Expert Commentary

New York City pedestrian safety study and action plan

2009 study commissioned by the New York City Department of Transportation analyzing trends and causes of pedestrian-related car crashes.

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

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