This is the second of two posts on the recently released report by the Alliance for Bicycling and Walking in the United States.
A similar report is titled Dangerous by Design, which was released by Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition around the same time as Bicycling and Walking in the United States. Its conclusions are similar to those of the Alliance for Biking and Walking report. Although the two reports employ different sets of statistics, they report very similar results, confirming both studies’ conclusions – the more pedestrian commuters there are, the safer a city is for walkers.
In Bicycling and Walking, Fort Worth and Jacksonville had the lowest rates of commuting on foot among the cities studied. The two cities are also among the most dangerous for pedestrians. The inevitable conclusion of the study is that in places where more people walk (or bike) to work, they are less likely to be injured or killed. In places, such as Jacksonville and Fort Worth, people commute on foot less frequently, and are less safe when doing so.
Other conclusions of the benchmarking report include:
- Commuting on foot is increasing, correlated with growth in the number of people living in densely populated downtown areas
- State-level studies show that states with more walkers and bikers have lower incidences of hypertension, diabetes and obesity
- Pedestrian fatality rates across the United States are down overall since the 1980s
- Trips on foot represent around 13 percent of all trips, but 14 percent of all traffic fatalities, making walking a very slightly more dangerous mode of transport
Overall, it appears that the more people walk, the safer they become, a phenomenon referred to by the blogger as a multiplier effect. In New York, efforts to stem the tide of pedestrian accidents should bear fruit at some point. The only question is when.
Source: Switchboard, “Pedestrian safety leads to more walking, or is it vice versa?” May 30, 2014.