Welcome to USDOT, Secretary Chao

Yesterday, the Senate voted to confirm Elaine Chao as the next Secretary of Transportation.

To Secretary Chao we say congratulations. America’s transportation system is a key part of our economy and our communities, and in your new position you have a unique and valuable opportunity to improve this country.

Chao already has experience running a federal agency, and has made clear that safety will be a priority for her time as transportation secretary. We think that’s fantastic—especially if she means making streets safer for people walking and biking.

Introducing “Dangerous by Design 2016”

Between 2005 and 2014, a total of 46,149 people were struck and killed by cars while walking. That averages out to about 13 people per day—and each one of those people was a child, parent, friend, classmate, or neighbor.

Dangerous by Design 2016

Between 2005 and 2014, a total of 46,149 people were struck and killed by cars while walking. In 2014, the most recent year for which data are available, 4,884 people were killed by a car while walking—105 people more than in 2013. On average, 13 people were struck and killed by a car while walking every day in 2014. And between 2005 and 2014, Americans were 7.2 times more likely to die as a pedestrian than from a natural disaster. Each one of those people was a child, parent, friend, classmate, or neighbor. And these tragedies are occurring across the country—in small towns and big cities, in communities on the coast and in the heartland.

“Dangerous by Design 2016” is coming

Where is it most dangerous to be a pedestrian in the United States? On January 10, 2017, Smart Growth America will release Dangerous by Design 2016, our flagship report about the American epidemic of pedestrian deaths.

USDOT announces new initiative to improve safety for people bicycling and walking

pedestrian-safetyThunderbird Avenue in Phoenix, AZ. Photo via Ped/Bike Images.

Americans today are walking and bicycling for fun, for their health, and as a way to get where they need to go. But in too many communities, roads are unsafe for people traveling by foot or bike. Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced plans to help end this deadly problem.

At the Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place conference this morning in Pittsburgh, USDOT Secretary Anthony Foxx announced a new federal initiative to make roads safer for people bicycling and walking. According to a USDOT release, the 18-month campaign will begin with road safety assessments conducted by USDOT field offices in every state, and will produce multiple resources to help communities build streets that are safer for people walking, bicycling, and taking public transportation.

"They're gonna need to see this upstairs."

USDOT-selfie
Smart Growth America President Geoff Anderson personally delivered the safety rule comments to USDOT.

“They’re gonna need to see this upstairs” — that’s what the staff at the U.S. Department of Transportation said about your letters this week.

By Monday afternoon, over 1500 of you made your voices heard in support of stronger transportation safety measures through our online action. Geoff Anderson, president and CEO of Smart Growth America, personally delivered your letters calling on USDOT to require that states set real targets for reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries on our streets and that they be held accountable as they work toward those goals.

Hear the recap: "Dangerous By Design 2014" online discussion

dbd-2014 (1)Yesterday, Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition released Dangerous by Design 2014, a report documenting preventable pedestrian fatalities and what can be done to make our streets safer for everyone.

We hosted an online discussion with experts working on strategies and tactics to improve pedestrian safety in cities and towns nationwide.

If you weren’t able to join yesterday’s event, the recorded version is now available.

Watch the archived webinar

Speakers on yesterday’s call included Craig Chester, Press Manager, Smart Growth America; Stefanie Seskin, Deputy Director, National Complete Streets Coalition; Corinne Kisner, Program Manager, Designing Cities Initiative at National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO); Steven Spears, Principal, Design Workshop; and Amanda Day from Best Foot Forward in Orlando, FL.

Dangerous by Design 2014 highlights preventable pedestrian fatalities

VA Rt 1 roadside peds credit Cheryl Cort

Every day, in communities across the country, people are killed while walking to school, to work or to the store. From 2003 to 2012, more than 47,000 people were killed while walking – sixteen times the number of people who died in natural disasters, but without the corresponding level of urgency. But these deaths can be prevented and it is past time for our state and federal leaders to act.

Dangerous by Design 2014, a new report released today by the National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of Smart Growth America, takes a look at where these fatalities happen and who’s most at risk, presenting data from every county, metro area, and state. The report also ranks the major metropolitan areas according to the Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI), which assesses the safety of walking by normalizing fatality rates by how often people walk to work, and by the share of traffic fatalities suffered by people on foot.

As in past years, Sunbelt communities that grew in the post-war period top the list of most dangerous regions according to the PDI: Orlando, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Jacksonville, Miami, Memphis, Birmingham, Houston, Atlanta and Charlotte. These areas developed rapidly, with many low-density neighborhoods overly dependent on extra wide, fast arterial roads to connect homes, schools, jobs and shops. Such roads rarely feature the facilities needed for safe travel by foot.

The report also calls out the unacceptably high number of pedestrian deaths seen in nearly every major metro region. The fact is that even our most walk-friendly communities can—and must—do more.