Report ranks most dangerous cities for pedestrians

(May 24, 2011) WASHINGTON (PRNewswire-USNewswire) — More than 47,700 pedestrians were killed in the U.S. between 2000 and 2009, and the majority of those deaths were preventable, according to a new report released today by Transportation for America. 

The report, "Dangerous by Design 2011: Solving the Epidemic of Preventable Pedestrian Deaths," shows how roadway designs promoted by federal investment endanger people on foot.

Dangerous by Design ranked America's major metropolitan areas using a Pedestrian Danger Index that uses 10 years of data to assess how safe pedestrians are while walking. The top four dangerous cities — Orlando, Miami, Jacksonville, and Tampa — are all in Florida.  Other dangerous cities in the top 10 include: San Bernardino, Calif.; Las Vegas; Memphis, Tenn.; Phoenix; Dallas-Fort Worth; and Houston.

The report presents data on pedestrian fatalities and injuries in every U.S. county. And for the first time, this year's report includes an online, interactive map showing the locations where pedestrian fatalities have occurred.

More than 688,000 pedestrians were injured over the decade, a number equivalent to a pedestrian being struck by a car or truck every seven minutes. The report finds that while only 1.5 percent of federal funds are allocated towards upgrading dangerous roads, 12 percent of all nationwide fatalities are pedestrians. Of these fatalities, nearly 4,000 were children 15 years and younger, making pedestrian injury the third leading cause of death by unintentional injury for that age group.

The majority of deaths occur on roadways that encourage speeding but do not provide the sidewalks, crosswalks, signals and other protections for people who are walking, the report finds. Most of these roads were built using federal transportation funds. 

The report comes as the federal transportation bill is being debated in Washington, and calls to eliminate programs that can promote safer, more walkable streets have increased.

"Some in Congress have questioned the federal interest in keeping pedestrians safe, believing it to be a strictly local issue," said James Corless, director of Transportation for America. "But two-thirds of all pedestrian fatalities in the last 10 years occurred on federal-aid roadways. Investing to make our roads safer for pedestrians is not a frill, but an urgent matter of life and death in too many of our communities. Federal programs that caused the dangerous roads to be built now must be reformed to help communities make them safer."

To view the full report and recommendations for policy change click here.