Dangerous by Design 2014: Illinois
A national epidemic of pedestrian deaths
American communities are poised for a renaissance in walking. We’re walking more often, for fun and to get to places in our neighborhood. We turn to WalkScore when figuring out where to live and our most walkable places often are among the most economically vibrant in the country. Hundreds of cities have adopted Complete Streets policies to ensure walking is in the forefront of our decisions regarding street design. Public health officials from the Office of the Surgeon General to the local doctor’s office are encouraging us to get out for a walk for physical activity and to combat chronic disease.
But we are still dealing with a legacy of roadways that fail to account for the safety of people on foot. In the decade from 2003 through 2012, more than 47,000 people died while walking on our streets. That is 16 times the number of people who died in natural disasters during in the same ten years, but without the corresponding level of urgency.
In 2012, pedestrians accounted for nearly 15 percent of all traffic deaths, up 6 percent from 2011 and representing a five-year high.
Dangerous by Design 2014 takes a look at where these fatalities happen and who’s most at risk, and presents the data from each state.