Application of Pedestrian Intersection Safety Index in Planning Access to New Rail Stations

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - traffic, infrastructure - station, planning - safety/accidents, land use - planning, ridership - commuting, mode - rail, mode - subway/metro, mode - pedestrian, mode - pedestrian


Walking, Reston (Virginia), Rail transit stations, Pedestrian safety, Pedestrian Intersection Safety Index, Metrorail (Washington Metropolitan Area), Junctions (Traffic), Intersections, Cross roads, Commuting, Access


In the next decade, a new Metrorail line connecting downtown Washington, D.C., to Dulles International Airport and Loudoun County, Virginia, will open. This extension will pass through the suburban community of Reston, Virginia, where two stops will be located. Safe and adequate pedestrian and bicycle access to the stations will increase station use, reduce congestion in and out of the stations, and make transit a more attractive alternative. People living or working within the surrounding areas should be offered a choice of different modes for travel to and from a station, whether walking, biking, driving, or taking the bus. In addition to the provision of adequate facilities for each of those modes, those facilities must also be safe. The impression that intended routes for pedestrians are unsafe is often enough to deter people from walking. The pedestrian intersection safety index, recently developed for FHWA, was used to determine the suitability and safety for pedestrians of intersections surrounding proposed stations. These measures use readily available data to produce a quantitative rating of the safety of intersections. Recommendations for physical improvements were developed for 38 intersections within 1 mi of the station entrances. These projects were then prioritized for implementation on the basis of several factors, including safety measures. This process discovered some benefits and constraints associated with the implementation of the model. Furthermore, most of the intersections with poor safety ratings were also identified as unsafe locations by members of the community.