devised Recommendations Following STEP Guidance for Implementing Lower-Cost Countermeasures. The recommended countermeasures can be deployed based on specific needs, have a proven record of reducing crashes, and represent underutilized innovations that can have an immediate impact.
The action plan will inform and be incorporated into the future strategies developed in the NJ 2020 Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP). The SHSP is a data-driven, multi-year comprehensive plan that establishes statewide goals, objectives, and key emphasis areas, integrating the four E's of highway safety – engineering, education, enforcement and emergency medical services (EMS). Work on the development of the SHSP is currently ongoing, starting with a Kick-Off Summit held in November 2019. Throughout 2020, there will be three events for stakeholders to provide input on the future strategies for the state. The plan is anticipated to be completed before the regulatory deadline of September 23, 2020. New Jersey intends to update the Pedestrian Safety Action Plan after the 2020 update of the SHSP to ensure the visions and goals align with the program.
SAFE TRANSPORTATION FOR EVERY PEDESTRIAN (STEP): NEW & NOTEWORTHY