Pedestrian Safety Survey
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Pedestrian Safety Survey

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Knowledge, Attitudes and Behavior Survey results presented to the Seattle City Council's special committee on pedestrian safety.

Knowledge, Attitudes and Behavior Survey results presented to the Seattle City Council's special committee on pedestrian safety.

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  • Thank you. The Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors (KAB) survey was commissioned by the SDOT as part of the City’s efforts to improve pedestrian safety. This survey was strongly recommended by both the 2008 Framework for Seattle’s Pedestrian Safety and Awareness Campaign as well as by the Pedestrian Master Plan Advisory Group as a foundational research component to inform future work related to pedestrian safety projects and programs in Seattle. A KAB survey is a type of survey used regularly in the public health field. The purpose of this type of survey is to understand what a certain population knows and believes and how that knowledge and those beliefs translate into actions. By looking at the ways that people’s perceptions and experiences shape their actions, it’s possible to identify the targets for behavior change that are likely to be the most effective. The survey provides a key baseline measure of the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of Seattle residents with regard to pedestrian safety and travel behavior. Today I would like to provide you with a quick overview of some of the key findings of the survey and talk just a bit about how the results will be used.
  • The survey instrument was developed through collaboration between SDOT and EMC Research, with the assistance of the Pedestrian Master Plan Advisory Group and members of the Inter-Agency Team for the PMP, including Council staff. The 12-minute telephone survey was conducted in May 2009 by trained, professional interviewers. The 702 completed interviews provide a random sample of residents age 18 and older; the results have been weighted to accurately reflect Seattle’s current adult population based on key demographics, including race/ethnicity, age, gender, and place of residence. The overall margin of error for the results is ± 3.7 percentage points at the 95% confidence interval. This confidence interval means that if the survey were repeated 100 times, the results shown would be accurate to within ± 3.7 percentage points 95 times out of 100. This degree of accuracy allows the final results to be projected to all Seattle residents over the age of 18.
  • Before we talk about the preliminary findings, let me give you a quick summary of the characteristics of the 702 people who were surveyed. As I mentioned, this was a random sample, weighted by key characteristics, which means that the results are statistically valid and generalizable.
  • As you can see, 51% of the respondents identified themselves as female and 49% identified as male. And the table to the right is the age of the respondents: 53% of the respondents were under the age of 44, with a slightly smaller percentage (46%) over age 44.
  • Race/ethnicity was one of the characteristics used to stratify the sample, as we wanted to address the city’s Race and Social Justice Initiative and ensure that respondents reflected Seattle’s diversity. The percentages shown here, which are the actual respondents, match the percentages in the U.S. Census’ 2007 American Community Survey for Seattle. 65% of the respondents identified as white, 5% as Hispanic or Latino, 11% as Asian, 8% as African American, and 10% as other or multiple races/ethnicities. To get a sense of the number of households in the city in which a language other than English is spoken regularly, we asked exactly that question and learned that nearly a quarter of households surveyed speak a language other than English on a regular basis.
  • We know that Seattle has a very highly educated population, and the majority of survey respondents (60%) have a minimum of a college degree. Seattle also has a relatively high median income compared to the rest of the U.S., and the survey respondents had higher than average incomes, with about 1 in 5 having a household income of $100,000 or more.
  • In order to look at the impact of residential location on respondents’ attitudes and behaviors, the interviews from each of 8 sub-areas were weighted to reflect the natural population distribution of the city as a whole. For example, you can see that 50 of the respondents live in the downtown sub-area and 50 live in the west sub-area. However, the responses from these two groups were weighted differently (at 2% for downtown and 7% for the west) to reflect actual city demographics.
  • Before moving into the attitudes of respondents, let’s look quickly at a few components of people’s travel behavior. We asked people how frequently they drive and learned that 60% of people drive regularly, and 13% of respondents never drive. When looking at the eight geographic sub-areas, we see that 72% who live in the north drive regularly, while only 36% of those who live downtown are regular drivers.
  • Looking at how frequently people walk, 66% of respondents are regular walkers, while 10% describe themselves as “not really a walker.” As you might expect, 94% of those who live downtown are regular walkers, as are 82% of those in the east (Capitol Hill, Central Area). The lowest percentage of regular walkers lives in the Southeast, with only 51% of respondents describing themselves as regular walkers.
  • We asked people to think about themselves first as a pedestrian, and then as a driver, asking if they have been hit by or had a close call with a vehicle and if they have hit or had a close call with a pedestrian. The question did not ask people specifically if these events took place in Seattle or when they occurred. Roughly 1-in-10 pedestrians say they have been in a vehicle-pedestrian collision and 4-in-10 say they have experienced a close call. Downtown residents, almost all of whom are regular walkers (94%), report nearly double the number of close calls/collisions as a pedestrian. Slightly less than 1/3 of drivers report having a close call with a pedestrian, and only 2% say they have had a collision with a pedestrian. Not surprisingly, having had a close call or collision as a pedestrian or driver is a strong predicator of feelings about pedestrian and intersection safety.
  • Now that we have a sense of who is responding to the survey, including some of the characteristics about travel behavior that can be generalized, let’s look at people’s attitudes or perceptions about walking and driving in Seattle.
  • Residents are divided over whether or not pedestrian safety in general is a problem in Seattle. Over half (54%) of residents feel pedestrian safety is not a problem, with one in five (20%) strongly concerned about pedestrian safety. Geographically, residents in the East and Downtown sub-areas are the most likely to feel that pedestrian safety in general is a problem; these two subareas also have the highest percentage of regular walkers. Residents in the North sub-area are the least concerned and also have the highest percentage of regular drivers and among the lowest percentage of regular walkers. Women and older residents are more concerned than are men and younger residents.
  • When asked how they feel about crossing intersections in downtown Seattle, more people noted that they feel safe (46%) than unsafe (41%). When looking specifically at residents’ own neighborhoods, about half of residents (48%) overall say that they feel safe crossing intersections in their neighborhood. Interestingly, while residents in the Downtown and East subareas show high concern about pedestrian safety in general, they are not as concerned about their safety at intersections in their neighborhood. This may be due to the high percentage of regular walkers in these areas, which makes them more in tune to pedestrian safety issues in general but more confident about their own personal safety when walking.
  • We learned that there is significant concern about driver (83%) and pedestrian (81%) inattention and speeding in neighborhoods (70%). 83% of respondents say they often see drivers who don’t pay enough attention, and 81% of people say they often see pedestrians who don’t pay enough attendtion. 70% of respondents feel that drivers go too fast in their neighborhood. However, Downtown is the exception. A strong majority in every area except Downtown (35%) are concerned about speeding in their neighborhood. Residents overall are also much less likely to feel that speeding is a problem in Downtown Seattle (44%). Concerns about speeding are underlined by strong support (68%) for more enforcement on drivers by policing intersections and ticketing drivers who are being unsafe. It’s interesting to note that only 68% of drivers worry about hitting a pedestrian. I was surprised that this number wasn’t higher, but it may indicate that drivers believe they are being very watchful for pedestrians. I also want to highlight the last question, which I’ll discuss in more detail a bit later. The full text of that question was “Pedestrian safety is more about intersection design than driver or pedestrian behavior.” More than half (54%) of the respondents disagreed with that statement, indicating that behavior is clearly seen as an important component of pedestrian safety. I think that is particularly good news in terms of the possibility for behavior change.
  • Moving on to behaviors, we’ll look now at how respondents’ attitudes translate into desirable walking and driving behaviors.
  • We asked those who indicated that they drive (N=608) to asses whether they do enough to stop for pedestrians and reduce the likelihood of a collision. Although most residents (83%) say they often see drivers who don’t pay enough attention to pedestrians, and 68% of drivers worry about hitting a pedestrian, less than a third (30%) of drivers say they personally could do more to reduce the likelihood of a collision. Clearly most drivers do not see themselves as the problem, despite the fact that significant majorities self-report that they engage in a number of sub-optimal driving behaviors, which we’ll look at on the next slide. Of the 30% of drivers who do believe they could do more to reduce the likelihood of a collision, the most common answers about what else they could do focused on paying more attention and being more careful.
  • We asked drivers how often they engage in certain behaviors (both positive and negative) while driving. This slide shows how many of the drivers are still doing less than they could be doing, despite what we saw on the previous slide. (For the negative behaviors, it means they occasionally or regularly do the behavior, and for positive behaviors, it means they occasionally or never don’t do the behavior.) The driver behaviors where there is the most room for improvement are: Pulling into the crosswalk when waiting to turn on a red light – 68% do this regularly (50%) or occasionally (18%). and Turning at a red light before pedestrians are at least a full lane past your side of the road – 57% do this regularly (26%) or occasionally (31%). Even among those that are aware of the underlying regulations there is a significant percentage that engages in sub-optimal behavior, reinforcing the point that awareness alone is not an adequate condition for behavior change.
  • We also asked all respondents to think of themselves as a pedestrian and to assess whether they do enough to be safe and pay attention to vehicles when they’re walking or if they could do more to reduce the likelihood of a collision. Although most residents (81%) say they often see pedestrians who don't pay enough attention to pedestrians, only one in five (20%) say they personally could do more to be safe. As with drivers, most pedestrians do not see themselves as the problem, despite the fact that, as with drivers, significant majorities self-report that they engage in a number sub-optimal walking behaviors.
