Dangerous by Design 2024

Dangerous by Design 2024 cover image shows a woman crossing the street without a crosswalk or any signage/lighting that signals for drivers to stop.

Dangerous by Design 2024 finds that 7,522 people were struck and killed while walking in 2022, an average of more than 20 per day. As in previous years, we found that not everyone lives and walks with the same risk. Black and Native Americans, older adults, and people walking in low-income communities die at higher rates and face higher levels of risk compared to all Americans. Our nation’s streets are dangerous by design, designed primarily to move cars quickly at the expense of keeping everyone safe. Unfortunately, this crisis will continue to get worse until those in power finally make safety for everyone who uses our roads a top priority.

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Memphis takes the top spot. The new #1 most deadly metro area (Memphis, TN) has risen steadily since the first time we ranked metro areas in 2009, with a rate that has nearly tripled from 1.83 up to 5.14 deaths per 100,000 people. 343 people died from 2018-2022, an increase of 158 deaths compared to the previous five-year period (2013-2017). This means that 65 percent of the pedestrian deaths in Memphis over the last decade happened in just the last five years.

Watch our short video about what it’s like to walk in Memphis.

A historic increase in these deaths from 2020 to 2021 shocked many, but this epidemic continues to get worse. In 2022, the most recent year with complete federal data, the number of people who were struck and killed while walking grew to 7,522, marking a 40-year high.

This represents an astonishing 75 percent increase in these deaths since 2010. Danger outside of a vehicle is getting consistently worse: The share of all traffic deaths that were people outside of vehicles hit the highest share in 40 years. Those 7,522 deaths are roughly the equivalent of the population of a small town like Buena Vista, Colorado, the student population of Gonzaga University, or more than three Boeing 737s full of people falling from the sky every month for a year. 61,459 people walking were struck and killed in the last decade from 2013-2022, compared to 45,935 in the previous decade from 2003–2012. 61,459 people killed over the last decade is a shocking number. Each one of these deaths was a person who left behind a grieving family and friends.
A bar chart shows an overall upward trend in pedestrian deaths since 2010. U.S. pedestrian deaths reached 4,302 in 2010. They've been above 6,000 since 2016, surpassing 7,300 in 2021 and reaching their highest point since 2010, 7,522, in 2022.

That trauma is just one of the hidden costs of this crisis that deserves far more attention. There’s the heavy cost and trauma of the hundreds of thousands of (under-reported) injuries during that time. And there’s the countless number of walking trips never taken as millions choose not to risk their lives or livelihoods on dangerous streets where thousands of their neighbors have lost their lives or suffered injuries.

“Walking,” disabilities, and inclusive language

Making our streets safer for everyone absolutely means for people of all ages and abilities, whether walking, biking, or using assistive devices like wheelchairs or walkers. Due to the available federal data, this report specifically examines only the deaths of people walking and tends to use the shorthand of “pedestrians” for this reason. In addition, USDOT data groups people using assisted mobility devices in the same category as things like skateboards, making it challenging to isolate the impact on people with disabilities. People with disabilities aren’t counted in any specific way that makes it possible to analyze the impact on them. Across the board, better data are required to assess the impact of current infrastructure.

The people most at risk

A people-focused approach to traffic safety identifies and prioritizes the safety of those who are most exposed to danger, those who are most vulnerable to danger, and those who bear disproportionate risk of injury or death—namely people outside of vehicles, older adults, people with disabilities, people of color, and people walking in lower-income areas. Click on the graphics below to expand them.

Lower-income areas have far higher rates of pedestrian deaths. All population fatality rate: 2.06. Fatality rates by census tract: 5.23 (<$15k), 4.90 ($15k-24.9k), 4.24 ($25k-34.9k), 3.34 ($35k-49.9k), 2.26 ($50k-74.9k), 1.71 ($75k-99.9k), 1.07 (>$100k).
Pedestrian deaths per 100,000 by race and ethnicity from 2018 to 2022, from lowest to highest. Asian/Pacific Islander: .99. White, Non-Hispanic: 1.59. Hispanic/Latinx: 2.01. Black or African American: 3.40. American Indian/Alaska Native: 6.81.
Adults between age 50-64 are most likely to be killed. Graph shows pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people by age. Fatality rate for all population: 2.06. .40 (0-19 years old), 2.44 (20-49 years old), 2.89 (50-64 years old), 2.43 (65-74 years old), and 2.79 (75+ years old).

Income:  Rates of death increase as the income of an area decreases. The per-capita pedestrian fatality rate systematically gets more deadly as a census tract’s median incomes go down. Despite only accounting for 17 percent of the population, 30 percent of all pedestrian deaths happen in census tracts with yearly incomes below $50,000. The fatality rate in census tracts with incomes between $15,000 and $25,000 is more than four times higher than in areas with a median income over $100,000 (4.90 vs 1.07).

