Dangerous by Design coming next week—although its reality is already here.

On March 10, Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition will release Dangerous by Design 2021, the most up-to-date look at how dangerous each state and the largest metro areas are for people walking. Join us for a webinar on March 25 to hear from experts about the report findings and how we can address this preventable epidemic of pedestrian deaths.

Every day, Americans step outside their doors to walk to work, the bus stop, the park, the grocery store, and every day, more than a dozen will die in that simple, daily act. The worst part is that many of these deaths are totally preventable, but there is no urgency to do so. The reality is that, going by the average numbers from 2019, somewhere in the neighborhood of 100-120 people will die while walking before you read Dangerous by Design next Wednesday, and many of those deaths will happen because of streets designed primarily for the speed of vehicles at the expense of their safety. 

Over the last decade we’ve been producing this same report and watching the slow, steady, terrifying increase in the number of people struck and killed while walking each year in this country—even as overall traffic fatalities have been trending downward. After all that time trying desperately to get those who can change things to pay attention, we feel like we’ve been living in a version of Groundhog Day.

An average of 17 people a day were struck and killed by drivers in 2019, however, the danger of being hit and killed is not the same in every place, and certain people are more at risk than others. 

With more people walking and discovering the power of their own two feet—and discovering how unwalkable their neighborhoods are—during COVID-19 lockdowns, the numbers we’ve found don’t bode well for future reports. 

Using the most recent federal data on pedestrian fatalities from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, Dangerous by Design 2021 creates a “Pedestrian Danger Index” (PDI) for each metro area and state. The PDI allows us to compare the relative risk to pedestrians among jurisdictions with different levels or walking.

Want to spread the word? Here’s a guide to do so.

For more information, see Dangerous by Design 2021 (when it is live on 3/10) and subscribe to our email list to receive the full report when it’s released. And thank you to the following organizations for supporting this year’s report:

Complete Streets Transportation