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.

Complete Streets

Where roads are dangerous by design

Every day, in communities across the country, people are killed while walking to school, to work or to the store. Many of these lives could be saved by building and operating streets that work for everyone who uses them.

On Tuesday, May 20, Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition will release Dangerous by Design 2014, a report that brings attention to the national epidemic of pedestrian fatalities and the decades-long neglect of pedestrian safety.

The 2014 edition will rank the country’s major metropolitan areas using a Pedestrian Danger Index, which assesses the likelihood that a person walking will be hit by a driver of a vehicle, and by looking at overall percentage of traffic deaths suffered by people walking. In addition, it will make specific recommendations at the national and state levels to improve safety, including Complete Streets practices that ensure streets are built and operated for the safety of all road users.

Complete Streets

Show Us Your Dangerous Streets

Photos of ‘incomplete’ streets — those built with speeding cars in mind and little thought to people traveling by any other mean — have been vital in explaining the necessity of Complete Streets policies across the country. Help us continue to tell the story of ‘incomplete’ streets by sharing your photos with our partners at Transportation for America.

Complete Streets

SGA News Clips, 5/25/11

T4America: Just Like Plane Crashes, Pedestrian Deaths Are a National Issue
DC Streetsblog, 5/24/11
Transportation for America’s new report, “Dangerous by Design,” includes rankings of states and metro areas, but you can zoom in even more precisely on your neighborhood or your kids’ school. Check out their interactive map to find pedestrian fatalities and identify trouble spots near you. And don’t stop there. T4America is encouraging everyone who supports safer streets to take action and tell Congress to preserve funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects.

Milwaukee-area leaders call for more transit aid: In letter, 5 cite higher-than-expected calculations for state transportation funds
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 5/23/11
Revised calculations of state transportation funding would give lawmakers the financial leeway to block all of Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed cuts in aid to Wisconsin public transit systems, Milwaukee-area leaders said Monday.

Opinion: As Housing Goes, So Goes the Economy
New York Times, 5/24/11
April was the seventh straight decline in monthly filings — which include notices of default, auction and bank repossessions — according to RealtyTrac, a real estate data provider. But the decline appears to be largely the result of banks slowing the foreclosure process in order to keep properties off the market until prices recover. The catch is that prices are unlikely to recover as long as millions of foreclosures are imminent.”

Gas Poised to Decline as $4 Drives Down Demand: Energy Markets
Business Week, 5/25/11
U.S. gasoline prices of almost $4 a gallon, the highest level since 2008, are deterring motorists just as the country’s vacation season starts, likely bringing relief at the pump by July.

Demand for the motor fuel declined 2.2 percent to 8.91 million barrels a day from the same month last year as prices were up 6.6 percent from the prior month, the industry-funded American Petroleum Institute said in a report May 20.

“Higher gasoline prices are damping demand,” said John Felmy, chief economist with the Washington-based API. “This is just a price reaction.”

Expressway, state reach deal to build Wekiva Parkway
Orlando Sentinel, 5/24/11
Metro Orlando’s major road-building authority and the state are joining forces to build the Wekiva Parkway, $1.8 billion missing link in the region’s beltway.

The two agencies aim to break ground on the 26-mile toll road as early as spring of next year, with completion within seven years. Yet, many details remain to be worked out, most importantly how to pay for the project. A plan could be developed by August.

Complete Streets

Transportation for America releases Dangerous by Design 2011

In the last decade, from 2000 through 2009, more than 47,700 pedestrians were killed in the United States – the equivalent of a jumbo jet full of passengers crashing roughly every month. On top of that, more than 688,000 pedestrians were injured during that time as well – a number equivalent to a pedestrian being struck by a car or truck every 7 minutes.

Despite the magnitude of these avoidable tragedies, little public attention and even less in public resources have been committed to reducing pedestrian deaths and injuries in the United States. On the contrary, transportation agencies typically prioritize speeding traffic over the safety of people on foot or other vulnerable road users.

Transportation for America’s Dangerous by Design 2011 examines this problem and America’s streets that are “dangerous by design” — engineered for speeding traffic with little or no provision for people on foot, in wheelchairs or on bicycles.

This year’s edition of the report is accompanied by an interactive map that tracks pedestrian fatalities from 2001 to 2009 across the country. Type an address and click on any point to see the available information about the victim, the date, the location, the street type and even what the road looks like via Google Street View.

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