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Health

National report details 47,000 pedestrian fatalities over a decade

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Children, older adults and people of color disproportionately represented in the statistics on pedestrian fatalities released in a joint report by the National Complete Streets Coalition on Tuesday. 4,394 children (aged 15 and under) were among the over 47,000 fatalities Smart Growth America compiled incident data from 2003 to 2012. An additional 676,000 pedestrians were injured over the same period.

An interactive map of the location of the fatalities during this period can be found here.

Metro areas in the Sun-Belt states, particularly Florida, figured high in the rankings for most dangerous in the nation using a measure called the Pedestrian Danger Index or PDI, a formula that rates pedestrian deaths relative to figures on the number of pedestrians who walk to work.

Outside of the New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island numbers, Buffalo/Niagara (147) and Rochester (121) had the highest totals of pedestrian fatalities among New York metro regions.

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The report found that small town and rural areas were also dangerous for pedestrians, with those areas accounting for over a quarter of all pedestrian fatalities in 2012. Erie, Monroe and Onondaga Counties figured in the top dozen for pedestrian deaths.

These communities often have more fast-moving, wide arterial streets than larger urbanized areas, where other types of roadways can provide connections between places. The design of arterials in both urban and rural areas often leaves out the sidewalks and street crossings that are vital to safe pedestrian travel.

The report was presented as context for Smart Growth America's Complete Streets policy which advocates for reforms in street design. The document argues for the national adoption of the policy, the collection of more reliable data, increased funding for transport alternatives such as designated walking and bike trails and making non-vehicular traffic a priority for future federal transportation legislation.

Dangerous by Design 2014

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