Houston Traffic Deaths Dipped in 2022

Fatal crashes killed slightly fewer people in 2022 than in 2021, but deaths are still significantly higher than in 2019.

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January 23, 2023, 8:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Traffic on freeway in Houston, Texas with downtown buildings in background

lunamarina / Houston, Texas

Preliminary data from Houston brings a ray of hope for road safety advocates, reports Jay R. Jordan for Axios. As traffic deaths continue to rise across the United States, Houston saw fewer deadly crashes in 2022 than the year before. However, these numbers are still above pre-pandemic levels, Jordan notes.

Crashes killed 317 people in Houston last year, down from 332 in 2021 and up from 266 in 2019, the year the city implemented its Vision Zero policy, which calls for an end to traffic deaths by 2030. Since then, the number of traffic deaths on city-controlled streets has declined slightly, while deaths on state-managed roads went up.

Like other U.S. cities that grew after the rise of the automobile, Houston has historically designed its roads for fast traffic, largely ignoring pedestrian infrastructure. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has pledged to cut traffic deaths in half by 2035 and eliminate them by 2050, but critics of the department’s approach to traffic safety point out that the messaging used by the agency still predominantly places the responsibility on pedestrians and cyclists, ignoring the structural reasons for fatal crashes.

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