New Transportation Secretary Takes Aim at Rise in Pedestrian Fatalities

At the same time that vehicular fatalities have ridden a decade-long decline in the U.S., a troubling trend has seen pedestrian fatalities increase. A $2 million U.S. DOT grant program will target 22 cities with acute pedestrian safety problems.
August 7, 2013, 5am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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The percentage of total traffic fatalities involving pedestrians has been on the rise in the U.S., increasing from 11 to 14 percent between 2001-2011. "According to the latest National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics [PDF], this suggests a pedestrian is killed in America in a traffic crash every two hours, and injured every eight minutes," notes Emily Badger.

"Citing this data, new Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx unveiled a federal initiative today with a little grant money behind it to try to roll back the rise in pedestrian fatalities (perhaps pedestrian safety will be to Anthony Foxx what distracted driving was to Ray LaHood?). The messaging campaign is built around a line that alternative transportation advocates will find familiar: Whether you drive a car, ride the train, or bike to work, at some point everyone is a pedestrian."

"As for the money part: The DOT is offering $2 million in new grant money for 22 cities with pedestrian-fatality records worse than the national average to try out new education and enforcement initiatives," she adds. "That's not a lot of money to divide many ways. But new federal initiatives with dollars attached are certainly better than PSA campaigns alone."

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Published on Monday, August 5, 2013 in The Atlantic Cities
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