New York City Pedestrian Safety Study and Action Plan
While national pedestrian fatalities in 2008 declined by 16% from a decade earlier, that year car crashes caused 4,378 pedestrians deaths and injured 69,000 pedestrians. Urban areas were consistently found to account for a larger proportion of such deaths and injuries.
A study commissioned by the New York City Department of Transportation analyzed the trends and causes of pedestrian-related automobile crashes. Their results were published in 2009 in “The New York City Pedestrian Safety Study and Action Plan.”
The study’s findings include:
- Compared to the national trend, traffic fatalities have fallen disproportionately in New York City. Between 1990 and 2009, New York City’s annual traffic fatalities fell by 63% compared with 24% nationwide.
- New York City’s traffic fatality rate at 3.5 was lower than the next 10 largest U.S. cities (average fatality rate is 7.75).
- The yearly cost of all traffic accidents in New York City amounted to $4.29 billion. Out of this amount, pedestrian accidents accounted for about $1.38 billion, more than 32% of the total.
- More than one-third of accidents that caused pedestrian fatalities or serious injuries was due to driver inattention.
The Department of Transportation proposed several actions to enhance pedestrian safety. These actions covered issues such as re-engineering streets and intersections, increasing law enforcement, enhancing public communication, advocating for policy and legislative changes and promoting interagency coordination and cooperation.
Tags: safety, cars
Note to instructor: The suggested assignments are designed for flexibility. They can be used in whole or part and can be adapted to a particular task -- for example, the newswriting assignments could be applied to the writing of the headline, the lead, the nut graph or the full story. Material from the assignments could also be combined with other material, for example, in the writing of a background, feature or local-angle story.
Read the study titled "The New York City Pedestrian Safety Study and Action Plan."
- Summarize the study in fewer than 40 words.
- Express the study's key term(s) in language a lay audience can understand.
- Evaluate the study's limitations. (For example: Do the results conflict with those of other reliable studies? Are there weaknesses in the study's data or research design?)
Read the study-related New York Times article titled "Deadliest for Walkers: Male Drivers, Left Turns."
- Reporter's use of the study: Evaluate what the reporter chose to include and exclude from the study. Would the audience have acquired a clear understanding of the study's findings and limits from this article?
- Reporter's use of other material: Assess the material in the article that is not derived from the study. (for example: Does the reporter place the study in the context of other research and to what effect? Does the reporter include reactions to the study from other researchers or interested parties [e.g., political groups business leaders, or community members] and are their credentials or possible biases made clear?)
- Write a lead (or headline or nut graph) based on the study.
- Spend 60 minutes exploring the issue by accessing sources of information other than the study. Write a lead (or headline or nut graph) based on the study but informed by the new information. Does the new information significantly change what one would write based on the study alone?
- Interview two sources with a stake in or knowledge of the issue. Be prepared to provide them with a short summary of the study in order to get their response to it. Write a 400-word article about the study incorporating material from the interviews.
- Spend additional time exploring the issue and then write a 1,200-word background article, focusing on major aspects of the issue.