Walking is the most environmentally friendly way to get around, but sadly pedestrians are frequently put at risk by vehicle drivers. Use this page to access research on the risks posed to pedestrians, the benefits to communities of encouraging walking, and ways to make roads safer for pedestrians and encourage more people to get about on foot.
Macro-level safety analysis of pedestrian crashes in Shanghai, China
Tongji University, Shanghai, China, 29/07/16
Higher priority should be given to improving pedestrian safety in areas with medium land use intensity and large populations.
Pedestrian crossing in Ghana: safety implications
Kwame Nkrumah University, Ghana, 21/07/16
Access to road crossings is a challenge for pedestrians in Ghana, particularly for people who are disabled; children and pregnant women.
Combining traffic efficency and traffic safety in countermeasure selection to improve pedestrian safety at two-way stop controlled intersections
Nainjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, China, 19/07/16
The impact of road traffic safety counter-measures at crossing points can be influenced by pedestrian volume and the average delay experienced by both pedestrians and drivers at the crossing.
Considerations about the impact of public light on pedestrians perception of safety and well-being
University of Granada, Spain, 15/07/16
Fundamental aspects of pedestrian safety are sometimes forgotten by policy-makers in favour of more advanced concepts.
Safety-in-numbers: Estimates based on a sample of pedestrian crossings in Norway
Institute of Transport Economics, Oslo, Norway, 16/03/16
Crash prediction models, based on 239 pedestrian crossings in Oslo, indicate a very strong safety-in-numbers effect.
Distraction and Attitudes Towards Safe Pedestrian Behaviour
Interventions aimed at distracted pedestrians should target those aged under 30, who are more likely to use their smartphone while crossing the road.
Effect of exposure to aggressive stimuli on aggressive driving behavior at pedestrian crossings at unmarked roadways
Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Science, China, 8/01/16
Drivers with higher aggressive driving traits were more likely to feel irritated with, fail to give way to, and drive closer to pedestrians.
Health and Wellbeing of 15-year-olds in England - Main findings from the What About YOUth? Survey 2014
Health & Social Care Information Centre, UK, 8/12/15
Only 14% of 15-year olds in England do the recommended hour of moderate exercise on every day of the week, a requirement that can be met through brisk walking.
Campaign suggests way to get more drivers to stop for pedestrians
Department of Public Health, San Francisco, 13/09/15
A campaign stressing that pedestrians have right-of-way at intersections, combined with enforcement, has increased the number of vehicles giving way at intersections by 3.2%.
Pedestrian fatality risk in accidents at unsignalized zebra crosswalks in Poland
Warsaw University of Technology, Poland, 31/08/15
A third of all pedestrian injuries and deaths in Poland take place on zebra crossings.
Injury pattern, outcome and characteristics of severely injured pedestrian
Witten/Herdecke University, German, 05/08/15
Severely injured pedestrians are more likely than severely injured passengers to be young or elderly, and are more likely to die as a result of their injuries.
Making Walking and Cycling on Europe’s Roads Safer
138,000 pedestrians and cyclists were killed on Europe’s roads between 2001 and 2013, and progress to prevent casualties has slowed.
Knowing their place on the roads : what would equality mean for walking and cycling?
University of Leeds, 2015
A research paper laying out what social and democratic equality would mean for walking and cycling is produced.
'You feel unusual walking’: the invisible presence of walking in English cities
University of Leeds, 20/04/15
Walking in English cities is widely considered to be abnormal or unusual behaviour, discouraging people from doing it.
Neither flashing traffics lights nor the colour yellow deter pedestrians from crossing
University of Grenada, 09/04/15
Amber, or flashing lights, have no effect of pedestrians crossing the road, unlike traditional red and green lights.
Traffic-related air pollution linked to type 1 diabetes in children
Institute for Diabetes Research, Munich, 01/04/15
Exposure to traffic-related air pollution increases the risk of Type 1 diabetes in children.
Hazard perception test for pedestrians
Bar-Ilan University, Israel, 30/03/15
hazard perception test for pedestrians, similar to that offered in the driving test, shows the value of pedestrian education.
'Cruise control for pedestrians' will steer your muscles for you
University of Hannover, 14/03/15
A system described as “cruise control for pedestrians”, helping them navigate and avoid obstacles, is developed.
The estimation of vehicle speed and stopping distance by pedestrians crossing streets in a naturalistic traffic environment
Chinese Academy of Sciences, 12/03/15
Pedestrians have difficulty in judging the speed of a vehicle travelling above 40mph.
