Mayors Institute on Pedestrian Safety

The Mayors Institute on Pedestrian Safety (MIPS) is a partnership between the Mayors Innovation Project, AARP Livable Communities and Smart Growth America to help mayors create communities that are safe, vibrant, and equitable for people of all ages. MIPS will provide mayors an opportunity to learn from both topic experts and their peers about how to create safer streets and better protect their most vulnerable neighbors.

On April 13, 2023, nine mayors from across the country were selected from a strong pool of applicants to join the Institute’s first-ever cohort.

The mayors selected for this year’s cohort include Mayor John Bauters of Emeryville, CA; Mayor Indya Kincannon of Knoxville, TN; Mayor Danene Sorace of Lancaster, PA; Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway of Madison, WI; Mayor Cavalier Johnson of Milwaukee, WI; Mayor Mark Freda of Princeton, NJ; Mayor Malik Evans of Rochester, NY; Mayor Tishaura Jones of St. Louis, MO; and Mayor Caroline Simmons of Stamford, CT.

Over the next six months, cohort members will meet virtually with national experts and each other to share experiences and identify solutions to their pedestrian safety challenges.

We are a national learning network for mayors committed to shared prosperity, environmental sustainability, and efficient democratic government.

Learn more here.

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Why should mayors apply?

Communities across the United States are facing record numbers of pedestrian fatalities. Estimates from the Governors Highway Safety Association show that 7,485 pedestrians were struck and killed in 2021, the highest number in 40 years and one of the biggest single-year jumps in decades. These deaths and serious injuries disproportionately impact black and brown communities, lower-income neighborhoods, and older adults. This cohort will give mayors the tools and knowledge to make immediate safety improvements on their most dangerous streets and examples of longer-term, systemic changes that can be made to address this growing issue.

What will participating mayors receive?

  • Access to New Ideas and Solutions:  Over the course of 2023, mayors who are selected for the Institute will participate in five virtual sessions led by topic experts on different components of pedestrian safety policy and will receive a variety of tools and resources to support their work. 
  • Support Network from Peer Mayors:  Each session will provide ample discussion time for attendees to share and discuss their challenges with the topic expert and their fellow mayors. 
  • Hands-On Learning: At the end of the cohort, participating mayors will gather in-person for a final meeting to tour demonstration projects and discuss what takeaways have been most valuable to each participant, as well as an overview of each cohort member’s implementation goals. 
  • National Visibility for Work: MIPS partners will document and share participating mayors’ work on pedestrian safety through the cohort. This may include video content, articles, and highlighting content on websites and newsletters. 
  • One-on-One Coaching:  Finally, mayors will develop a brief implementation plan outlining short-, medium- and long-term strategies their city can implement moving forward to create safer streets with one-on-one support from Smart Growth America’s Transportation for America program, a leading national organization.

What will the time commitment be for participating mayors?

Participating mayors will be expected to attend five, 1 ½ hour virtual workshops taking place monthly between May and September 2023, as well as an in-person, day-long meeting in October 2023. Travel costs will be covered, in accordance with any state and local ethics rules governing gifts, travel and expenses.

Workshop dates are as follows:

  • Tuesday, May 23rd 2:00-3:30 CT
  • Tuesday, June 20th, 2:00-3:30 CT
  • Tuesday, July 18th, 2:00-3:30 CT
  • Tuesday, August 22nd, 2:00-3:30 CT
  • Tuesday, September 19th, 2:00-3:30 CT

All mayors are expected to personally attend and participate fully in each meeting.  They may be accompanied by one designated staff member. 

Additionally, mayors will be required to create a brief implementation plan, with support from Smart Growth America, to highlight short-, medium- and long-term strategies that they plan to implement in their cities to reduce traffic violence based on what they have learned throughout the Institute.

What topics will the workshops cover?

Workshop topics will include:

  • Understanding the Pedestrian Safety Crisis – A deep dive into what is causing the rise in pedestrian deaths in the United States and what cities need to do to help stem the tide.
  • Working With Governmental Partners – This session will focus on building successful partnerships with regional and state governments in order to create a comprehensive strategy for protecting pedestrians. 
  • Funding – This session will highlight the financial resources available to cities to improve conditions for pedestrians, including state and federal funding as well as best practices for local resource allocation. 
  • The Role of Land Use in Pedestrian Safety – This session will focus on the importance of land use planning and zoning in creating walkable cities. 
  • Community Engagement and Communications – A session designed to help mayors make the case for walkability, engage the community in an equitable and representative way, and distill complicated policy and infrastructure challenges for a non-technical audience. 

What is the selection process and criteria?

Applications will be reviewed and evaluated by representatives from the Mayors Innovation Project, AARP Livable Communities, and Smart Growth America. Applications will be evaluated based on the criteria below. Only complete applications will be considered. Applicants that best meet the stated criteria will receive a formal invitation to participate by March 27th. 

MIPS is interested in mayors and cities from a variety of geographies who want to positively impact their community by reducing pedestrian injuries and deaths on their streets, have commitment and will take the necessary tangible steps, are prepared to lead on the issue in their community and act as a champion for the cause, and will fully participate in the activities of the Institute.

  • Commitment: This includes how the public has been and will be engaged, a willingness to alter city policy, shift funding priorities, and invest in infrastructure that will create meaningful change, especially for marginalized communities including historically disinvested neighborhoods, racial minorities, and older adults. (50%)
  • Impact: This includes a clearly identified need and opportunity to impact pressing, concrete and specific challenges facing their community. (30%)
  • Leadership: While prior experience or tangible results focused on pedestrian safety are not required, applicants should highlight their preparedness to make pedestrian safety a high priority. (20%)
  • Program Participation:  As a requirement for consideration,  Mayors need to agree to fully participate in each aspect of the Institute as described above.

The Mayors Institute on Pedestrian Safety will also look to form a cohort that represents a variety of states, regions, and communities, as well as a diversity of Mayors.

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