The Ten Deadliest Cities for Pedestrians - Close Call for ATL

Transportation for America recently released their Dangerous by Design 2011 report.  Fortunately, Atlanta did not make the top 10.  They state that between 2000 and 2009, 47,047 pedestrians were killed by vehicles and another 688,000 were injured.  To put that into perspective, it would be more than 15 passenger jets carrying 300 passengers crashing each and every year for 10 straight years.  I don't think we the people would put up with that.  However, because of the non-spectacular nature of pedestrian deaths and the fact that they all too often occur to people living in poverty, this pedestrian genocide goes overlooked.

Over 50% were on arterial roads like many of the roads right here in Roswell and North Fulton that were designed to give automobile traffic the highest priority.  Fortunately, Roswell has been adding sidewalk capacity and filling in gaps in just these types of areas and has plans to do more.  Now, adding sidewalks is just a band aid but at least they offer some level of safety that doesn't exist without them.

Here's the list of the top 10 metro areas:


  1. Orlando
  2. Tampa
  3. Jacksonville
  4. Miami
  5. Riverside, CA
  6. Las Vegas
  7. Memphis
  8. Phoenix
  9. Houston
  10. Dallas-Fort Worth


My message to you...  DO NOT WALK IN FLORIDA!!  These findings remind me of a talk that an acquaintance of mine, Rick Geller, delivered earlier this year at the Congress for the New Urbanism Florida Chapter meeting in Seaside.  Rick is trying to gain support for a safe streets bill in the Florida legislature.  It's pretty obvious from this report that they need it.  Check out his blog if you'd like to read more about the issues in Florida.  Good luck Rick!

So, it's great that the ATL isn't in the top ten.  Well kind of, we're number 11.  The Atlanta MSA had 798 pedestrian deaths during the decade which accounted for 12.5% of all traffic related deaths. Slightly above the national average of 12%.  Be careful out there and any time you hear someone say we don't need to fund sidewalks and safe streets, you may want to inform them of this depressing stat.  

Other tidbits that I find interesting:


  • RoundAbouts (counterintuitively) are the safest form of intersection in most normal road situations.  People pay more attention when approaching a roundabout and there are fewer conflict points.
  • Narrower lanes are almost always safer than wider lanes on surface streets.  People pay more attention when driving in a space that is less comfortable.
  • Two way surface streets are safer than one way streets in most cases. And they're better for business.
  • Posted speed limits have very little impact over what speed drivers will go. Road width is the secret.
  • Removing road signs completely can actually increase safety. Again, drivers have to pay attention in these types of environments.

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image: Transportation for America