UWM awarded federal grant to study pedestrian and bicyclist safety

Pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities make up nearly 20% of all traffic fatalities, and the trend is on the rise, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Xiao Qin

In the quest to improve transportation safety for those not in vehicles, two UWM researchers will receive $1.67 million of a multi-university grant from the DOT.

The DOT advances transportation research and develops the next generation of transportation professionals by investing in 20 University Transportation Centers (UTCs), involving a consortia of U.S. colleges and universities to study a specific topic.

This grant supports a new UTC devoted to research on pedestrian and bicycle safety. Led by the University of New Mexico, the center includes four other members, including UWM.

Robert Schneider

The UWM researchers are Robert Schneider, a professor of urban planning in the School of Architecture & Urban Planning, and Xiao Qin, the Lawrence E. Sivak professor of civil & environmental engineering in the College of Engineering & Applied Science. Schneider specializes in sustainable transportation, and Qin directs his college’s Institute for Physical Infrastructure and Transportation.

The UWM researchers will lead several of the new center’s planned projects:

  • Most traffic fatalities occur on roadways with high speed limits and traffic speeds. This research will develop a measure that can be used by practitioners to quantify the tradeoff between speed and safety in roadway corridors.
  • About 15% of U.S. pedestrian fatalities occur on freeways, but little is known about the causes of these crashes. How many are related to people getting out of broken-down vehicles? How many are in construction zones? Do most occur at night?
  • In nine large U.S. cities, pedestrian fatalities have decreased significantly in downtown areas, while increasing in the suburbs. The research will examine this trend.

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