Apply the Safe System Approach

Countywide Bikeways Facilities should address the Countywide or local High-injury Networks (HIN). Facility design should address active transportation and safety needs in Equity Priority Communities and incorporate improvements to address the safety needs specific to a high-injury corridor.

In developing Countywide Bikeway projects, designers should use Safe System principles and elements in determining bikeway type and design. Where bikeway facilities are routed parallel to the HIN, jurisdictions should consider corresponding safety projects such as road diets, traffic calming, or hot spot improvements to address the safety needs specific to the high-injury corridor. Resources from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and consistent with the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) National Roadway Safety Strategy should guide the selection of proven safety countermeasures on Countywide Bikeways that align with and are parallel to HINs. Adopting and communicating the Safe System approach for bicycle corridors supports multi-modal safety and accessibility and can help support policy-driven decision-making at the local level.

The FHWA has led nationally on developing guidance and resources on the Safe System Approach, including specific resources for pedestrian and bicycle planning and engineering. The FHWA website on Zero Deaths and Safe System includes a thorough resource library on safety, including a recently published Primer on Safe System Approach for Pedestrians and Bicyclists.

FHWA Safety Compass graphic
The 2019 Alameda CTC Countywide Active Transportation Plan (CATP) includes a thorough safety analysis in Book 2: The State of Biking and Walking in the County. In this analysis, the CATP shows the Countywide Bicycle HIN, which constitutes the worst performing street locations based on severity and frequency of collisions between 2012 and 2016. In addition to the CATP, most jurisdictions in Alameda County have conducted local safety analyses, either as part of local Active Transportation Plans or LRSPs.

Where the primary corridor with community destinations is on the HIN and the Countywide Bikeways Network but an All Ages and Abilities (AAA) bikeway type is selected for parallel routing, designers should still implement safety projects that improve modal separation, lower traffic speeds, and reduce conflicts at intersections consistent with the Safe System Approach and local safety planning.
CTP Bikes

FHWA Primer on Safe System Approach for Pedestrians and Bicyclists

The Countywide Bikeways Network builds off the goals and priorities of the 2020 Countywide Transportation Plan (CTP), which recommends the Safe System Approach to reduce the number of severe and fatal transportation injuries, an approach consistent with the United States Department of Transportation and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s (MTC’s) goal of zero roadway fatalities.

The FHWA has led nationally on developing guidance and resources on the Safe System Approach, including specific resources for pedestrian and bicycle planning and engineering. The FHWA website on Zero Deaths and Safe System includes a thorough resource library on safety, including a recently published Primer on Safe System Approach for Pedestrians and Bicyclists. The appendices of this primer include a useful benchmarking tool for jurisdictions to measure and track their processes on integrating the Safe System approach.

Because local jurisdictions are now required to complete a LRSP, Vision Zero Action Plan, or similar Safe System planning document to be eligible for certain federal funding sources (e.g. Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) and Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) Grant Program), agencies within Alameda County should be well-prepared to implement projects along local and Countywide HIN using a data-driven approach to selecting safety countermeasures along with bikeway design.

Safe System Principles
The Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) has compiled a set of engineering resources for Safe System design. Safe System design for bicycle facilities applies a three-pronged approach to crash prevention:
  • Separating users in space: This approach segregates the physical space to provide travelers with a dedicated part of the right-of-way. Vulnerable and slower-moving bicyclists (and pedestrians) are separated in space to minimize conflicts with other users.
  • Separating users in time: This approach assumes that users will need to occupy the same physical space on the roadway, but creates a safer environment by separating the users in time and reducing vehicle interactions with vulnerable road users.  An example is a dedicated bike signal phase at an intersection with high conflicting turn movements.
  • Increasing attentiveness and awareness: This approach seeks to alert users to potential hazards and/or the presence of other users. These techniques can be vehicle, user or infrastructure-based, such as:
  • “Daylighting” intersections by removing parking at the corners to allow greater visibility between drivers and pedestrians.
  • Street lighting that increases nighttime visibility of users.
  • Green thermoplastic conflict markings at bicycle crossings, intersections, and driveways

Safe System Designs

Safe System

Improving the overall safety of the transportation system was a core need and priority coming out of the 2020 Countywide Transportation Plan (CTP). To this end, Alameda CTC is providing resources on safety best practices through trainings and information exchanges with members of ACTAC. This webpage includes resources on the Safe System Approach and Vision Zero implementation, including documents and video examples of implementation. This webpage will be updated as new resources become available.

Click the blue bars below for resources.

The Safe System Approach is a national road safety leadership initiative that aims to develop a coordinated approach to reaching zero deaths in the transportation system within the next 30 years. The Safe System Approach is related to Vision Zero policies and practices and complements other relevant efforts by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Alameda CTC staff organized a mini-training and information exchange for the May 2021 ACTAC meeting on the Safe System Approach:

Vision Zero Network (VZN): the Vision Zero Network is a collaborative campaign helping communities reach their goals of Vision Zero -- eliminating all traffic fatalities and severe injuries -- while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all. As a nonprofit project, the Vision Zero Network is committed to defining, building momentum, and advancing Vision Zero in communities across the U.S.

Institute of Transportation Engineers-Vision Zero: ITE has a Vision Zero Committee which includes many resources that help local agencies implement Vision Zero programs nationwide. Launched in 2020, the ITE Vision Zero Standing Committee was created to advance the goals of the Vision Zero and Towards Zero Deaths movements. This Standing Committee involves partners from a variety of public, private, and other non-profit organizations, as well as passionate volunteers from ITE’s own membership.

Institute of Transportation Engineers – Speed Management: The ITE Speed Management for Safety Resource Hub is an up-to-date collection of industry-wide guidance available nationally on speed management. It pulls together resources from FHWA as well as leading non-profit organizations advancing practices in four categories: Speed as a Safety Problem, Setting Speed Limits, Measures for Managing Speed, and Creating a Speed Management Program. Each resource includes detailed annotation on relevancy to speed management in the U.S and its relation to using speed management to increase transportation safety.

Bike Facility Planning and Multimodal Design Guides

School Safety
In Alameda County, the Cities of Fremont and Berkeley have implemented Vision Zero policies. See below for links to their websites.

Vision Zero in Alameda County

Other Efforts in Alameda County
The City of Oakland has developed a Safe Oakland Streets (SOS) Initiative, with the purpose of preventing serious and fatal traffic crashes and eliminate crash inequities in the City. This site has many resources that provide crash data for Oakland and crash prevention design elements.

Local Examples of Safety Projects
In response to discussion with ACTAC in May 2021, educational or “how to” videos and resources are compiled here on specific treatments related to Safe System implementation such as roundabouts and pedestrian beacons (HAWK signals), and other safety countermeasures. The videos can be used to help users of all modes navigate what may be new design treatments for a particular community.

How to use Roundabouts
More information on roundabouts can be found on the City of Alameda Central Avenue project page under the “Details” section.

How to use Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons/HAWK Signals


How to use Protected Intersections


How to use Different Bicycle Facilities