On Aug. 24, 2023, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) hosted the fifth annual Texas Pedestrian Safety Forum at the Norris Center in San Antonio, Texas. Supported by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and TTI’s Center for Transportation Safety (CTS), this in-person forum helped more than 200 people learn about how to make roadways safer for pedestrians in Texas.
The forum began with Ben Ettelman, TTI associate research scientist, delivering an opening presentation that set the tone for the day’s discussion. “The significance of implementing comprehensive, data-driven strategies to combat the escalating rates of pedestrian injuries is at the forefront of the Texas pedestrian safety community,” Ettelman emphasized. “It’s important for the pedestrian safety community to come together and collaborate to help deliver this message for safety measures to continually adapt to shifting demographics, evolving road designs and dynamic traffic patterns.” Ettelman’s presentation served as a testament to Texas’ commitment to enhancing pedestrian safety.
The forum had a diverse list of speakers from various sectors that dealt with pedestrian safety, including the impact of driver behavior on complete streets. Patricia Tice, president of ProFound Insights, delivered a keynote address that led a discussion on the importance of seeing people. She described how not every road needs low speeds or extensive pedestrian accommodations. Instead, she advocated for a balanced approach that includes safety of pedestrians along with the efficient movement of traffic.
At the conclusion of the forum, Elizabeth Jones, a program manager for statewide pedestrian and bike safety at TxDOT, delivered a call to action. She reminded all in attendance that meaningful change begins with individuals, communities and organizations uniting to address pressing pedestrian safety issues. Jones encouraged participants to translate the knowledge gained at the forum into tangible actions.
“As Texas continues its commitment to enhancing pedestrian safety, the knowledge shared at the forum serves as a catalyst for actions that will make Texas roadways safer for everyone,” Ettelman said. “We recognize that pedestrian safety is a complex issue. Therefore, tackling it requires a collective effort to promote awareness and drive change.”
TTI would like to thank everyone involved in setting up this conference, including Ben Ettelman, TTI Communications Specialist II Stephanie Ferguson, TTI Senior Administrative Coordinator II Christie Havemann, TTI Associate Research Scientist Laura Higgins, TTI Associate Transportation Researcher Micah Leonard, TTI Program Specialist II Rubiana Mares, TTI Project Specialist II Kim Sailor and TTI Graphic Designer II Stacy Schnettler; and the presenters for their time and flexibility.