The Most Dangerous Roads in America for Walkers
Three quarters of the most fatal roads in America for pedestrians are located in low-income neighborhoods, a new study finds — and those roads share a handful of notoriously dangerous design features that can and must be fixed.
In what may be the only attempt to map the U.S. corridors with the highest numbers of pedestrian deaths ever conducted, researchers analyzed data on every pedestrian crash fatality since the federal government began collecting standardized data on them in 2001, until 2016, the last year for which finalized data is available.
After studying more than 62,000 incidents across 16 years, the researchers generated a list of more than 60 “hot spot” corridors where at least six walkers had lost their lives along a specific, 1,000-meter stretch of road in eight years or less.
No matter the location, the design of the deadly roads were much the same: ultra-wide, blisteringly fast, and flanked by businesses to which residents walk every day.
Although not all are technically classified as arterials or regional highways, most of them sure look like it. A staggering 97 percent of the hotspots had three lanes or more, and 70 percent forced walkers to cross at least five lanes in order to reach the other side. More than 75 percent had speed limits of over 30 miles per hour — a speed at which 40 percent of walkers will die when struck by a vehicle — and 100 percent of them were flanked by retail, grocery, or other essential services.