"Pedestrians are the foundations of any city. Cities don't work if we don't have a high concentration of people on foot," said DOMI Director Karina Ricks during a webinar this week introducing the plan.

However, pedestrian deaths nationwide trended "in the wrong direction" during the pandemic, she mentioned. In fact, Governors Highway Safety Association data shows 2020 ushered in the largest year-on-year increase in pedestrian deaths nationally. Although fewer cars were on the road during the pandemic, most cities reported an "increase in poor motorist behavior" such as reckless driving and speeding, Ricks said. But the trend was evident even before the pandemic, with pedestrian deaths reaching their highest point in 30 years in 2019.

Speed often plays a large role in crashes, and this spring the World Resources Institute and World Bank Global Road Safety Facility published a low-speed zone guide to help global communities identify and implement speed mitigation measures to improve safety. A separate report also cited the risks of high vehicle speed and suggested the United States adopt a "Safe System" approach that centers on designing roads and traffic systems to reduce vehicle speeds and minimize crashes.

Read the full article about Pittsburgh's pedestrian safety action plan by Katie Pyzyk at Smart Cities Dive.