For the second year in a row, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) hosted the virtual Texas Pedestrian Safety Forum Aug. 12, 2021. Supported by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and TTI’s Center for Transportation Safety (CTS), the forum helped more than 430 people learn more about how we can make roadways safer for pedestrians.
“Pedestrian injuries and fatalities represent a significant portion of the overall transportation safety problem in Texas,” says Michael Manser, TTI senior research scientist. Manser manages CTS’s Human Factors Program. “But it’s about much more than the numbers and the graphs. It’s about people. It’s about our friends and family who are dying and getting injured in pedestrian crashes. Keeping our neighbors and loved ones safe on (and off) the road is the reason why we’re together here today.”
The forum had a diverse list of speakers from various sectors that deal with pedestrian safety, including public health and law enforcement. TxDOT’s Director of the Traffic Safety Division Michael Chacon delivered the first keynote address reviewing the agency’s End the Streak campaign. He described how TxDOT is working to reduce and ultimately eliminate deaths due to roadway crashes. Jeff Paniati, executive director and chief executive officer of the Institute of Transportation Engineers, delivered the second keynote address focusing on safety improvements through a “safe systems” approach and livable communities. According to the Federal Highway Administration, the safe systems approach aims to eliminate fatal and serious injuries for all road users by anticipating human mistakes and designing road infrastructure to keep the risk of a mistake low.
“This year’s forum was a multidisciplinary event that included 16 speakers from various backgrounds and areas of expertise,” Manser says. “We purposely planned it this way because we understand that pedestrian safety is complicated and crosses many traditional disciplinary lines. So, addressing it must be a collaborative effort to raise awareness across those lines.”
TTI would like to thank everyone involved in setting up this conference, including TTI Project Specialist II Cathy Brooks, TTI Project Specialist II Michelle Canton, TTI Associate Research Scientist Ben Ettelman, TTI Associate Research Scientist Laura Higgins, TTI Graphic Designer II Stacy Schnettler, and Communications and Marketing Coordinator Jack Wenzel; the eShow team, whose platform presented the conference; the webinar hosts and moderators; and the presenters for their time and flexibility.