New Road and Intersection Safety Tool

An exciting new tool has been made available by Parks & Trails New York to local transportation planners, trail managers, and trail use advocates. The new Road and Trail Intersection Safety Checklist is an easy-to-use analysis that will allow anyone to use the characteristics of their local road/trail intersection to determine how safe it is. The checklist is available either as a webform or as a paper checklist, and asks reviewers to examine various physical characteristics of intersections and the rules governing both trail users and cross traffic to determine how safe each intersection is.

When ratings are completed and submitted to PTNY, they will be compiled and placed into a map on the PTNY website to provide local advocates and decision-makers with information on the conditions of local intersections, and an opportunity to prioritize those intersections that are currently unsafe for pedestrians and cyclists. The development of the checklist was funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with a grant from the New York State Governor's Traffic Safety Committee.

Nearly a third (29.4%) of roadway fatalities in New York State are bicyclists and pedestrians, the highest in the nation. Driver inattention/distraction and failure to yield right of way are the two biggest contributing factors in pedestrian crashes, and more than 50% of crashes occur at unmarked, unsignalized intersections or crossings. PTNY has previously examined best practices in design and treatment of road/trail intersections, offered recommendations to improve the safety at these junctures, and conducted a public awareness campaign that targeted both road and trail users and transportation stakeholders.

PTNY developed the checklist over the past year with feedback from Bicycle and Pedestrian Planners from around the state. On March 28, Parks & Trails New York presented a draft of the model to the NYS Association of Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Bicycle and Pedestrian working group at the Walk-Bike NY Symposium. PTNY also presented the draft model at a meeting of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee for the Capital District, where committee members representing agencies, municipalities, and trail groups provided feedback and volunteered to pilot the tool at 20 local road and trail intersections. PTNY also received feedback on the model from the NYS Canal Corporation, which operates more than 120 miles of multi-use trail along the Erie Canal between Buffalo and Albany. PTNY conducted further outreach and received feedback from numerous other trail groups around NYS, including from multiple MPOs and from volunteer trail ambassadors in Erie Canalway Trail communities.

The rating system and checklist produces safety scores that are easily understood by a non-technical audience (e.g. A through F grades), and correspond to objective conditions – such as visibility of intersection users – that can be addressed through design improvements or enhancements. We encourage anyone interested to complete a rating checklist for their local intersection. We look forward to seeing the results from around the state and continuing to improve the safety for all pedestrians and cyclists.

Tags: Safety, GTSC