Enhancing Non-Motorized Safety by Simulating Non-Motorized Exposure using a Transportation Planning Approach
Urban regions in North America are encouraging the adoption of active modes of transportation by proactively developing infrastructure for these modes. According to data from the 2009 National Household Travel Survey (NHTS), about 37.6% of the trips by private vehicles in the United States (US) are less than 2 miles long. Even if a small proportion of the shorter private vehicle trips (around dense urban cores) are substituted with active transportation trips, it offers substantial benefits to individuals, cities and the environment. However, a strong impediment to the increasing adoption of active modes of transportation is the risk associated with these modes. The safety risk posed to active transportation users in Florida is exacerbated compared to active transportation users in the US. While the national average for pedestrian (bicyclist) fatalities per 100,000 population is 1.50 (2.35), the corresponding number for the state of Florida is 2.56 (6.80), which clearly present a clear picture of the challenge faced in Florida. An important tool to determine the critical factors affecting the occurrence of pedestrian and bicycle crashes and identifying vulnerable locations is the application of planning level crash prediction models. Traditionally, in developing these models safety researchers have employed land use and urban form variables as surrogate for exposure information (pedestrian and bicyclist volumes and vehicular traffic). The quality of these crash prediction models is affected by the lack of "true" non-motorized exposure data. The current research effort is focused on developing transportation planning simulation framework to generate exposure information for crash prediction models.