Free Pedestrian Safety Assessments for California Communities

The primary objectives of a Pedestrian Safety Assessment (PSA) are:

  • To improve pedestrian safety in a city or county
  • To create safe, comfortable, accessible, welcoming environments for pedestrians
  • To enhance the walkability and economic vitality of local districts

To meet these objectives, Tech Transfer provides free Pedestrian Safety Assessments, in which evaluators will review your city or county's pedestrian safety conditions, programs, and needs, and suggest new strategies to improve pedestrian safety.

Any city or county agency in California can initiate a request for a PSA. After a thorough interview of local agency staff, a team of two pedestrian safety experts will visit the city or county for one day to conduct an evaluation using the comprehensive Guide for Conducting Pedestrian Safety Assessments to help the community achieve the objectives listed above.

Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

How is the Assessment Conducted?

A team of two pedestrian safety experts conduct the assessment and prepare a report. These two safety experts perform field observations, analyze relevant data and information, and hold discussions with the city's key staff and representatives. In addition, the evaluators review the city's current pedestrian safety-related programs, with a view to increasing the overall effectiveness of the programs. After completing the one-day visit, the two evaluators prepare a report for the city summarizing their findings and suggestions. This report presents the findings and suggestions for improvements derived from:

  • Benchmarking analysis of the community's existing pedestrian programs, policies, and practices
  • Field walking audit at various locations in the city

The benchmarking analysis aims to provide the city with information on current best practices and how the city compares. A walking audit is conducted at various locations, as determined in coordination with city staff. The observations made during the walking audit are used to suggest policies and physical improvements that could enhance pedestrian safety and accessibility, and in some instances, economic vitality.

Many suggestions in the PSA report may be appropriate for grant applications, including OTS or Safe-Routes-to-School funding. The suggestions for improvement may also be used as the starting point for a Pedestrian Master Plan, a document that would set forth pedestrian and streetscape policies for the city and identify and prioritize capital improvement projects.

What Kinds of Safety Issues can the PSA Address?

Pedestrian safety issues that PSAs address include the following:

  • Bicycle safety and planning
  • School safety, Safe-Routes-to-School Program and grant funding
  • Collision history and collision reporting practices
  • Pedestrian safety education program
  • Enforcement of pedestrian right-of-way laws and speed limits
  • Inventory of sidewalks, informal pathways, and key pedestrian opportunity areas
  • Adoption of open space requirements
  • Walking audits
  • Proper use of pedestrian traffic control devices (signs, markings, and signals)
  • Adoption of bicycle parking requirements
  • Pedestrian-oriented speed limits and speed surveys
  • Adoption of street tree requirements
  • Pedestrian-oriented traffic signal and stop sign warrants
  • Coordination with health agencies
  • Historic sites
  • Implementation of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) improvements
  • Crosswalk installation, removal, and enhancement policy
  • Preparation of a Pedestrian Master Plan
  • Crossing barriers
  • Collection of pedestrian volumes
  • Traffic calming programs

PSA Evaluators

Each assessment is conducted by a team of two pedestrian safety experts, as assigned by the Tech Transfer Technical Program Manager.

