Pedestrian and Pedalcyclist Safety

The Center for Injury Research and Prevention is partnering with researchers from Penn Mobility21 and other research institutions to study pedestrian safety and pedalcyclist safety. From bike lanes to pedestrian plazas, the urban transportation systems of American cities – and Philadelphia specifically – are becoming more multimodal. Yet the increasing number of pedestrians and pedalcyclists, coupled with an increase in distracted driving, has led to a rise in conflicts, near crashes and crashes.

On average, a pedestrian was killed every 71 minutes and injured every 9 minutes in traffic crashes in 2021, and 966 bicyclists were killed in traffic crashes in 2021. Distracted driving claimed 3,522 lives in 2021 alone, a 12% increase from 2020. Most of these deaths were preventable. Increased transportation planning science research is needed to stem this growing public health problem. 

Research Projects

 Evaluating Cyclist Biometrics to Develop Urban Transportation Safety Metrics 

By analyzing eye-tracking data from cyclists on Philadelphia streets, CIRP Senior Fellow/ Stuart Weitzman School Associate Dean of Research at the University of Pennsylvania Dr. Megan S. Ryerson and her team found that individual-based safety metrics they developed can help design safer roadways for bicyclists and pedestrians. The study team found that biometric stress indicators are associated with roadway features and that higher biometric stress readings correlate with infrastructure designs that are less safe. Their findings, published in Accident Analysis & Prevention, can help city planners more proactively design and evaluate the safety of urban infrastructure for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Read a news story about the research.

Principal Investigator: Megan S. Ryerson, PhD, CIRP Senior Fellow 

Funding: University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine

Trends in School-Age Pedestrian and Pedacyclist Crashes in the USA: 26 states, 2000-2014

Despite substantial progress, car crashes still remain a leading killer of children in the United States. By studying police-reported crash data from 26 states and calculating population rates of pedestrian and pedalcyclist crashes, crash fatality rates, and pedestrian commuter-adjusted crash rates for school-age children as compared with other groups, this study expands our analysis of US trends in crashes involving school-age pedestrians and pedalcyclists.

Read the study abstract. 

Principal Investigator: Allison E. Curry, PhD, MPH, CIRP senior scientist and director of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Funding: National Institutes of Health

Safe Urban Mobility: A User-Based Safety Analysis of the Chestnut Street Bike Lane
A protected bike lane on Chestnut Street in University City, Philadelphia

This transportation planning research project collects the missing user-based information on vulnerable road users (pedestrians and cyclists) using eye tracking glasses to: 1) enable the study of the new protected bike lane on Chestnut Street in West Philadelphia/University City and 2) assist the city of Philadelphia in deploying safe urban infrastructure.

Initial results indicate the most “high-stress” portions of the bike lane, develop metrics to compare stress and safety between protected and unprotected bike lanes, and how signage can be improved to maximize safety information to cyclists.  

Chestnut Street Bike Lane Evaluation Report, 2017

Read more in this Philadelphia Inquirer article. 

Principal InvestigatorMegan S. Ryerson, PhD, CIRP Senior Fellow 

Funding: University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine