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Walking Security Index

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The Walking Security Index (WSI) project was approved in 1994 as an element of the Transportation Environment Action Plan (TEAP) of the Region of Ottawa-Carleton (now the City of Ottawa), and received …

The Walking Security Index (WSI) project was approved in 1994 as an element of the Transportation Environment Action Plan (TEAP) of the Region of Ottawa-Carleton (now the City of Ottawa), and received funding in 1996. The Walking Security Index (Final Report) was published in 1998. One of the goals of TEAP was to encourage more trips by walking, and the primary mission of the WSI project was to design indexes which measure the levels of safety, comfort and convenience expected and experienced by pedestrians at intersections. The thesis of the WSI research was that indexes could be designed that provide numeric scores on the performance of intersections from the perspective of safety, comfort, and convenience of pedestrians, and the scores could be arranged in rank order. Then, for public safety, quality of life, engineering, traffic, enforcement, maintenance, infrastructure modification, health, or other purposes, the scores could be used to identify needed corrective actions at intersections rated from best to worst, or at problematic intersection quadrants, and the rankings would provide elected officials and Region/City management and staff with information for prioritizing remedial actions. More than 50 publications have been authored or co-authored by the principal investigator to describe the research design and findings of the WSI methodology, including the specification of 10 indexes grouped into three domains -- intersection volume and design, quality of intersection condition, and driver behaviour. The Walking Security Index project reports, findings, and expertise of the principal investigator have been accepted for expert witness opinions and testimony in more than a dozen legal actions involving pedestrians, motor vehicle operators, municipal governments, insurance companies, and school boards. The print run of more than 400 copies of Walking Security Index was exhausted some years ago, and I have been informed on a number of occasions by interested parties such as researchers, lawyers, public safety advocates, community groups, academics, and students that access to a digital production has not been provided or maintained by the City of Ottawa. That shortcoming is addressed by p0osting this digital production. A digital production will also be prepared for the final report of the follow-on project, Walking Security Index Pilot Study, and it too will be posted to ensure digital access.

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