Systematic review on quantifying pedestrian injury when evaluating changes to the built environment

Key takeaways:

  • Modifying the built environment to increase walkability and promote physical activity often has the added benefit of reducing the risk of pedestrian injury. However, how to best measure pedestrian injury is not clearly defined in physical activity literature.
  • Crash data from police reports include the frequency of pedestrian injury but not the severity.
  • Few studies regarding the creation of walkable communities include data that measure the severity of pedestrian injury.
  • Due to the strict criteria applied to this research, limited studies were fully evaluated. The studies that were evaluated were categorized by four different interventions:  
    • The impact of pedestrian countdown timer signals (PCS) on pedestrian motor vehicle collisions (PMVC).
    • The use of crash data from police reports to evaluate unsignalized pedestrian crossings and injuries.
    • Traffic calming interventions focused on slowing traffic including speed humps, speed bumps, and shared space.
    • The impacts of Vision Zero initiatives or comprehensive traffic safety programs, on pedestrian safety.


  • There is tremendous variation in injury severity in non-fatal crashes. These injuries need to be better documented to truly study the impact of walkability and built environment interventions.
  • Training, collaboration, and data sharing across sectors (state/local health departments, transportation agencies, police, emergency rooms, etc.) would enable the collection of pedestrian surveillance data and more comprehensive reporting of injuries.
  • Assessing pedestrian injury rates based on exposure rather than population would provide a more accurate measure of safety. 

Porter, K.M.P., Omura, J.D., Ballard, R.M., and Peterson, E.L. (2022). Systematic review on quantifying pedestrian injury when evaluating changes to the built environment. Preventative Medicine Reports.

article cover
filed under