The Sad State of Traffic Safety

A feature article at the major local daily newspaper in Houston tackles traffic safety and puts the onus on engineers, police, and politicians to come to terms with the destruction they've wrought.

September 10, 2018, 8:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Texas Highways

TBaker770 / Shutterstock

A big, feature article by Dug Begley and St. John Barned-Smith for the Houston Chronicle examines the danger on the roads of the most populous city in Texas, with findings from the Houston Chronicle's own analysis of statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

"We drive past the crashes, numbed to their frequency, by how they add up. But they do: 640 people a year die on Houston-area roads, and 2,850 more are seriously injured," writes Begley and Barned-Smith. "The carnage, all factors considered, makes Houston the most deadly major metro area in the nation for drivers, passengers and people in their path…"

After providing several additional types of data to further the point about the lack of safety on Houston's roads, the article digs into the contributing factors to traffic fatalities (no victim blaming here, but also no discussion of distracted driving), naming longer commutes, poor road design, paltry enforcement, lack of political will, and a lack of space for other, safer modes. Also, the article endeavors to do what society fails to do every day: put a human face to the tragedy of traffic fatalities.

The article also includes infographics, and is supplemented by a story map that visualizes the death toll of an average week—11 fatal crashes and 12 deaths. Traffic fatalities occur pretty much everywhere around the city, according to the article, but also more frequently at specific intersections.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018 in Houston Chronicle

Chicago Commute

Planning for Congestion Relief

The third and final installment of Planetizen's examination of the role of the planning profession in both perpetuating and solving traffic congestion.

May 12, 2022 - James Brasuell

Twin Cities

Minneapolis Housing Plan a Success—Not for the Reason You Think

Housing advocates praise the city’s move to eliminate single-family zoning by legalizing triplexes on single-family lots, but that isn’t why housing construction is growing.

May 13, 2022 - Reason

LAX Cars

Car Noise Is Killing Us

It’s not just traffic collisions that kill—a new study from researcher at Rutgers finds that the loud noises emanating from cars has direct impact on heart health in Americans.

May 6, 2022 - Streetsblog USA

Rittenhouse Square, a park in Philadelphia, framed by large buildings.

Parks as a Weapon Against Climate Change

The 2022 ParkScore finds that cities are increasingly employing green space as a tool for mitigating heat and extreme weather effects, but the distribution of parks remains inequitable.

May 16 - Trust for Public Land

View of Louisiana state capitol building and downton Baton Rouge, LA

Louisiana Capital Shifting to Electric Transit

The Baton Rouge area is now served by a fleet of nine all-electric buses.

May 16 - American Journal of Transportation

Mount Rainier

New Community Engagement Practices for Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan Update

A major update of Seattle’s comprehensive plan is just getting under way, with new opportunities for local groups to get involved with outreach and engagement.

May 16 - Capitol Hill Seattle Blog

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.