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Vulnerable Use​​r Crash Response Program

Most fatal crashes are preventable and one death on our roads is too many. Severe crashes involving people walking and bicycling are on the rise in Oregon, and they are disproportionally located in communities with more residents who are low-income, Black, indigenous, or people of color.

Who are Vulnerable Road Users?

We use the term “vulnerable road user” to describe a person who is unprotected by an outside shield, like in a car or truck, when they are traveling. They are considered vulnerable because they have a greater risk of injury in any crash with a vehicle, so they need protection against such crashes through safer system designs. Vulnerable road users can include a person:

  • Walking, bicycling, skating, or using a scooter.
  • Using a wheelchair or other personal mobility device.
  • Using other active or non-motorized means of transportation.

Oregon law (ORS 801.608) also includes highway workers and people operating motorcycles, mopeds, or farm equipment in the definition of vulnerable road users. For the purposes of the Vulnerable User Crash Response Program (known as the VCR program) and Oregon’s Vulnerable User Safety Assessment, the term “vulnerable user” refers only to people walking, biking, or using a personal conveyance.

Taking Action to Increase Safety for Vulnerable Users

In March 2023, the Oregon Transportation Commission approved reallocation of $10.6 million in HB2017 State Safety Priority Funds in the 2024-2027 State Transportation Improvement Program to create the Vulnerable User Crash Response Program. The VCR program includes a two-track approach to addressing vulnerable user safety: 

  • Responsive – We will assess fatal vulnerable user crashes on the state highway system as they occur and respond as appropriate.
  • Systemic – We will identify and assess high priority safety and equity corridors for vulnerable road user safety improvements that we can implement corridor-wide within one year.

Our goal is to learn from crashes, increase our understanding of how users – drivers and vulnerable users – interact with the existing infrastructure, and support agencywide efforts to improve overall safety outcomes. 

Responsive F​atal Crash Review

Beginning in January 2024, a Fatal Crash Response Team will meet monthly to review recent vulnerable user fatal crashes, discuss site conditions, and identify potential contributing factors to crashes. The team will use consistent review criteria to determine if a crash is eligible for the VCR program. If a crash is eligible, the team will identify potential rapid response safety countermeasures to forward to our region offices for further investigation. We will advance rapid response safety countermeasures that regions confirm are appropriate and feasible with a goal of completing construction within one year. 

Not all fatal crash locations will require region review or rapid response treatments. If the region does not recommend further action, we will document the reason in the VCR case file. If the Fatal Crash Response Team or region office identifies potential safety improvements at a location that are outside the scope of the VCR program, they will share the information with other appropriate ODOT programs for future funding consideration.

Systemic Saf​ety Response

​In 2021, we implemented a $10 million pilot program to identify and address the top-ranking corridors across the state for pedestrian safety and equity needs. We rapidly constructed proven low-cost safety measures on those corridors. The VCR program will continue reviewing needs through a systemic approach, as we did in the pilot. We plan to identify up to three corridors for the 2024-27 round of systemic funds by June 2024.​

​We will use initial fatal crash data to identify fatal crashes involving vulnerable users on state highways for review. The information in the database is preliminary and subject to change as our analysts process the varying information they collect.​

As the VCR program progresses, we will develop and deliver quarterly reports to share the number of fatal crashes reviewed, the number of crashes recommended for further investigation, and the number of rapid response projects completed. We will share these reports on this website.

Implementation PhaseEstimated Schedule
Program developmentJune – December 2023
Fatal Crash Response Team Kick-offLate January 2024
Begin Region InvestigationsLate March 2024
Begin Rapid Response ProposalsMay 2024
Identify Systemic CorridorsJune 2024

Program ElementFunding 2024-2027“Triggering Event" Project Amounts
Program Administration



n/aUp to $50k per corridor and $10k per spot location for investigation



Priority corridors identified each STIP cycle (3 years)Soft limit up to $2M per corridor



Fatal pedestrian or bicycle crash on state systemSoft limit up to $500k per location

​With the 2023 Oregon Transportation Plan, we commit to “enable safe travel for all people, regardless of their age, ability, race, income, or mode of transportation" by implementing “a holistic, proactive approach to system safety that eliminates the occurrence of people being killed or seriously injured on the transportation system by anticipating human mistakes and recognizing the vulnerability of people on the road." The Oregon Transportation Safety Action Plan also identifies vulnerable road users as an emphasis area.

In fall 2021, we initiated the Equitable Active Safety Improvements Evaluation effort to identify ways to more equitably and rapidly deliver infrastructure safety improvements to address pedestrian and bicycle fatalities and serious injuries on the state highway system. This assessment:
  • Pinpointed recommendations for improving crash data processes.
  • Identified a toolkit of safety countermeasures we can put in place in a short time frame.
  • Recommended the creation of a new, dedicated, state-funded program to assess fatal pedestrian and bicycle crashes and rapidly implement changes on state highways.

Contact the Vulnerable Users Crash Response Program

4040 Fairview Industrial Drive SE
Salem, Oregon 97302