Dangerous by Design

Dangerous by Design

As promised, the new Dangerous by Design report has been released by Transportation for America and Surface Transportation Policy Partnership. The full report is at http://t4america.org/resources/dangerousbydesign/, and the Nevada section is available at http://t4america.org/docs/dangerousbydesign/nevada.pdf.

Carson City looks quite good in the report because it did not have any traffic fatalities in 2007-2008, the period covered by the report. However, we have had two pedestrian fatalities in 2009, Eric Pryor and Denise Lohman, which is quite significant for our population size (54,867). There were also one or more fatalities in earlier years. If there are no more pedestrian fatalities in 2009, the rate would be 3.65 per 100,000 people, among the highest in the country. The resulting Pedestrian Danger Index for Carson would be 135, also one of the highest in the country. Of course for a town the size of Carson City, where one pedestrian death more or less can make a big difference, statistics will vary widely from year to year, and a rate of 3.65 may be no more typical than a rate of 0.

Las Vegas just missed the national top ten “worst” list, coming in at eleven. Nevada as a whole is above the national average, heavily influenced by both the population and the rate of fatalities in Las Vegas.

Nationally, 11.8% of all traffic fatalities are pedestrians, and in Nevada 16.2%, yet nationally only 1.5% , and in Nevada only 1%, of the federal highway funds were spent on pedestrian safety.

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood provided a positive response to the report on his blog at http://fastlane.dot.gov/2009/11/report-calls-for-safer-roadway-planning.html.

Transportation for America, purposefully releasing this report as Congress is considering renewal of the transportation bill, makes the recommendations below. If you feel the same way, contact your senators and representatives.

Congress is currently considering the goals and objectives for a federal transportation bill that will send transportation money to states and cities and guide their spending priorities. The continued high fatality rate shows a clear need for strong leadership and greater resources to end preventable pedestrian deaths and require more accountability from states on how those funds are spent.

Adopt a National Complete Streets Policy. Ensure that all federally funded road projects take into account the needs of all users of the transportation system, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users as well as children, older adults and individuals with disabilities, so they are able to travel safely and conveniently on our streets. Learn more at www.completestreets.org

Expand the Safe Routes to School Program. Expanding the Safe Routes to School program would allow more communities and schools across the country to address critical safety concerns and make it safer for students walking and bicycling to school and in their neighborhoods. Learn more atwww.saferoutespartnership.org

Commit a Fair Share for Safety. With pedestrians comprising 11.8 percent of all traffic fatalities, it is only fair to dedicate at least that proportion of Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funds to pedestrian projects.

Hold states accountable. Congress must hold states accountable to ensure that transportation funds are spent wisely, by ensuring that:

  1. New streets are built to be safe for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists alike,
  2. The most dangerous roads are retrofit for safety,
  3. Federal safety dollars result in lives saved and a more active population.
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