  • As with drivers, we asked respondents how often they engage in certain positive and negative behaviors while walking. This slide shows how many people are still doing less than they could be doing to reduce the likelihood of a collision, despite what we saw on the previous slide. The pedestrian behaviors where there is the most room for improvement are: cross in between intersections where there is no crosswalk – 73% do this regularly (19%) or occasionally (54%) AND Beginning to cross when the “don’t walk” signal is blinking or the countdown has begun – 71% do this regularly (22%) or occasionally (49%). As with drivers, even among those that are aware of the regulations there is a significant percentage that engages in sub-optimal behavior. Again, this reinforces the point that awareness alone is not enough to get people to change their behaviors.
  • Finally, we also asked people to tell us what they know about various regulations for both drivers and pedestrians.
  • We asked all respondents to tell us if they were aware of certain regulations pertaining to drivers and/or pedestrians. We learned that there is near universal awareness of cell phone regulations for drivers. 97% of people are aware that you can’t use a cell phone while driving unless its hands free. Residents are least aware (52%) that pedestrians may not begin crossing if the "don't walk" signal is flashing or if the walk countdown has begun. Only 14% of Downtown residents are aware of this regulation despite the fact that almost all Downtown residents are regular walkers. Strong majorities are aware of the other regulations we asked about, although there is some room for additional education. For example, 29% of people are not aware that all intersections are legal pedestrian crossings, even if there is not a marked crosswalk; 23% are unaware that drivers may not proceed if a pedestrian is in their half of the roadway, or within one lane of their half of the roadway; and 20% are unaware that drivers may not pass a car that is stopped for pedestrians at a crosswalk.
  • Looking at the ways awareness and behavior interact can be very telling as well. As I mentioned, there is near universal (97%) awareness of cell phone regulations for drivers. However, when we look at the behavior of the 97% of drivers who are aware of this regulation, more than a third (39%) of them say they use their cell phone without a headset or speakerphone regularly (7%) or occasionally (32%). And although residents are least aware (52%) that pedestrians may not begin crossing if the "don't walk" signal is flashing, even among those who are aware of this regulation, 61% engage in this behavior regularly (18%) or occasionally (43%).
  • Looking at two more behaviors, of the 71% of people who are aware that all intersections are legal pedestrian crossings, about ¾ of them regularly stop for pedestrians waiting to cross at intersections without a traffic light or stop sign. And although a high percentage of people (77%) are aware that they cannot proceed if a pedestrian is in or within one lane of their half of the roadway, less than half (40%) are always compliant with this regulation. In fact, slightly more than one in four (27%) regularly turn at a red light before pedestrians are at least a full lane past their side of the road. While these slides indicate that knowledge of regulations is generally quite high, they also show that knowledge does not necessarily translate directly to behavior.
  • Before looking at next steps for using the survey information, I want to highlight suggestions for improving pedestrian safety from those who took the survey.
  • Returning to one of the questions I mentioned earlier, you’ll recall that we asked people if they thought that pedestrian safety was more about intersection design or driver and pedestrian behavior. A majority (54%) agreed that pedestrian safety is more about behavior than how intersections are designed, and strong majorities agree that they often see drivers and pedestrians who do not pay enough attention. When asked what could be done to make them feel safer at intersections in their neighborhoods, people did point to signage and engineering changes. However, the top suggestions for reducing collisions between vehicles and pedestrians center around behavior. 36% of the responses were about behavior, with 19% citing the need for more awareness or more people paying attention. Following traffic laws and eliminating distractions were also high on the list.
  • I’d like to conclude with a few thoughts on how this research can be used.
  • As I mentioned at the beginning of the presentation, the KAB survey is an important piece of the education component of the Pedestrian Master Plan. Various educational pieces are completed or underway, including the pedestrian safety in schools program, the corridor traffic safety programs, and SPD’s crosswalk emphasis patrols. The KAB survey is the background research that will help us to develop a future pedestrian safety education programs. For example, this research can be used in the development of a pedestrian safety education campaign target audience and message. Additionally, the results of the survey can be used to benefit a range of city projects and programs, as there is a great deal of data available, which can be evaluated in a number of ways. The geographically-based information can be used to support the neighborhood planning process and can inform SPD decisions about locations for crosswalk and speed patrols. Understanding people’s travel behaviors and their attitudes about pedestrian safety in their neighborhoods can help in SDOT’s partnerships with Seattle-King County Public Health and Parks to develop campaigns to get more people walking. And simply by posting this information to the Pedestrian Master Plan website, we can help to begin raising awareness of residents’ behaviors and attitudes. Clearly, there is more work to be done, and we will continue to review and refine these results. If you have any questions at this point, I’m happy to answer them.

