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Relevant emerging issues for people walking are related to changes to the vehicle fleet and emergent transportation modes that surround pedestrians. Many sources have documented that light trucks (SUVs and pickups) make up an increasing proportion of the vehicle fleet. These vehicle types, on average, weigh more and have more power than other passenger vehicles so the average force involved in crashes with pedestrians has steadily increased (Hu & Klinich, 2012; Hu & Cicchino, 2018). The emergence of transportation network companies (TNCs) that hire drivers as contractors who drive their personal vehicles may offer some benefits for pedestrians in the form of first-last mile connections to transit, but they likely generate more vehicle miles and vehicle trips, and their curbside activity may create more exposure to conflicts (Erhardt et al., 2019; Barrios et al., 2018).

Vehicle automation has the potential to profoundly affect pedestrian and bicyclist safety; but what is known about the current level of automation reveals that detection technologies are insufficient (AAA Foundation, 2019). However, if automated technologies improve, especially their pedestrian detection capability, then a safety benefit is possible for people walking. A 2017 NHTSA report estimated the safety benefits of Pedestrian Crash Avoidance/Mitigation (PCAM) systems (Yanagisawa et al., 2017). The study used FARS and GES data to reconstruct real crashes and performed tests for two specific pedestrian-vehicle collision scenarios and found an estimated range of 10% to 78% for crash avoidance effectiveness in both scenarios. Current testing is largely limited to a research environment involving light vehicles and measuring the systems’ capabilities to detect a pedestrian in the road ahead. Combs et al. (2019) analyzed approximately 5,000 pedestrian fatalities from FARS and found that under research assumptions, automated detection technologies may prevent 30% to 90% of pedestrian fatalities when failure to detect is the primary causal factor. The authors caution that their findings are not necessarily exclusionary of other causal factors and that the estimated benefits may not be realized in all circumstances and equitably for all roadway users. A future with connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) will not only affect mobility, but it will reshape the built environment, so Shay et al. (2018) call for more research to investigate their safety and equity impacts (access, land use, etc.) on pedestrians and walkability. A discussion guide from the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center synthesizes existing literature on the safety impacts of CAVs and introduces 10 key challenge areas (Sandt & Owens, 2017).

Little is known about the effects of e-scooters on pedestrian safety. Most e-scooter riders are pedestrians at some point along their trip and they may use pedestrian infrastructure, bicycle infrastructure, or roadway infrastructure depending on their comfort and State or local regulations (Ognissanto et al., 2018). Though data are limited, crashes between e-scooters and pedestrians resulting in injury are rare. Pedestrians, however, report safety concerns involving e-scooter riders being on sidewalks rather than bike lanes or the roadway. There are also some concerns with e-scooter parking taking up sidewalk space or presenting a tripping hazard (Sandt et al., 2022).