Bruce Appleyard, PhD, AICP, is a Principle at CFA Consultants. He is passionate about helping people create joyful and enriching communities that reflect their spirit and identity, are economically vibrant, and yield environmental and health benefits for all. Bruce specializes in pedestrian and bicycle planning and design, as well as applied GIS research on human settlement and behavior patterns at the intersection of urban design, transportation, and land use and environmental policy. His research and applied work has focused on identifying how these policies and practices can be used in concert with one another to improve a range of sustainability, livability, social equity, and public health outcomes (air & water quality, climate change, physical activity, safety). Dr. Bruce Appleyard is also an incoming Assistant Professor at San Diego State University's School of Public Affairs and member of the Active Transportation Research Center at SDSU.
Matt Benjamin has approached active transportation from a variety of perspectives, including work in the public, non-profit and private sectors. After serving as the Bicycle Parking Coordinator for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA), Matt joined the staff of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition where he served as Planning and Policy Director and led a groundbreaking study of low-income cyclists in Los Angeles County. Since 2007, Matt has worked full-time in the private sector and currently leads the bicycle and pedestrian planning practice for Fehr & Peers in Southern California.
Mark Bowman is a Senior Principal Engineer at Kittelson, Inc. He has more than 25 years of experience in traffic operations and transportation planning. He is currently a consultant for public and private sector clients, and has previously planned, designed, built and operated transportation systems as an employee of local, regional and state government agencies.
Steven Brown, PE, is a Senior Principal at Fehr & Peers Transportation Consultants. He has a Master's Degree in Civil Engineering as well as a Master of Business Administration (MBA). He has more than 20 years of experience with both the public and private sectors. His experience is in the following areas: transportation planning, traffic calming, traffic impact analysis, freeway/interchange studies, environmental impact reports (Transportation), parking facilities, bicycle, transit, and pedestrian studies. He has taught the Traffic Calming Course for Tech Transfer.
John Ciccarelli is a transportation planning and design consultant with over 15 years of experience specializing in bicycle and pedestrian modes, with particular expertise in city and bicycle and pedestrian master plans, corridor and trail studies and plans, and safety analysis. He has developed and taught planning and design workshops for Tech Transfer, UC Davis Extension, Caltrans, LA DOT, LA County Metro, and Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP). John serves on the Bicycle Technical Committee of the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (NCUTCD) and the California Traffic Control Devices Committee (CTCDC). He is a principal author of APBP's Bicycle Parking Guidelines. As Stanford University's first Bicycle Program Coordinator he created and implemented a comprehensive facilities program to improve safety and accessibility for Stanford's thousands of student and commuter bicyclists. John is a certified League Cycling Instructor (LCI) who teaches bicycle driver education classes and Learn To Bicycle lessons. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering.
Brooke DuBose is a Transportation Planner with Fehr & Peers Transportation Consultants, specializing in non-motorized transportation facilities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. She has worked on a wide range of projects; from specific intersection improvements to county-wide bicycle and pedestrian master plans. She has also worked on various pedestrian enhancement projects, from Safe-Routes-to-School plans to senior-specific safety recommendations. Prior to Fehr & Peers, she worked for Transportation Alternatives, an advocate for walking, biking and public transit in New York City. Her other areas of expertise include smart growth initiatives, traffic calming design, and public space revitalization. She has a Master of Urban Planning degree.
Aaron Elias, PE, is an Engineer at Kittelson & Associates. He has experience on various streetscape projects for City of Oakland, performed modeling work in the central valley region, and assisted with various research tasks for projects such as active traffic and demand management strategies for FHWA. Additionally, Mr. Elias has been the lead software tester for CompleteStreetsLOS which implements the multimodal LOS methodologies of the 2010 Highway Capacity Manual. This role has given him an in-depth knowledge of all the aspects necessary to perform a multimodal, complete streets evaluation of the quality of service for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders and motorists. He has applied this knowledge on a number of projects including a road diet and development impact report for the City of Pasadena, CA and level of service monitoring for Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.
Erin Ferguson is a Senior Transportation Engineering Associate with Kittelson & Associates, Inc. She brings 8 years of experience working in transportation engineering and planning. She enjoys working with communities to plan for and implement projects that build towards their community vision. Ms. Ferguson has a diverse transportation engineering background including experience coauthoring and assisting in the production of the First Edition of the Highway Safety Manual (HSM). She has developed and conducted workshops and webinars teaching practitioners how to use the tools in the HSM including how to integrate the material into existing projects and decision-making processes. Ms. Ferguson also has transportation planning, design and traffic operations experience through a variety of project types such as long range transportation plans, corridor studies, complete street oriented projects, intersection control evaluations, road safety audits, and preliminary intersection and interchange designs to improve safety and traffic operations.
Christopher Ferrell, PhD has over fifteen years of experience in transportation planning. He worked as a consultant with Dowling Associates, Inc. in Oakland, California for 10 years before leaving to form CFA Consultants with Michael Carroll in 2010. Dr. Ferrell completed his doctoral studies in City and Regional Planning at the University of California at Berkeley in 2005. His studies focus on the relationships between transportation and land use, and integrated multimodal and non-motorized transportation planning. As a consultant, he has worked on projects ranging from traffic impact studies, to bicycle and pedestrian plans, to research on the effects of transportation infrastructure enhancements on travel behavior. He has specialized in pedestrian and bicycle planning, including numerous multimodal streetscape design plans, several bicycle route planning feasibility studies, as well as bicycle and pedestrian master plans. He has taught several quantitative methods classes in the San Jose State University Urban Planning Department.