Pedestrian Safety Survey Pedestrian Safety Survey Presentation Transcript

  • Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behavior Survey Draft Results Jennifer Wieland SDOT Policy & Planning City Council Special Committee on Pedestrian Safety and Transportation Committee July 21, 2009
  • Methodology
    • Telephone survey, conducted in May 2009
    • Trained, professional interviewers
    • 702 total interviews
    • Random sample of residents age 18+ in Seattle
    • Results weighted to accurately reflect adult population, based on key demographics
    • Margin of Error + 3.7 points, at the 95% confidence interval
    Please note that due to rounding, some percentages may not add up to exactly 100%.
  • Demographics of Respondents
  • Gender and Age Gender Age
  • Ethnicity and Language Ethnicity or Race Non-English language spoken regularly
  • Education and Income Gender Annual household income before taxes Last grade completed
  • Breakdown of Interviews by Area
    • 702 total interviews
    • Interviews in each area were weighted to their natural distribution in the city as a whole
  • Driving Frequency Q: How frequently do you drive ?
  • Walking Frequency Q: How frequently do you walk ?
  • Close Calls and Collisions Q: As a pedestrian , have you ever been hit by a vehicle or had a close call? Q: As a driver , have you ever had a collision or a close call with a pedestrian?
  • Attitudes about Walking and Driving
  • Pedestrian Safety in Seattle Q: Pedestrian safety is not that big of a problem here in Seattle. 46% Disagree
  • Attitudes about Intersection Safety Q: As a pedestrian, there are intersections where I do not feel safe crossing in:
  • Attitudes about Walking and Driving
  • Walking and Driving Behavior
  • Self Assessment: Drivers Q: If you had to rate yourself overall as a driver, would you say that you already do enough to stop for pedestrians, or do you think you could do more to reduce the likelihood of a collision? Q: What else do you think you could be doing?
  • Sub-Optimal Behavior: Drivers
  • Self Assessment: Pedestrians Q: If you had to rate yourself overall as a pedestrian, would you say that you already do enough to be safe and pay attention to vehicles, or do you think you could do more to reduce the likelihood of a collision?
  • Sub-Optimal Behavior: Pedestrians
  • Knowledge about Walking and Driving Regulations
  • Awareness of Regulations Q: For each of the following please tell me if you are aware of that regulation or not. We are trying to understand how to improve communications efforts, not test for right or wrong answers, so if you are not aware of a particular regulation, please just say so.
  • Awareness v. Behavior Crossing behavior among those who are aware that pedestrians may not begin crossing if “don’t walk” is flashing (52%). Driving behavior among those who are aware that drivers may not use a cell phone while driving unless it is hands-free (97%).
  • Awareness v. Behavior Driving behavior among those who are aware that drivers may not proceed if a pedestrian is in their half of the roadway, or within one lane of their half (77%). Driving behavior among those who are aware that all intersections are legal pedestrian crossings (71%).
  • Respondent Suggestions
  • Reducing Pedestrian-Vehicle Collisions Q: Given everything you have heard in this survey, what do you think is the most effective way to reduce vehicle-pedestrian collisions? Behavior 36% More awareness/people paying attention 19% Following traffic laws/being responsible/careful 11% Less distractions (cell phones, kids, music, etc.) 6% Engineering/Signage 16% Better or clearly marked or painted crosswalks 4% More or better signage/notification 3% More crosswalks/marked crossings 3% Better signal regulation/more push button signals 3% More blinking/flashing lights 2% More or better crossing/crosswalk lights 1% Awareness/Education 14% More or better driver/pedestrian education 14% Enforcement 14% More police/crossing guards/enforcement of traffic laws 10% Reduce speed limit 4%
  • Using the Research
  • Using the Research
    • Implement education component of Pedestrian Master Plan
      • Completed or ongoing: pedestrian safety in schools, corridor traffic safety programs, crosswalk safety emphasis patrols
      • Underway: pedestrian safety education campaign research
    • Develop pedestrian safety education campaign based on survey results
      • Identify target audience and message
      • Develop materials and distribution plan
      • Launch campaign
    • Use results to benefit other City projects and programs
      • Inform SDOT work, including neighborhood plan updates
      • Continue work with SPD to improve safety
      • Partner with Public Health and Parks to get more people walking
      • Update PMP website to raise awareness of residents’ behaviors and attitudes