How much space does a motorist going 45 mph need to be able to safely stop for a pedestrian?

  • Officials: 400 feet is distance needed to safely stop for pedestrians
  • MetroPlan Orlando trying to help drivers, walkers ID dangerous areas
  • Danger factors include speed of road, intersection design, lighting

About 400 feet, or a little more than a football field.

Orlando transportation officials know it's an uphill battle to make this number a reality no matter the time of day.  

"You normally can't see a pedestrian at night for more than 200 feet," MetroPlan Orlando’s Mighk Wilson said.

MetroPlan Orlando is trying to teach drivers, walkers and bicyclists how to identify dangerous areas and be more careful.

Some of those danger factors include the speed of the road, intersection design and lighting.

"To light the road is the only way for motorists to see pedestrians in time to avoid a collision," Wilson said.

MetroPlan Orlando's Pedestrian Safety Action Plan seems to suggest that doing just a little bit to an area can sometimes improve it by a whole lot.

Take, for example, the stretch of State Road 436 between Colonial Drive and Old Cheney Highway, an area that is infamous for pedestrian accidents.  Recently, new lighting improved the area.

Sounds like a small change, right? According to their own research, MetroPlan Orlando found a 70-percent increase in crashes on a six-lane road with a median and no lighting compared with the same road with lighting. 

In addition, they found that 41 percent of nighttime fatalities occurred on streets without lighting.

Sometime next year, the Florida Department of Transportation will begin work on installing raised medians on the stretch of SR 436 and soon will vote to approve five similar projects across Central Florida that will significantly improve roadway lighting.

"By having a raised refuge in the middle of the road, a pedestrian can focus on one traffic coming from one direction at a time," Wilson said.

As for speed limits, those may change one day, but nothing is set in stone.

"We need to look at policy at the top and ask, 'What are the factors that go into setting our posted speeds, because there is some room for some modification there,'" Wilson said.

News 13 has partnered with the Florida Department of Transportation on its “Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow” campaign. The idea is to make sure we’re all sharing the road with people who walk or ride their bikes, and everyone makes it where they need to be safely. FDOT has all kinds of resources for you on