Friday Transportation Seminar: Systemic Opportunities to Improve Older Pedestrian Safety

Friday, February 18, 2022, 11:30am to 12:30pm PST
Jason Anderson and Sirisha Kothuri, PSU
PDH: 1 | AICP: 1

Friday Transportation Seminars at Portland State University have been a tradition since 2000. You can join us online at 11:30 AM. All presentations are recorded and shared on the event page afterwards.



This presentation provides a framework for improving older pedestrian safety in regard to serious (fatal and incapacitating) crashes, using Oregon as a case study. Upon review of state and federal practices pertaining to older pedestrian safety, four years of crash data identified 112 older (≥ 65 years) pedestrian serious injury crashes. These data were explored for factors that might be addressed systemically using two methods. First, raw frequencies in the crash data were assessed to determine trends and crash-related factors that are overrepresented. Second, a random forest analysis is conducted to determine important variables for predicting older pedestrian serious injury crashes. Using these crash-related factors, a workshop was held with 18 local stakeholders and experts. As part of the workshop, key crash trends, potential causations, and potential countermeasures by priority of implementation were determined based on perspectives from workshop participants. Three key systemic solutions were identified to improve older pedestrian safety, including improving pedestrian visibility and illumination, implementing treatments for left-turns, and shortening pedestrian crossing distances across the state. The framework presented in the current study can be adopted by other agencies to systemically address a wide variety of safety concerns.

This research was presented at the 2022 annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB), in the "Translating Safety Research to Real-World Solutions" session.


  • A framework for improving older pedestrian safety.
  • Complementing traditional safety analyses with machine learning approaches.
  • Stakeholder and expert opinions on older pedestrian overrepresentations and potential solutions.
  • Systemic solutions that can address older pedestrian safety, while also addressing safety for all pedestrians.


Jason Anderson, Research Associate and Adjunct Professor, Portland State University

Dr. Jason C. Anderson is a research associate and adjunct professor at Portland State University. Dr. Anderson’s expertise is in data analytics, particularly advanced statistical and econometric methods, with an emphasis on transportation safety, transportation economics, travel behavior, transportation mobility, big data, and policy-related applications (impacts of policy changes on transportation safety). His work on policy-related applications has led Oregon to develop and maintain a Safety Action Plan aimed at reducing truck driver-at-fault crashes on state highways. Although much of Dr. Anderson’s work has been focused on freight transportation, he has worked on several projects that focus on various transportation modes, including passenger vehicles, pedestrians, and bicycles. Dr. Anderson’s research on transportation safety has helped advance fundamental knowledge on various factors that influence the risk and severity of freight transportation-related crashes, and the impacts of speed limit regulatory changes on driver behavior and safety. Recently, Dr. Anderson has begun fusing these statistical and econometric methods with machine learning approaches to study transportation safety and travel behavior. Dr. Anderson focuses on innovative strategies to generate multidisciplinary solutions to technology-driven questions related to transportation engineering. Dr. Anderson is also an avid sports fan who does not miss a Sacramento Kings game or a NASCAR race.

Sirisha Kothuri, Senior Research Associate, Portland State University

Sirisha Kothuri, Ph.D. is a senior research associate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Portland State University. Dr. Kothuri’s primary research interests are in the areas of multimodal traffic operations, bicycle and pedestrian counting, and safety. Dr. Kothuri is the research co-chair of the Transportation Research Board’s Pedestrians Committee (ANF10) and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Data Subcommittee (ABJ 35(3)) and a member of Traffic Signal Systems committee. Dr. Kothuri received her BCE from Osmania University, India, MSCE from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge and Ph.D. from Portland State University.


This 60-minute seminar is eligible for 1 hour of professional development credit for AICP (see our provider summary). We can provide an electronic attendance certificate for other types of certification maintenance.


Photo by Cait McCusker

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The Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) at Portland State University is home to the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation (IBPI), and other transportation programs. TREC produces research and tools for transportation decision makers, develops K-12 curriculum to expand the diversity and capacity of the workforce, and engages students and professionals through education.