Champion Spotlight: Fort Smith, AR

This case study was written as part of our Dangerous by Design Technical Assistance program. This initiative brought together champions from across the country to advance street safety efforts through data collection and storytelling. This study was written by Reese Brewer, Director of the Frontier Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). 

26 people died while walking in the Fort Smith region of western Arkansas between 2018 and 2022, 7 percent of all pedestrian fatalities in the state. Historic and continued investment in vehicular infrastructure resulted in little connectivity, missing sidewalks, scarce bike lanes, and few mobility options or amenities for the diverse communities of the region. Tragic consequences have followed, impacting families and leaving the fabric of the community torn. One such tragedy is the loss of Pathro Black II, who was killed in 2018 while walking to his sister’s house on a street that had no sidewalks or lighting. His family shares their story in this video:


Frontier Metropolitan Planning Organization recognizes that a safe system for bicyclists, pedestrians, and people with disabilities is paramount, especially on dangerous streets. This includes efforts such as developing a bicycle and pedestrian plan for the City of Fort Smith and surrounding communities, identifying catalytic projects to transform roads such as Rogers Avenue, supporting active transportation improvements like the Bass Reeves Legacy Loop, implementing electric bikeshare in low-income neighborhoods, and supporting training in active transportation design for community leaders, officials, and agencies.

Taking action

To address these ongoing safety challenges, Frontier MPO is in the early stages of establishing a Save AR Lives campaign to launch educational efforts and host events to create awareness of traffic violence and end avoidable deaths.

Complete Streets Transportation