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What Policy and Budget Choices Yield the Greatest Decreases in Pedestrian & Bicyclist Fatality Rates?

Project Description

Recognizing how little we know about what factors contribute to the success of Vision Zero (or other safety initiatives) at the community level, this project will identify and analyze cities, counties, metropolitan areas and states that are experiencing the greatest decreases in pedestrian and bicyclist fatality rates. We focus specifically on these two modes because the fatality increases between 2010 and 2019 for pedestrians (47%) and bicyclists (39%) outpaced the overall national fatality increase (11%).


We will explore the following research questions: Which cities, counties, metropolitan areas, and states have made the most progress toward Vision Zero (whether or not they have adopted an official goal to eliminate traffic fatalities)? Specifically, which have experienced the greatest reductions in pedestrian and bicyclist fatality rates (based on fatalities per pedestrian and per bicyclist commuting to work)? Importantly, what policy and budget decisions are being made in the communities that have reduced pedestrian and bicyclist fatality rates the most? Are these policy and budget choices different than those being made in other communities that are failing to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety? We seek to find evidence of specific budget choices, adopted policies, and implementation actions that are the most effective at producing positive pedestrian and bicyclist safety outcomes.


We will produce a final technical report that presents and analyzes changes in pedestrian and bicyclist fatality rates in cities, counties, metropolitan areas, and states over the last decade. It will quantify differences in specific factors between the jurisdictions with significant improvements as well as significant setbacks in pedestrian and bicyclist safety. Based on the interviews, it will include tables and text that contrast successful and unsuccessful jurisdictions according to key policy and budget choices, geographic contexts, and other themes. The final report will include recommendations for agencies to implement policy, budget, and other actions based on lessons learned from the most successful jurisdictions. It will also recommend further research to address data and analysis limitations.


The final report will be a key resource for transportation agencies seeking to implement safety improvements and achieve Vision Zero goals (i.e., this research will reduce the lives lost due to traffic crashes). In addition to the technical report, we will by produce web content that can be shared on the CPBS UTC website. This content will include an overview page with key lessons from across the most successful jurisdictions. It will also include case studies describing the policy and budget actions taken in several specific communities. Our tech transfer will also include sharing the technical report and web content deliverables with the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, Institute of Transportation Engineers, State DOT Pedestrian and Bicycle Coordinators, and other professional network e-mail lists, and present this information to at least two major conference audiences.


Finally, the analysis approaches and results of this study will covered in the UWM Urban Planning Department graduate Pedestrian & Bicycle Transportation course and in the Civil and Environmental Engineering undergraduate Urban Transportation Planning course and graduate Methods of Transportation Analysis course. We will also share educational content to other universities within and outside of the CPBS.


06/01/2023 to 05/31/2024


University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Principal Investigator

Robert J. Schneider

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

ORCID: 0000-0002-6225-3615


Research Project Funding

Federal: $31,851

Non-Federal: $17,052

Contract Number


Project Number


Research Priority

Promoting Safety

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