RVA Pulse Points: How to Safely Access New GRTC Pulse Transit Stations

Richmond’s new GRTC Pulse high capacity rapid transit system brings both an efficient travel option for the city’s commuters and a new set of challenges for its pedestrians.

Pedestrian injuries have climbed in recent years while all other crash-related injuries have declined. We can help change this trend by taking special care and precautions when walking and driving in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic, particularly when walking to and from the new transit stations for Pulse and when driving near the crosswalks and station platforms.

Pedestrian Fatalities Have Increased While All Other Crash-Related Deaths Have Declined" title="Pedestrian Fatalities Have Increased While All Other Crash-Related Deaths Have Declined

Bus Stop Crash Statistics

Statistics cited in A Review of Pedestrian Safety Research in the United States and Abroad, a publication from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), revealed that 2% of pedestrian collisions in urban areas can be classified as pedestrian collisions at bus stops. The striking vehicle in almost all of these incidents was a passing motorist—not a bus.

Causes of the pedestrian collisions at bus stops included in the cited statistics were varied, but “Left Turn Parallel Path” was flagged as the most common. These crashes occur when a motorist turns left and strikes a pedestrian crossing the receiving roadway, and in most cases the motorist is found at fault. “Left Turn Parallel Path” pedestrian collisions at bus stops ranked as the cause of 35% of the 551 crashes at bus stops that were evaluated.

The second and third most common causes of bus stop collisions were found to be “Pedestrian Failed to Yield – At Intersection,” which was attributed to 11.3% of crashes, and “Pedestrian Failed to Yield – Not Intersection,” which followed closely behind with 11.1% of crashes. In most of these cases, the pedestrian was found at fault.

Only 1.1% of all pedestrian collisions at bus stops involved a commercial bus.

Don’t Become a Number

With Pulse transit stations in locations where motorists may not be accustomed to heavy pedestrian traffic, using extra caution is advised. These simple guidelines can help you to share the road safely and avoid becoming a statistic when accessing new bus stops:

  • Allow yourself plenty of time to reach the station—do not enter a roadway right before a signal changes.
  • Use only clearly-marked crosswalks to reach the stations.
  • Cross when the traffic signal indicates you have the right of way.
  • Make eye-contact with motorists before entering the roadway.
  • Even when you have the right of way, stay alert for motorists making left turns and attempting to enter the street you are crossing.
  • Never dart into the street or run to catch a bus—stay safe and wait for the next one. Pulse operates on a schedule of 10 and 15-minute stop intervals.

Motorists Share Responsibility for Pedestrian Safety

Because not all pedestrian collisions result from risky behaviors of those walking, drivers need to use extra caution, vigilance, and patience when traveling near Pulse transit stations as well.

Knowing and following the rules of right-of-way, checking sidewalks and crosswalks for pedestrians before turning, obeying speed limits, and avoiding distractions like mobile phones and navigation systems while driving are all essential in helping to reduce the number of pedestrian injuries and fatalities.

Other Pulse Safety Precautions

In order to raise community awareness of the changes we all need to make to help the GRTC Pulse launch safely and successfully, Allen & Allen has launched a campaign to share tips for bus riders, motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians throughout May and June, 2018.

Be sure to check our blog every Monday for new and informative articles that can help you stay safe and improve the quality of your commute when sharing the road with Pulse. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter at @allenandallen for quick tips and helpful infographics, and share your own recommendations for safety with us there by using the hashtag #RVAPulsePoints.