An assessment and literature review of the pedestrian safety within the built environment
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Purpose: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 6,283 pedestrians killed in 2018 due to being struck by an automobile. NHTSA defines a pedestrian as a person who is walking, running, hiking, sitting, or laying down in the built environment. To address this problem, researchers have investigated and designed interventions that create a safe built environment and educate pedestrians. Although research has been conducted to determine the effectiveness of these interventions, auto pedestrian fatalities have risen for the past ten years. To further understand this problem, a literature review was conducted to explore how the built environment and education promotes pedestrian safety. Methods: Health databases were used to assess literature published between 2004 and 2019. Search criteria was specific to the United States and included the following key words: pedestrian safety, built environment, and education curriculum. Studies were reviewed for their relevance, interventions, and program effectiveness. Results: The literature review revealed many engineering strategies to reduce pedestrian contact with an automobile; however, these interventions must coincide with law enforcement monitoring. We found a lack of effective pedestrian education programs addressing unsafe walking habits. Conversely, education programs designed for older adults and children increased their chances of being in an auto-pedestrian accident. Conclusion: This study highlights the need to adopt best practices when addressing auto-pedestrian fatalities in the context of the built environment. It also reveals the complex nature of educational programs and the need to consider the multi-level factors influencing pedestrian behavior.