When County Executive Isiah Leggett was elected in December, 2006, he pledged to make improving pedestrian and traffic safety a priority of his administration. Citing the need to do more to improve pedestrian safety, County Executive Leggett issued his Pedestrian Safety Initiative in December, 2007. This comprehensive, strategic plan identifies seven strategies to fully implement the recommendations made in the original Blue Ribbon Panel Report, issued in January, 2002:
- Strategy 1 – Target Improvements in High Incidence Areas (HIAs)
- Strategy 2 – Improve Pedestrian Networks and Connectivity
- Strategy 3 – Emphasize Pedestrians and Bicycles in Planning
- Strategy 4 – Construct Corridor and Intersection Improvements and Traffic Calming
- Strategy 5 – Upgrade Pedestrian Signals
- Strategy 6 – Enhance Street Lighting
- Strategy 7 – Modify Behaviors through Enhanced Enforcement and Education
The County's Data-Driven ApproachMontgomery County is committed to achieving data-driven results to reduce the frequency and severity of pedestrian collisions. Periodic CountyStat reviews have become a critical and valuable part of implementing the County Executive’s Pedestrian Safety Initiative. By reviewing data and information from the program, the County works to assure that effective strategies are being employed to improve pedestrian safety. Information evaluated in these reviews provides vital direction on how best to target activities that are reducing the number of pedestrian collisions in the County. MCDOT also works closely with the Montgomery County Police Department to review pedestrian crash statatistics on a monthly basis. The good news is that the program seems to be having some positive effects, as shown in the overview of its first five years.
The Three E's of Pedestrian SafetyResearch indicates that the most effective traffic safety programs combine engineering, education, and enforcement - or the three E’s. In Montgomery County, these three E’s are being targeted at locations with significant numbers of pedestrians, high traffic volumes, elevated rates of collisions and excessive vehicular speeds. The County’s approach to each of these strategies is briefly described below.
EngineeringMontgomery County designs and constructs numerous engineering projects that improve operations and enhance pedestrian safety. The Maryland State Highway Administration is a key partner in pursuing engineering improvements along State roadways in the County. These improvements are often identified through various programs, including Pedestrian Road Safety Audits, Safe Routes to School, Traffic Calming, Sidewalks, and roadway resurfacing. Some of these improvements include:
- Enhanced pedestrian crossings and median treatments,
- New and widened sidewalk connections,
- Traffic signal modifications and timing adjustments,
- Narrowing of travel lanes with bulb-outs, medians, and pedestrian refuge islands,
- Improved pedestrian, bicycle, and traffic signage,
- Lighting and visibility improvements, and
- High visibility crosswalk striping.
For additional information on engineering improvements, please visit the Pedestrian Road Safety Audits, Safe Routes to School, Traffic Calming, and Sidewalks Program web pages.
EducationMontgomery County joins with other jurisdictions in the metropolitan area annually to implement the StreetSmart public education campaign, raising awareness and changing behavior. This program promotes pedestrian and bicycle safety using radio and television ads, as well as transit-based advertising on buses and bus shelters. Targeted education activities in the County’sHIAs are being used to modify the behaviors of pedestrians and motorists where there are higher rates of pedestrian crashes. Groups shown to be more at risk are also being targeted for education: immigrant populations, senior citizens, and young pedestrians and drivers.
For additional information on pedestrian safety education, check out our Resources page. To learn more about the County’s efforts to provide safe pathways to schools, visit the Safe Routes to School page. For recent developments in the County’s Pedestrian Safety Initiative, please visit our Top News page.
EnforcementThe Montgomery County Police Department’s (MCPD) targeted enforcement program is designed to increase driver compliance with the State law that requires drivers to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk. Likewise, pedestrians who violate traffic laws are also being ticketed and given tips for safe walking. Police perform enforcement activities as part of the StreetSmart, Safe Routes to School, and Pedestrian Road Safety Audit programs, as well as rotating monthly activities.
To learn more about the Automated Traffic Enforcement Program, including information on red light and speed cameras, please visit the Safe Speed page. Maps of speed camera locations can be seen on the Safe Speed webpage.