Skip to content
CityLab
Transportation

America’s Most Dangerous Roads for Pedestrians

In the U.S., pedestrian fatalities have climbed 35 percent since 2008. And federal traffic safety regulators aren’t at work, thanks to the government shutdown.
Pedestrians will find San Francisco's streets far safer than in Sun Belt cities.
Pedestrians will find San Francisco's streets far safer than in Sun Belt cities.Jeff Chiu/AP

The status quo in American road design is claiming more and more lives, according to some transportation safety advocates. The 2019 edition of Dangerous by Design, a recurring report by Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition, finds that the number of people struck and killed while walking has grown a startling 35 percent since 2008.

There are multiple factors behind this, but the report emphasizes one in particular: overly wide arterials that give too much space to cars and too little to humans. High-speed, multi-lane avenues that underpin sprawling urban growth, as opposed to slower, narrower streets that support walkable neighborhoods, are “consistently linked ... to higher rates of both traffic-related deaths for people walking and traffic-related deaths overall,” it states.