Race: The data show that people of color, particularly American Indian and Alaska Native populations, are more likely to die while walking than people from any other race or ethnic group. This group, plus Black Americans, combined to account for nearly 22 percent of all pedestrian deaths in metro areas despite accounting for just under 13 percent of the population. Black people are killed at more than twice the rate of white people; Native people are killed at over four times the rate of white people.

These disparities are also felt with injuries: The rate of emergency department visits for pedestrian injuries was significantly higher for all people of color compared to that for non-Hispanic white people. 45 out of every 100,000 emergency department visits were for a walking-related injury, but that proportion dipped to just 32 out of 100,000 visits for white people. The proportion was nearly double for Black people (62 out of 100,000).

Age:  People between the ages of 50 and 65, and people over 75, are more likely to be struck and killed while walking. Crashes that may result in only injuries for younger people are more likely to become severe injuries or deaths for older people. When the mobility of older people is reduced—whether that’s because of the lack of safe infrastructure for walking, the higher risk to their lives, or they stop driving—their social isolation and disconnection increases, which leads to negative health outcomes.

The out-sized impacts (despite underreporting) on Native Americans

Though accounting for less than 3 percent of the landmass of the US, in 2022 alone, Indigenous reservations were the site of at least 44 pedestrian deaths (a fatality rate of 2.9 per year per 100,000). Between 2018 and 2022, at least 254 pedestrians traveling on Indigenous reservations have been involved in traffic violence incidents. Across the US during this same time frame, the pedestrian death rate was 2.06 percent; the death rate on reservations was 3.39 percent. These numbers are striking since nearly 5 percent of Indigenous people living on tribal lands weren’t counted in the 2020 Census. Reservations are oftentimes underinvested in by federal programs and must find ways to improve safety on roads often owned by counties, states, or the interstate highway system. Even for those communities committed to making changes, they face an uphill climb in seeing them funded or installed.

This epidemic continues to grow worse because our nation’s streets are dangerous by design, designed primarily to move cars quickly at the expense of keeping everyone safe.

The increase in pedestrian deaths is far outpacing the growth in population. Comparing five-year periods (2013-17 vs 2018-22): The largest 101 metros grew by about 1.7 percent while the total number of deaths in these metros increased by nearly 26 percent. The top 20 most deadly metros grew by 5.1 percent, but total fatalities increased by 37 percent.

The country’s largest metro areas are significantly more dangerous than a decade or more ago. In 2009, there were just eight large metro areas that had a pedestrian fatality rate of over 2.0 per 100,000 people. That number more than doubled to 18 metro areas in our 2014 report. Now, there are 48 metro areas with a rate of over 2.0 people killed per 100k people. This means that just because a metro area is ranked lower than in years prior, it’s not necessarily any less deadly than before—it’s just that other metros have had bigger increases. (Only two metros in the top 20 saw improvements in their rate, as noted below.) The most dangerous metro area in our 2009 report (Orlando at 2.86) wouldn’t even crack the top 20 (#26) in this report.

All but two of the top 20 are getting more deadly. The most dangerous metro areas are getting more deadly. Bar chart shows that of the top 20 metros, the highest increase in fatalities since 2017 occurred in the top 3 metros. #11 (Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL) dropped by .30 since 2017. #14 (Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL) dropped by .20 since 2017.

Florida metros have shuffled spots but still dominate the list. Florida continues to maintain a sizable presence in the top 20 (8 of 20), though two of those areas (Palm Bay and Jacksonville) are on the very short list of metros trending less deadly long term (comparing 2013-2017 average to 2018-2022). However, in Jacksonville, the total number of deaths actually increased across those five-year periods, from 260 to 274, which means their improved fatality rate (-0.20) was due entirely to their population growth.

Fast-growing metros in the South and the Sunbelt are still the most deadly. Pedestrian deaths in these places are either keeping pace with population growth or (far) outpacing it.

Urban areas are increasing in danger faster than rural areas. Since 2013, total pedestrian deaths are up by nearly 61 percent in urban areas, compared to 41 percent in rural areas. (Overall traffic deaths are holding flat in rural areas since 2013.)

Nothing makes a person more vulnerable than lacking the protection of a vehicle, and people with lower incomes are more likely to be walking, and walking in the most dangerous areas. In 2022, the share of all traffic deaths that were people outside of vehicles hit the highest share in 40 years. The decrease in the share of in-vehicle deaths are partially the result of safer vehicles thanks to new safety mandates and improved vehicle technology.

