Streets Designed for Speed Faulted in Pedestrian Deaths
June 19, 2014
Florida may be the most dangerous state in which to walk, a new report from Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition (NCSC) suggests.
Dangerous by Design 2014 ranks U.S. cities according to a “pedestrian danger index” (the rate of pedestrian deaths compared with the number of individuals walking to work) and finds that the four most dangerous cities—Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, and Miami—are all in Florida.
Data are provided for every U.S. metro area, and the report includes state-by-state assessments as well as an interactive map highlighting where the most pedestrian fatalities have occurred. Whereas Florida proved to be the most dangerous state for pedestrians, Nebraska and Vermont both ranked low on the fatality index, averaging less than one fatality per 100,000 people, the report found.
Streets designed for speed rather than safety are to blame for more than 5,000 pedestrian deaths nationwide each year, according to Roger Miller, director of NCSC.
The research, which was supported by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), also suggests that older people are especially at risk for pedestrian fatalities. Those over the age of 65 account for nearly 21% of pedestrian deaths nationwide, the report found. Evidence also pointed to speeding as a factor in nearly one-third of all traffic fatalities.
To alleviate the problem of roadside fatalities, the report offers some recommendations. In a press release, Nancy Somerville, executive vice president and CEO of ASLA, highlighted retrofits to traffic signals, pedestrian islands, and increased sidewalks as means of creating more walkable communities. Walking, said Somerville, shouldn’t be a luxury.
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