Section 2: Why Evaluation Is Essential

Why Evaluation Is Essential

There are a variety of reasons that it is essential to evaluate pedestrian safety interventions.

Evaluation can:

  1. Improve interventions by identifying what works to increase pedestrian safety.
    Evaluation findings can:

    • Reflect strengths and weaknesses of your partnership’s structure and processes.
    • Strengthen the design and implementation of your pedestrian safety intervention.
    • Highlight the reach of your pedestrian safety intervention to vulnerable populations.
    • Demonstrate impacts of your pedestrian safety intervention on population health behaviors, outcomes, and quality of life.
    • Assess sustainability of your pedestrian safety intervention over time.
  2. Build support for collaborative partnerships that can mobilize resources for pedestrian safety initiatives.
    Evaluation partnerships can:

    • Raise awareness and visibility of pedestrian safety interventions.
    • Leverage political and community support, funding, and resources for pedestrian safety interventions.1
  3. Establish an evidence base for scale up of effective pedestrian safety policies and systems.
    Systematic reviews of evaluation findings can:

    • Facilitate state, regional, and local decision-making about priority pedestrian safety interventions.
    • Provide state, regional, and local model practices or implementation guidelines.
  4. Make the connections between pedestrian safety and population health explicit. 2,3
    "Field-building" based on evaluation findings (and research) can:

    • Provide data support to show pedestrian safety interventions increase active travel.
    • Show how increases in active travel increase the proportion of the population meeting physical activity recommendations and decreases in auto use reduce sedentary behaviors.
    • Demonstrate that increases in physical activity and reductions in sedentary behaviors reduce morbidity and mortality (e.g., obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer).
    • Draw connections between active travel/reduced auto use and cleaner air, community development, economic growth, sustainability, and other related outcomes.
"Evidence-based public health utilizes the current best available evidence to make decisions in the public health service, and also to develop action plans, public health programs, and policies for addressing public health issues." 4


  1. Redmon, T., D. Gelinne, L. Walton, J. Miller. Jan/ Feb 2012. Spotlight on pedestrian safety. Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-12-002 75(4).
  2. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2010 CDC Recommendations for Improving Health through Transportation Policy.
  3. U.S. Department of Transportation. Walking and Biking are Good for Public Health.
  4. Brownson, R. C., E. A. Baker, A.D. Deshpande, K. N., Gillespie. Evidence-Based Public Health. 3rd Ed. New York: Oxford University Press; 2018.

Next: Continue to Section 3
wheelchair child