States are in total control of the most deadly roadways. Within these 101 largest metro areas, 66 percent of all traffic deaths occur on state-owned roads.

The metro areas with a long-term trend of getting safer were already less deadly. Only 18 of the 101 largest metro areas had a long-term trend of lowering fatality rates, but only two of those metro areas are in the top 20. (Palm Bay and Jacksonville, FL, as previously noted.) The other 16 metro areas were already far less deadly (average rank #82).

Ranking the most dangerous metro areas

This report includes pedestrian fatality statistics and ranks the largest 101 metro areas. All are too dangerous. As with the 2022 edition of this report, we examine a five-year period (2018-2022) to get a broader sample size for each metro area. Long-term fatality rates are calculated by comparing the average rate from 2013-17 to the average for 2018-22.

RankMetro AreaAvg. annual pedestrian fatality rate per 100k people (2018-2022)Pedestrian deaths (2018-2022)Pedestrian deaths (2013-2017)Long term trend in fatality rate
1Memphis, TN-MS-AR5.143431862.37
2Albuquerque, NM4.832211381.78
3Tucson, AZ4.162171052.08
4Bakersfield, CA3.991811510.55
5(t)Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL3.961341070.53
5(t)Baton Rouge, LA3.96172991.57
7Fresno, CA3.891961111.60
8Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL3.755995000.39
9Charleston-North Charleston, SC3.66147971.05
10Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR3.63136621.93
11Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL3.47106107-0.30
12(t)Columbia, SC3.46144941.14
12(t)Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA3.467975720.90
14Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL3.4410548510.61
15Jacksonville, FL3.40274260-0.20
16Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL3.29127910.69
17North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL3.271381110.38
18Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL3.264373700.17
19Stockton, CA3.23126890.78
20Sacramento-Roseville-Folsom, CA3.153772381.05
21(t)Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL3.12115790.70
21(t)New Orleans-Metairie, LA3.121971370.94
23Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, AZ3.107545490.69
24Jackson, MS2.9888680.63
25San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX2.953793230.23
26El Paso, TX2.86124910.69
27San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA2.834663510.70
28Greenville-Anderson, SC2.771291170.09
29Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA2.718256140.55
30Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA2.63172314490.44
31Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN2.621681280.62
32Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV2.56290283-0.12
33Greensboro-High Point, NC2.5097750.51
34New Haven-Milford, CT2.49108631.03
34Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX2.492861810.68
36Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN2.472461241.12
37Tulsa, OK2.46125880.66
38Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX2.448736870.37
39Birmingham-Hoover, AL2.39133980.67
40Oklahoma City, OK2.351681360.34
41Richmond, VA2.26149900.85
42Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD2.213142590.36
43Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD2.166745670.29
44Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC2.1566560.25
45St. Louis, MO-IL2.133002260.52
46Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX2.128156210.38
47Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC2.082771930.49
48San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA1.981961660.29
49Urban Honolulu, HI1.9699820.30
50Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA1.952441700.52
51Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN1.912021650.26
52Chattanooga, TN-GA1.8853360.56
53Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI1.87409434-0.15
54(t)Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO1.832712020.39
54(t)Raleigh-Cary, NC1.83130940.35
56Winston-Salem, NC1.7760450.40
57Springfield, MA1.7460440.34
58Hartford-East Hartford-Middletown, CT1.73105760.47
59Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV1.705413670.50
59Durham-Chapel Hill, NC1.7055420.17
61Scranton--Wilkes-Barre, PA1.6647440.08
62Knoxville, TN1.6573600.26
63San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA1.643843750.02
64Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA1.633262050.53
65Wichita, KS1.6152380.42
66McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX1.607078-0.25
67(t)Salt Lake City, UT1.59100900.06
67(t)Columbus, OH1.591701160.44
69Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA1.5746290.51
70Colorado Springs, CO1.5659360.53
71Kansas City, MO-KS1.551701280.33
72Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA1.5245290.49
73(t)New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA1.5114991567-0.05
73(t)Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI1.517205490.36
75Dayton-Kettering, OH1.5061510.23
76Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC1.49134129-0.01
77Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA1.4561500.27
78Syracuse, NY1.4347410.18
79Rochester, NY1.4076550.38
79Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY1.4063600.04
81Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI1.39109960.17
82Toledo, OH1.3343390.05
83Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN1.261421100.24
84Grand Rapids-Kentwood, MI1.186467-0.11
85Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT1.155564-0.20
86Akron, OH1.0838280.29
87Cleveland-Elyria, OH1.07111870.22
88Boise City, ID1.0440290.18
89(t)Ogden-Clearfield, UT1.033639-0.18
89(t)Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, NY1.033637-0.07
91Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA1.0149360.23
92(t)Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ0.974256-0.37
92)t)Providence-Warwick, RI-MA0.978199-0.26
94(t)Buffalo-Cheektowaga, NY0.965664-0.16
94(t)Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH0.96236239-0.04
96Pittsburgh, PA0.941111070.03
97Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA0.9333270.06
98Worcester, MA-CT0.904464-0.47
99Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI0.841551170.18
100Madison, WI0.802726-0.02
101Provo-Orem, UT0.712422-0.04
It is easy to take for granted the paths our sidewalks take, the networks our roads create, and the decades of decision-making that have shaped our built environment. At first glance, it can be hard to see the choices, both big and small, that have gone into creating our communities. And because of this, too many fail to realize one of the most powerful things in addressing traffic violence: we can make different choices in designing our transportation systems.

