Cities With the Most Pedestrian Deaths

GOOD Magazine has an infographic illustrating the world cities with the most pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 residents. Unsurprisingly, 3 American cities are at the top of the list.

Atlanta, Detroit and Los Angeles appear on the outer ring of the circle, with Atlanta and Detroit each coming to roughly 10 pedestrians killed each year for every 100,000 residents. Los Angeles comes in with 7 and a half.

The source of the study is the New York City Pedestrian Safety and Action Plan released in August 2010.

Full Story: Transparency: The Most Dangerous Cities for Walking



In some ways understates risk

This is an interesting graphic. As with all data, there is a need for interpretation. Since it is based on population, rather than walking trips, it does not give a full sense of how dangerous walking can be in some cities.

When there are so many fatalities in cities were few people actually walk, how risky is it for those who do step into a crosswalk?

Risk is non-linear with number of walkers

That's a point of a paper I wrote -- the risk of a motorist hitting a pedestrian decreases where (and when) more people walk. I suspect that motorists learn to expect pedestrians, and drive more cautiously.
Safety in numbers: more walkers and bicyclists, safer walking and bicycling.
Injury Prevention 2003 Sep;9(3):205-9.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the relationship between the numbers of people walking or bicycling and the frequency of collisions between motorists and walkers or bicyclists. The common wisdom holds that the number of collisions varies directly with the amount of walking and bicycling. However, three published analyses of collision rates at specific intersections found a non-linear relationship, such that collisions rates declined with increases in the numbers of people walking or bicycling.

DATA: This paper uses five additional data sets (three population level and two time series) to compare the amount of walking or bicycling and the injuries incurring in collisions with motor vehicles.

RESULTS: The likelihood that a given person walking or bicycling will be struck by a motorist varies inversely with the amount of walking or bicycling. This pattern is consistent across communities of varying size, from specific intersections to cities and countries, and across time periods.

DISCUSSION: This result is unexpected. Since it is unlikely that the people walking and bicycling become more cautious if their numbers are larger, it indicates that the behavior of motorists controls the likelihood of collisions with people walking and bicycling. It appears that motorists adjust their behavior in the presence of people walking and bicycling. There is an urgent need for further exploration of the human factors controlling motorist behavior in the presence of people walking and bicycling.

CONCLUSION: A motorist is less likely to collide with a person walking and bicycling if more people walk or bicycle. Policies that increase the numbers of people walking and bicycling appear to be an effective route to improving the safety of people walking and bicycling.

more peds increases the odds of seeing a conflict with peds

This sounds interesting; I'll have to see if I can track down the actual study.

I would like to know more about what types of accidents were most affected (mid-block, turning, stop-sign vs signalized intersections, etc.?) I would anticipate a greater improvement with turning conflicts at intersections, because of the way intersections work.

Pedestrians platoon at intersections, so drivers would have more opportunities to see one of the pedestrians they might hit when making any particular turn. It would make sense that a driver would be far less likely to fail to see multiple pedestrians than a single person in the crosswalk.

If this were the case, the particular improvement could happen without any actual change in driver behavior or attention, simply because of increased odds of the driver noticing a pedestrian and waiting before turning.

In all likelihood, drivers do become more attentive. But it would be interesting to see if other factors, like the likelihood of detecting a pedestrian before making a turn, also make a difference.

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