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Portland had an 'Unusual and Tragic' Year for Traffic Deaths

The Portland Bureau of Transportation's annual traffic crash report highlights the city's slow progress towards its Vision Zero goal.
March 4, 2021, 10am PST | Diana Ionescu | @aworkoffiction
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The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) just released its annual report on traffic crashes for 2020, an "unusual and tragic year" for traffic deaths despite a reduction in driving due to the pandemic. In the report, the agency acknowledges "that 2020 was a tragic year of loss and continues to stay committed to eliminating traffic fatalities." Jonathan Maus for Bike Portland reports that PBOT tallied 54 traffic deaths, although the Portland Police Bureau recorded 58 total fatalities on Portland's roads and parking lots.

The report's findings show that "57% of traffic deaths occurred on the city’s High Crash Network, a list of the top 30 streets and intersections where deaths are most likely" and which comprise 8% of the city's street network. Additionally, 65% of deaths happened in low-income communities of color, and Black people made up 18.5% of traffic deaths, triple the percentage of Portland's overall Black representation. While the city hopes to reduce traffic deaths to zero by 2025, the spike in deaths last year shows that Portland has to step up its efforts to improve safety on its roads.

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Published on Friday, February 26, 2021 in Bike Portland
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