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The Dangers of Walking While Poor

Low income people are more likely to get hit by cars. Kate Hinds reports on the social and infrastructural factors responsible for the disparity.
May 16, 2012, 9am PDT | jerinbrent
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In Newark, New Jersey, about 500 pedestrians collide with vehicles each year. Dr. David Livingston, chief trauma surgeon at the University Hospital in Newark, sees about 300 of them. Due to this high accident rate, Newark, along with several other cities, has been dubbed a "pedestrian safety focus city" by the federal government.

Research from Rutgers University has shown a strong correlation between low income neighborhoods and high pedestrian crash totals. Daniel Kravetz, who conducted the research as a graduate student, says "The higher the income level, the lower the likelihood for crashes to occur in an area." It may seem logical to conclude that the wealthier residents are equipped with cars and simply don't walk the streets of Newark as often. But Kate Hinds points out that pedestrian infrastructure is a major factor in the Newark accident rates. Intersections in many low income neighborhoods are lacking crosswalks, pedestrian signals, curb cuts and sidewalks.

Newark officials say they are committed to making improvements, however. They've dedicated $27 million dollars this year to bicycle and pedestrian safety improvements, an unprecedented amount according to the city's traffic manager. Educational outreach programs and red light traffic cameras to calm traffic are also in the plans to reduce pedestrian accidents.

Thanks to Jessica Brent

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Published on Tuesday, May 15, 2012 in Transportation Nation
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