InTrans / Nov 20, 2023

2023 Traffic and Safety Forum focused on vulnerable road users

140+ attend the annual Iowa DOT forum

Keynote speaker Dan Porcaro kicks off the 2023 Traffic and Safety Forum

More than 7,300 pedestrians were killed in the United States in 2021—an estimated 13% increase from the year before and an average of one death every 71 minutes.

These grim statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration were just one reason that the 2023 Traffic and Safety Forum focused on vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists.

“A key part of InTrans’ mission is to save lives through evaluation of roadway countermeasures and development of data-driven solutions, and that work very much includes special considerations for pedestrians and other non-motorists,” said Shauna Hallmark, director of the Institute for Transportation (InTrans) that hosts the forum along with the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT).

The forum’s keynote speaker Dan Porcaro, vice president of sales and partnerships at Roadbotics by Michelin, shared data his company collects to highlight how speeding and phone handling while driving can show local agencies where to focus their pedestrian safety countermeasures.

Researchers from Iowa State University and the University of Iowa offered brief presentations on their work on topics related to vulnerable road users, such as improving intersection operations, route choice in cycling to school, and the interaction between pedestrians and autonomous vehicles.

Additionally, representatives from the Federal Highway Administration and Iowa DOT provided updates on their work to protect vulnerable road users, and they joined city officials for a panel discussion on the topic. The cities participating on the panel included Eric Petersen (City of West Des Moines), Ron Griffith (City of Cedar Rapids), and John Davis (City of Des Moines).

2023 Traffic and Safety Forum Keynote Speaker Dan Porcaro, center, chats with InTrans staff after his presentation

“We appreciate the Iowa DOT providing this annual forum highlighting important traffic and safety research topics and agency practices,” said Neal Hawkins, associate director of InTrans. “This year’s focus on vulnerable road users further demonstrates our state’s commitment to reduce injury to all road users statewide.”

The Traffic and Safety Forum is an annual fall event organized and hosted by the Iowa DOT and supported by InTrans at Iowa State University. The purpose of the forum is to enable traffic and safety engineering professionals to learn about new and innovative systems and processes, share individual experiences, and collectively address issues of interest.