Justin Meek, AICP is a senior planner with over 11 years of urban and environmental planning experience. He presently works for the City of Marina and provides consulting services for the City of Pacific Grove. He also teaches at San José State University in the Urban and Regional Planning Department, and most recently taught a community assessment course in which his students evaluated the pedestrian and bicycle environment for a neighborhood near downtown San José. Mr. Meek has a Bachelor of Science in Earth Sciences and Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a Masters of Urban Planning from San Jose State University (SJSU), where he was the recipient of the AICP Outstanding Graduating Student Award. He has been active in the American Planning Association since 2008, and is currently the Administrative Director for the California-Northern Section. He also serves on the SJSU Urban and Regional Planning (URBP) Alumni Committee.
Meghan Mitman, AICP, has over ten years of engineering and planning experience, which has included Pedestrian and Bicycle Planning, Safety, and Research; Transportation Demand Management Planning and Assessment; Greenhouse Gas Estimation and Climate Action Planning; Community, Neighborhood, and Station Area Planning; Public Involvement; Senior Mobility Planning; Traffic Calming; and Transportation Impact Assessments. She is a specialist in pedestrian safety and planning, having co-authored the multi-award-winning California Pedestrian Safety Assessments Technical Guidebook and served as an expert evaluator for numerous assessments in cities across California. Her research has been published in four Transportation Research Record articles and she has taught courses, given guest lectures, and presented at professional conferences on complete streets-related topics throughout the country. She is a national instructor for FHWA on Pedestrian Safety Design, Planning, and Action Plans. Meghan is currently involved in volunteer efforts for ITE's Trip Generation Handbook update and the development of an ITE Recommended Practice on Accommodating Pedestrians and Bicyclists at Interchanges. Meghan is a national Eno and Eisenhower Fellow, and serves as the Vice Chair of the ITE Pedestrian/Bicycle Council, on the TRB Pedestrian Committee, and the TRB Pedestrian and Bicycle and Research Subcommittees. She is a graduate of Princeton University and UC Berkeley.
Nicole Nagaya, PE, has served as project manager and project engineer on a variety of projects in her seven years with Fehr & Peers. She has been responsible for the successful completion of bicycle and pedestrian conceptual design and implementation plans, citywide master plans, circulation studies, safe routes to school studies, specific plans, parking studies, and traffic calming and traffic engineering studies. Nicole is a member of the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, the American Public Health Association, and the Institute of Transportation Engineers Pedestrian and Bicycle Council. Nicole is also a member of the Fehr & Peers Bicycle and Pedestrian Discipline Group, which circulates information on best practices and conducts research in the bicycle and pedestrian planning field, and sits on the City of San José's Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.
Miguel Nunez, AICP, is a Senior Transportation Planner with areas of expertise in pedestrian and bicycle, complete streets, and multi-modal planning. Miguel recently managed Fehr & Peers' Efforts on the Mission Viejo Safe Routes to School Project and the Panorama City Community-Based Transportation Planning Project, both focused on enhancing pedestrian and bicycle mobility and safety in varying settings. He was recently the lead planner working with the City of Pomona on their first Bicycle Master Plan. He has been involved in pedestrian safety assessments in various jurisdictions throughout southern California. He has also assisted in a wide variety of projects including traffic impact studies in Los Angeles County, San Diego County, Orange County, and four Hawaiian counties. He was involved in a regional multi-modal mobility study for West Los Angeles, and several General Plan updates.
Kamala Parks is a Senior Planner with Kittelson & Associates, Inc. with 9 years of experience in transportation planning and engineering for all modes of travel. Her primary work interests are focused on pedestrian, bicyclist, and transit travel. By extension, these interests have included work on safety, travel demand management, and multimodal analysis tools. She conducted research for the multimodal level of service, a new analysis method that was incorporated into the 2010 Highway Capacity Manual, and was one of the first practitioners to apply the methodology to projects. She has been serving as a Pedestrian Safety Assessment evaluator for two years, providing engineering and planning solutions to improve pedestrian access to multiple cities and counties in California. She has expertise with Synchro, Traffix, ArcView GIS, and CompleteStreetsLOS. She was the San Francisco Bay Area Section President in 2011-2012 for the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) and is an avid user of the bicycle for transportation purposes. Before joining Kittelson & Associates, she worked at the City of Berkeley, where she interned for traffic engineering and was the interim Bicycle and Pedestrian Planner.
Matthew Ridgway, AICP, PTP, is a Principal with Fehr & Peers who has managed more than 100 bicycle and pedestrian master plans and design projects in California and the western US. He is the past Chair of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Bicycle and Pedestrian Council and contributor to many transportation planning publications including the UC Berkeley Fundamentals of Traffic Engineering (Pedestrian Chapter), ITE Transportation Planning Handbook (Bicycle and Pedestrian Chapter), and the ITE Planning Urban Roadway Networks Recommended Practice. He is currently working on a Recommended Practice with Meghan Mitman on Accommodating Bicycles and Pedestrians at Interchanges. He and Meghan were lead authors of A Technical Guide for Conducting Pedestrian Safety Assessments for California Cities.
Debbie Yueh, AICP, is an Associate with Kittelson & Associates, and is a certified planner with experience in traffic operations and transportation planning. She has performed environmental assessments for a variety of residential and commercial developments as well as schools and churches in both urban and rural settings. She managed a number of specific plan and area studies. Her professional experience includes pedestrian planning and safety, transportation impact studies, and traffic operation/engineering. Ms. Yueh has a Master of Urban Planning degree and a Master of Business Administration degree.