Northern Ireland pedestrian fatality report
Right to Ride, 02/10/14
Two-thirds (64%) of pedestrian collisions in Northern Ireland 2008-2012 occurred after dark.
The usability and effectiveness of interactive video as a complementary child pedestrian training activity
University of Southampton, 22/07/14
Interactive videos demonstrating safe crossing behaviour are effective when used alongside on-street pedestrian training.
Survey reveals walking and cycling worries
Brake and Churchill Insurance, 26/09/14
Two-thirds (64%) of UK drivers think local roads are unsafe for families to walk and cycle.
Active commuting improves wellbeing
University of East Anglia, 15/09/14
People who commute by walking, cycling or public transport have better concentration and are less stressed than car commuters.
Kids want to get active
Brake and Direct Line, 11/06/14
Three quarters (76%) of UK children would like to walk and cycle more, but more than half (56%) worry about being run over when walking or cycling.
Configuring retroreflective markings to enhance the night-time conspicuity of road workers
Queensland University of Technology, 09/05/14
Wearing reflective strips on moveable joints (e.g. knees, shoulders and elbows) triples the visibility of night-time road workers, compared with standard high-vis clothing.
Feet First – Improving Pedestrian Safety in London
London Assembly Transport Committee, 01/04/14
Measures to improve pedestrian safety in London, including 20mph limits and extending crossing times on pedestrian crossings.
Built environment characteristics and parent active transportation are associated with active travel to school in youth age 12–15
University of California, 21/03/14
US children aged 12-15 are twice as likely to walk to school if the area around their home is seen as safe for pedestrians.
An Analysis of The Effects of Installing Pedestrian Countdown Timers on the Incidence of Pedestrian Crashes in the City of Detroit Michigan
Western Michigan University, 03/02/14
Pedestrian crashes dropped 70% in Detroit in the five years after introduction of pedestrian countdown timers on traffic light crossings.
Electric and hybrid vehicles were involved in 25% more pedestrian collisions in 2010-12
Guide Dogs, 12/09/13
Quiet electric and hybrid vehicles in the UK were involved in 25% more pedestrian collisions per vehicle in 2010-2012 than standard vehicles, posing a danger to blind and partially-sighted pedestrians.
Engineering measures to protect older pedestrians
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 19/08/13
Longer signal times at pedestrian crossings, and ‘refuge islands’ to allow pedestrians to pause safely while crossing wider roads, would increase the safety of older pedestrians.
Traffic-calming engineering is associated with more walking and less pedestrian injury
University of Toronto, 24/05/13
Traffic-calming engineering measures are associated with more walking and less pedestrian injury.
WHO recommends 30km/h (20mph) speed limits among other measures to protect pedestrians
World Health Organisation, 13/05/13
Area wide 30km/h (20mph) speed limits, pedestrian infrastructure, enforcement and education are proven methods to reduce pedestrian casualties.
UK pedestrian casualties are more likely to come from deprived areas
Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, 07/05/13
UK pedestrian casualties, especially among children, are more likely to come from deprived areas.
Countdown timers on crossing lights reduce pedestrian casualties but increase car crashes
University of Toronto, 03/05/13
Countdown timers on pedestrian lights reduce pedestrian casualties but increase collisions between vehicles by encouraging aggressive driving.
Staggering school attendance times could reduce child pedestrian injuries by up to 15%
McMaster University, 26/03/13
Staggering school attendance times could reduce child pedestrian injuries by up to 15% by reducing exposure to traffic on their walk to school.
Noise-reducing roads and quiet electric vehicles threaten safety of vulnerable road users
University of Minho, Portugal, 15/02/13
Measures to tackle road noise, such as noise-reducing road surfaces and quieter electric vehicles, threaten the safety of vulnerable road users.
Outdoor play among children in relation to neighborhood characteristics
University of Maastricht, 19/09/12
Vehicle speed reduction and pedestrian facilities are crucial to enabling outside play among children.
Local Policies and Practices That Support Safe Pedestrian Environments
National Cooperative Highway Research Program, 24/08/12
Engineering safe pedestrian environments is assisted by supportive policies and guidance, support from elected leaders and different agencies, and community involvement.
Pedestrians are vulnerable and may be impaired (for example nearly a quarter of pedestrians killed in London between 2006 and 2010 had drunk alcohol or taken drugs). To counter this, measures including traffic calming, pavements, and 20mph (30kph) limits are necessary.
Most older pedestrians are unable to cross the road in time: a cross-sectional study
Imperial College London, 20/06/12
76% of men and 85% of women aged 65 and over cannot walk fast enough to safely use a UK pedestrian crossing.
