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Dangerous By Design

Transportation for America's new report seeks to make solving the epidemic of preventable pedestrian deaths a national priority

In the last decade, nearly 50,000 pedestrians were killed and 688,000 injured as a result of the decades-long neglect of pedestrian safety in the design and use of American streets, according to "Dangerous by Design," a report released today by Transportation for America.

With a pedestrian being killed or injured every seven minutes of every day, one would expect that preventing such carnage would be a priority. But neither the states nor the federal government have given pedestrian safety the attention it demands, according to Transportation for America. In fact, Transportation for America points out, some in Congress are trying to kill funding for pojects to make it safer to walk and bicyle.

The "Dangerous by Design" report, which is a reprise of a report released in 2009, examines 10 years of pedestrian fatality data, as well as newly-released Census data on walking, to calculate a Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI) to rank the country’s largest metropolitan areas according to their relative risk to walkers. The report also details who is most likely to be killed, and what types of roads are most dangerous for pedestrians.

For decades, the report points out, federal dollars have been invested in state and local highways, but edestrian safety is often perceived as a strictly local issue.

Transportation for America recommends that the next federal transportation spending bill include the following provisions:

  • Retain dedicated federal funding for the safety of people on foot or on bicycle.
  • Adopt a national complete streets policy.
  • Fill in the gaps to create complete networks of sidewalks, bicycle paths and trails so that residents can travel safely throughout an area.
  • Commit a fair share for safety.
  • Hold states accountable for creating communities that are safe for walking.

Transportation for America's website includes an interactive map of pedestrian fatalities and state statistics.