Secretary Ananth Prasad’s Bicycle/Pedestrian Focused Initiative Group has been awarded a national safety award by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). The GHSA Peter K. O’Rourke Special Achievement Award recognizes notable achievements in the field of highway safety. GHSA will present the award at its 2013 Annual Meeting in August.
In November 2011, FDOT Secretary Prasad charged District One Secretary Billy Hattaway with the task of championing Florida’s Bicycle/Pedestrian Focused Initiative. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data showed that Florida had the highest pedestrian fatality rate in the nation in 2010 with 2.58 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 population. There were 499 pedestrian deaths in 2010 in Florida. The Florida Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Coalition was created to address this high priority issue. With bicycle and pedestrian fatalities accounting for over 22% of traffic fatalities, it was apparent that this is a high priority focus in Florida’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan.
Secretary Hattaway quickly formed a team and began working towards the goal of increasing awareness and decreasing fatalities of bicyclist and pedestrians in Florida. In March 2012, Lora Bailey Hollingsworth was selected to serve as the FDOT Chief Safety Officer to provide guidance and full support on the initiative to reduce pedestrian and bicycle fatalities, injuries, and crashes in Florida. In May 2012, Trenda McPherson was appointed by Hollingsworth as the State Bicycle/Pedestrian Safety Program Manager to develop Florida’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Strategic Safety Plan, form a Florida Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Coalition, and lead the coalition to vigorously implement the plan.
Adopting a data-driven approach, the program focused resources where opportunities for pedestrian safety improvements were the greatest by using crash data to identify the top 10 highest priority counties in Florida. High emphasis areas, like Miami-Dade and Hillsborough counties, were targeted for grassroots efforts like saturation patrols at specific intersections and crosswalks by coalition members and law enforcement.
Another of the outstanding efforts was to create, brand, and promote an educational campaign, called Alert Today Alive Tomorrow via various paid media and outreach activities. Members hosted and participated in numerous community events across the highest priority counties to distribute logo t-shirts, tip cards, and positive reinforcement for appropriate crosswalk pedestrian behavior.