We are seeing incremental progress across the U.S. in communities courageous enough to choose safety, accessibility, and dignity to guide their transportation systems. Communities are beginning to reverse decades of planning that prioritizes cars over people. In addition to the celebrated cities able to achieve zero traffic deaths, there are cities like Buffalo, New York, and Detroit, Michigan, that are moving in the right direction by making different funding decisions, being open to exploring new strategies, and addressing community concerns in an intentional and timely fashion.

Now’s the time to commit to and take steps toward a future where all modes of traffic are supported and where the metric of a successful street is grounded in the people that it serves, not the cars that it moves.

Click here to learn how drivers benefit from safety over speed

Safe streets benefit everyone—including drivers

When we design our roads for the speed of vehicles, we sacrifice safety and comfort for everyone, including people who primarily travel inside a vehicle.

Click here to learn why drivers benefit from safe street design.


Street design for safety

A wide road is made safer with the help of bump-outs and clearly marked crosswalks
Our streets are dangerous by design, but relatively simple and affordable changes can improve the safety of people walking. A range of techniques are available to communities to improve visibility, reduce conflict points, shorten crossing distances, and encourage safer speeds.

Click here to see examples of design interventions for safer streets.

Learn more about efforts in Buffalo and Detroit to reduce pedestrian deaths

Since 2018, Detroit, Michigan has achieved a 40 percent decrease in the number of people hit and killed while walking. Buffalo, NY achieved a 50 percent decrease. Learn more about their strategies to address dangerous design by clicking the images below.


Detroit, MI


Buffalo, NY

Dangerous by Design Technical Assistance: Our champions leading change

Champions have been fighting to reclaim space from automobiles since they were first introduced. They have had the passion, dedication, and vision to push back on the notion that prioritizing cars is a foregone conclusion.

Read the case studies from our champions

Kalamazoo, Michigan
St. Louis, Missouri
Bismarck, North Dakota
Memphis, Tennessee
Seattle, Washington
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Learn more from experts at four other organizations

We are honored to include three special topical supplements in this year’s report. Click the links below to learn about dangerous street design from a different angle.

A pedestrian runs across the street as cars with bright headlights near their path

The absence of crashes does not equal the presence of safety

Seth LaJeunesse, Senior Research Associate with the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center

Police-reported crash data tells only part of the safety story, and the risks that people walking and biking face on our roadways are potentially much higher than the numbers show. To address safety needs, performance measures and management systems cannot simply respond to crash data alone. Read more >>

A cyclist and pedestrian in a long crosswalk are dwarfed by a Ford F-150 pick-up traveling in the same direction

Designing vehicles for pedestrians

Jessica Cicchino, Vice President of Research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The design of vehicles—everything from their size and shape to their software—has a profound effect on the safety of other road users. Through research and testing programs, IIHS is identifying vehicle improvements that can work in conjunction with infrastructure and enforcement changes to produce a safer transportation system for all. Read more >>

A Black man starts crossing a long intersection as rows of traffic on a wide road speed past him

Pedestrian deaths often occur at “safe speeds”

Chris McCahill, Deputy Director of the State Smart Transportation Initiative

Speed plays a drastically different role in pedestrian deaths than it does for drivers and their passengers. While vehicle occupants typically face the most danger at much higher speeds, pedestrians face a constant threat. Addressing this trend requires rethinking “safe” speed limits. Read more >>

3 ways the US can catch up with global peers on traffic safety

Natalie Draisin, Director, North America Office & United Nations Representative, FIA Foundation

The US prides itself on being a global leader. Yet there’s one way we’d rather not be leading—in the number of people dying on our roads. Across all income levels, among the countries with the largest populations, we’re the only one where deaths reached these historic highs. Read more >>


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided support for data analysis and synthesis used in the report under cooperative agreement OT18-1802 supporting the Active People, Healthy NationSM Initiative, a national initiative led by the CDC to help 27 million Americans become more physically active by 2027. Learn more: https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/activepeoplehealthynation/index.html. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.