DOT unveils $2M pedestrian safety campaign

Foxx said the DOT was launching the pedestrian safety campaign because the number of pedestrians who were killed in the U.S. has increased 8 percent between 2009-2011. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said there were 4,432 pedestrian deaths that year. 

The transportation department on Monday said 22 municipalities would be selected as "focus cities" that would be eligible for the grant money to improve their pedestrian safety efforts. The department said the cities that were selected, including Washington, D.C. and New York City, have higher pedestrian fatalities rates than the national average.

Foxx said it was important that people did not just think of pedestrians as people who do not regularly drive or use a public transportation system.

"This is something that impacts all of us, whether you're walking to your car from your office, taking a morning jog or walking across the street to say hello your neighbor," he said. "At some point in every day, we're all pedestrians."

Foxx added that the solution to the problem of pedestrian accidents was not just changing drivers' behavior.

"Secretary LaHood did such a good job drawing our attention to distracted driving, which can have an impact on pedestrian safety obviously, [but] we also have to attune our own pedestrians to making sure they're paying attention because a lot of times people will be wearing their ... headphones, and you can get in an accident that way."

Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood left the department in July.

Foxx said it would difficult for police officers to make sure every pedestrian is following traffic rules and paying attention when they cross streets, but he said the transportation department had to try to do what it could about the problem.

"Every pedestrian death is one too many," the transportation chief said on Monday. "Let's do what we can to prevent these tragedies."