Reducing pedestrian collisions in Melbourne’s Central Business District
Walking is an increasingly important travel mode, especially in highly urbanised areas. High levels of pedestrian activity occur in Melbourne’s Central Business District (CBD), and associated with this is a substantially high level of pedestrian trauma. Between 2000 and 2011, 451 pedestrian casualty collisions were recorded within the CBD, comprising 10 fatalities, 316 hospitalisations, 87 requiring medical treatment and 38 uninjured. For sustained population health, the environment and liveability of cities, it is desirable to promote walking, however, it is also essential that safe walking environments are provided. In order to apply ‘best-practice’ countermeasures within a Safe System framework, an understanding of collision types and contributing factors is required. An analysis of Victorian Police-reported casualty pedestrian casualty collisions in the CBD between 2000 and 2011 was undertaken to identify key factors in pedestrian collision involvement in the CBD area. The findings showed that almost half of crash-involved pedestrians were young adults, and half occurred at signalised intersections. Results also indicated differences in characteristics of collisions occurring at night and during business hours. During night hours, particularly on weekends, collisions were clustered around night clubs and bars and involved a higher proportion of young adult males crossing at intersections. In contrast, collisions occurring during business hours were evenly distributed throughout weekdays, across multiple locations on streets, more prevalent around public transport facilities and with less severe injury outcomes than those occurring during night hours. These findings have implications for the development of engineering and behavioural countermeasures in the built environment to target priority collision types including reducing vehicle travel speed, improvements to intersection design and operation, and measures to separate pedestrians from vehicles around drinking venues at night and around public transport facilities during the day.