Understanding walking and cycling
Lancaster University, 03/10/11
80% of non-cyclists in urban areas of the UK say poor safety is a key reason for not cycling.
Drivers urged to slow down amid fears for kids' safety in residential streets holidays
Brake and Churchill Car Insurance, 20/07/11
More than four in five people (83%) worry about the safety of children on streets around their homes because of fast traffic.
Making the case for investment in the walking environment
The University of West England, 21/06/11
Investment in urban pedestrian measures such as home zones and 20mph limits has positive cost-benefit ratios of up to 37.6 and increases walking by between 25% and 100%.
Dangerous by design: solving the epidemic of preventable pedestrian deaths 2011
Transportation for America, 10/06/11
Pedestrian lives would be saved by comprehensive investment in traffic-free infrastructure, particularly pavements, crossings and cycle paths.
Unprotected road users - a key concern of road safety
European Transport Safety Council, 27/05/11
Unprotected road users represented 44% of all road deaths across Europe during the period 2001-2009.
Puffin pedestrian crossing accident study
Transport Research Laboratory, 18/04/11
Pedestrian casualties reduce by 24% with conversion from pelican crossings (which have the pedestrian lights on the opposite side of the road) to puffin crossings (which have the pedestrian lights on the same side of the road and can sense pedestrians while crossing and waiting).
Traffic above 20mph is too fast for children’s visual abilities
Royal Holloway, University of London, 09/03/11
Low-level visual abilities in primary school children mean that they cannot accurately judge the speed of vehicles travelling faster than 20 mph, finds this study of children's perceptual acuity.
Children in and around cars
Parents are not doing enough to protect their children from being killed under a car in a driveway and have poor levels of understanding of the high risk posed to younger children in particular around manoeuvring vehicles.
Road traffic collisions and casualties in the north west of England
The North West Public Health Observatory, 28/02/11
Default 20 mph residential speed limits could have saved 31% of the children who were killed or seriously injured on roads in the North West of England in 2010.
Road user safety and disadvantage
Department for Transport, 11/02/11
Road engineering for pedestrians, such as 20mph zones and putting pedestrian crossings in places people need them, will reduce casualties, particularly in disadvantaged areas. Such measures should be implemented where there is danger and community concern, as well as where there have been deaths.
Active commuting to school and cognitive performance in adolescents
Spanish National Research Council, 06/12/10
Walking or cycling to school improves cognitive performance in adolescent females.
Did you see the unicycling clown? Inattentional Blindness while Walking and Talking
Western Washington University, 27/10/09
Talking on a phone while walking causes pedestrians to be oblivious to the unexpected.
The effects of aging on street-crossing behavior: from estimation to actual crossing
French National Institute for Transport and Safety Research, 27/03/09
Ageing affects crossing decisions and older adults have trouble adjusting perception and action when the time available for crossing changes.
Accidents to Intoxicated Pedestrians in South Australia
Centre for Automotive Safety Research, Australia, 11/03/09
Improved safety of drunk pedestrians will come about by making the environment safer for all pedestrians, drunk or sober.
Breaking Down Barriers to Walking in London
Living Streets, UK, 14/02/09
There are significant barriers to walking including safety concerns, lack of funding and public misperceptions of walking speeds and distances.
Pedestrian and bicyclist safety effects of the California safe routes to school program
UC Berkeley Traffic Safety Center, 01/04/08
Walking and cycling to school increased while pedestrian and cyclist collisions decreased as a result of the California Safe Routes to School Program.
International comparison of roundabout design
International comparison of roundabout design advises roundabouts with pedestrian crossings and cyclist traffic lights at entrances.
Pedestrian crossings survey in europe
Reports on differing crossing designs in Europe and their use.
Unfit for Purpose
Institute for European Environmental Policy, UK, 23/08/07
Car exclusion zones within half-mile of schools and shops would encourage children to walk and cycle to combat increases in car use and decreases in walking.
Policies related to active transport to and from school: a multisite case study
Saint Louis University School of Public Health, 07/08/07
Factors that influence the impact of active travel policies for schools include sidewalks, crosswalks/crossing guards, funding, personal safety concerns, advocacy group involvement.
Remaking Minnie Street: The Impacts of Urban Revitalization on Crime and Pedestrian Safety
University of California, 01/02/07
Urban design can help to improve crime and traffic safety in poor urban neighborhoods.
Traffic calming policy can reduce inequalities in child pedestrian injuries
University of Wales Swansea, 22/12/04
Area wide traffic calming is associated with absolute reductions in child pedestrian injury rates and reductions in relative inequalities in child pedestrian injury rates.