Region Focuses on Pedestrian Safety as 2019 Report Is Released
Local elected officials and pedestrian safety advocates are constantly evaluating efforts to make Central Florida’s streets safer for people who walk.
Regional efforts have been ongoing for more than a decade, with a concerted push since the 2012 formation of the Best Foot Forward (BFF) Coalition for Pedestrian Safety. This coalition includes local government officials, transportation planners, law enforcement, and others working through BFF to coordinate Central Florida’s pedestrian safety efforts with a Triple E approach – Education, Engineering, and Enforcement.
One of the original drivers for BFF’s formation was a report in 2009 called Dangerous by Design, from Smart Growth America, in which Florida and several urban areas including the Orlando metropolitan area ranked at the top of the list of most dangerous urban areas for pedestrians. The 2019 version of the report was released this week, and the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford metro area is again ranked at the top.
Locally, however, progress is being made as the region works together for pedestrian safety.
Our updated pedestrian fact sheet gives more information about the work that continues in Central Florida.
From 2017 to 2018, pedestrian fatalities dropped from 85 to 70 (17.6% decrease). In the same period, Central Florida’s three-county population grew by 139,588 people.
MetroPlan Orlando and its partners have always been focused on making Central Florida roads safe for everyone, and that work is ongoing. Since the launch of BFF, which expanded from Orange into Osceola County in late 2017, the percentage of drivers yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks has improved significantly. Local governments have also allocated funding to dozens of projects such as lighting, sidewalks, and wheelchair accessible features that make walking safer and easier.
“We’re committed to continuing to tackle this complex issue for as long as it takes,” said MetroPlan Orlando Executive Director Gary Huttmann. “We can accomplish great things when we unite as a region.”
For more insight into Best Foot Forward and its Triple E approach to improving pedestrian safety, see the coalition’s website.
Dangerous by Design reports were released by Smart Growth America in 2009, 2011, 2014, 2017, and 2019. Our metropolitan region, along with other communities throughout Florida, repeatedly rank among the most dangerous for pedestrians in the nation in this report. The report’s Pedestrian Danger Index only takes people who walk to work into account, excluding transit riders (who are pedestrians), recreational walkers, and the more than 70 million tourists who visit Central Florida annually and also walk to get around.