Feedback from Local Agencies about Pedestrian Safety Assessments

Below is a summary of feedback from local agency staff about the assessments:

"The evaluators did an exceptional job covering all of the pedestrian policy issues that were of concern to us."
"The assessment met and exceeded our expectations and we are particularly happy with the way the assessment identified our city's key strengths, areas of enhancement, and opportunities. The data presented further complements the research and analysis that is currently a part of our Draft General Plan Circulation and Land Use and Urban Design Elements."
"I found their recommendations to be innovative and practical at the same time."
"The evaluators were enthusiastic, interested, professional, helpful and accurate. Our local pedestrian concerns at various locations were each given a complete review and the resulting recommendations were thoroughly addressed by the team. Job well done!"

For more information, refer to Tech Transfer's Award-Winning Pedestrian Safety Audits in Tech Transfer's Fall 2009/Winter 2010 Newsletter.

Who can Request a PSA from Tech Transfer?

Any agency within a city or community in California may request a Pedestrian Safety Assessment from Tech Transfer. However, the number of assessments we can do each year is limited by funding from the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS).

The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) ranks California cities in the same population group for the number of pedestrian collisions by average population. This ranking is based on rate of collisions per "1,000 daily-vehicle-miles-of-travel" and per "1,000 average population."

Priority is given to applicants with significant pedestrian safety issues based on OTS collision rankings. Communities with the highest collision rates (top ten) for their population group are given priority. Communities with populations over 25,000 that appear in the top ten lists for OTS collision rankings are given the highest priority. Agencies can review their OTS collision ranking online.

How to Request a PSA

To learn more about Pedestrian Safety Assessments and to request one for your city, e-mail pedsafety@techtransfer.berkeley.edu. A limited number of assessments are available each year, so send in your request early.

Additional resources

For general information on traffic safety issues and suggested improvement measures, refer to: