The Walking Security Index and Pedestrians’ Security in Urban Areas
The Walking Security Index (WSI) was proposed to the Region of OttawaCarleton in 1995 for inclusion in its Transportation Environment Action Plan (TEAP). Four related problems were behind the idea of developing an index (Wellar 1996, 1998). First, the Region attached “high priority” to the walking mode in its Official Plan and Transportation Master Plan. However, it had no means of methodologically evaluating how well any of its 875 signalized intersections met the needs of pedestrians. Second, due to the apparent premise of the engineering field and of the automotive industry that vehicle operators have an “entitlement” to convenience, comfort, and safety, transportation research in North America has focused overwhelmingly on moving cars, trucks, vans, SUVs, and buses (Highway Research Board 1965; Transportation Research Board 1994; Wellar 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002a, b). An index could be a means to articulate the concerns of pedestrians, and to identify pedestriansensitive solutions to urban transportation problems. Third, by training and tradition, the Region’s transportation planning and traffic engineering staff concentrated its efforts on moving vehicles. Very little in-house talent and resources were dedicated to serving and promoting pedestrians’ safety, comfort, and convenience. The development of an index could reduce the technical imbalance, and provide a basis for pedestrian-oriented initiatives in OttawaCarleton’s transportation, public safety, and planning departments.
KeywordsGeographic Information System Transportation Research Traffic Engineering Highway Research Pedestrian Safety
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