Dangerous by Design, Statistically Speaking: Pedestrian Fatalities and Urban Design

There were 46,149 pedestrian fatalities resulting from automobile-pedestrian crashes in the U.S. from 2005 to 2014. While the transportation literature has explored various factors related to fatal crashes, this analysis fills a gap with an emphasis on pedestrian fatalities. The authors constructed a dataset from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), the EPA Smart Location Database, and the Census ACS to assess the factors that explain the incidence of pedestrian fatalities at the Census Block Group level. For their analysis, the authors examined the metropolitan Washington, D.C. region from 2005 to 2014. They ask: to what extent do measurements of urban design influence the prevalence of pedestrian fatalities? They identify infrastructure, demographic, and geographic variables to specify their models. They then conducted Poisson, zero-inflated Poisson (ZIP), negative binomial (NB), and zero-inflated negative binomial (ZINB) regressions to test the relationship, and find the NB model to be the most appropriate. The authors also test for sensitivities by including and excluding pedestrian fatalities on interstate and other highways.Their findings show that the density of auto-oriented roadways was associated with more pedestrian fatalities; while the density of pedestrian-oriented roadways was associated with fewer pedestrian fatalities. Residential density was also associated with fewer pedestrian fatalities. Third, the authors find that wealthier areas would expect fewer pedestrian fatalities, while areas with more people of color would expect more pedestrian fatalities. These findings support the conclusion that urban design – the type of roadway infrastructure provided - matters in the prevalence of pedestrian fatalities.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was sponsored by TRB committee ANB20 Standing Committee on Safety Data, Analysis and Evaluation.
  • Authors:
    • Rodriguez, Michael
    • Sklar, Samuel
    • Zaccaro, Heather
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2018


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 27p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01657933
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 18-00123
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Jan 25 2018 9:34AM