Challenge

It’s no secret that Miami-Dade County is not a safe place to walk or bike. The 1,675 pedestrian deaths between 2010 and 2019 place it 13th among the country’s most dangerous metro areas for walking, according to Smart Growth America’s Dangerous by Design 2021. Fortunately, our clients at FDOT are going all in on pedestrian and bicyclist safety through better road design, education, and enforcement. But the scale of the challenge is immense: Miami-Dade County has more than 1,500 miles of non-residential roadways, which is equivalent to the distance between Miami and Bogotá, Colombia. Where should FDOT focus its efforts to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety?

Solution

To answer this question, FDOT reached out to Kittelson to develop a prioritization tool that would lead to projects being built. We started by learning how FDOT’s pedestrian and bicyclist coordinator was most effective at advancing projects. We listened to the struggles and barriers that she faced. We brought in others at FDOT and local partners to tell us what made certain roadways more ripe for projects than others. With this knowledge, we started to put the puzzle pieces together: safety, connectivity, demand, and equity were the most cited factors for getting projects built.

The Outcome

Prioritizing Projects for Pedestrians and Bicyclists in Miami

Although many engineers like to think that prioritization should be fully data-driven and objective, the reality is that selecting projects is partly subjective. That is why we did not want to produce a spreadsheet with a list of projects. We understood that different people may have different opinions on which puzzle piece is most important. We also knew that the quickest way to get pedestrian and bicycle improvements on the ground is to integrate them into upcoming projects. To allow for different interpretations of the data and to overlay it onto upcoming projects, we needed to think beyond the spreadsheet.

The web-based tool we developed was a hit. Our tool is helping the FDOT bicycle and pedestrian coordinator bring up pedestrian and bicycle needs to the forefront of upcoming projects. It is also a valuable tool for her coworkers to get a better understanding of the pedestrian and bicycle experience on the corridor projects they are working on. And in another innovative twist, FDOT is using the tool to assess crowd-sourced feedback received from the mobile app Ride Report. We are currently working with FDOT to further integrate the tool into its workflow and to consider expanding it to help other Florida counties and cities as well.

Office

Miami

Client

Florida Department of Transportation District Six

Location

Miami-Dade County, Florida

Team

Services