US pedestrian fatalities are at their highest level in nearly three decades and account for an increasing share of total traffic fatalities (16%). To achieve the vision of a future transportation system that produces zero deaths, pedestrian safety must be improved. In this study, we screened the entire US roadway network to identify fatal pedestrian crash “hot spot” corridors: 1,000-meter-long sections of roadway where six or more fatal pedestrian crashes occurred during an eight-year period. We identified 34 hot spot corridors during 2001-2008 and 31 during 2009-2016. While only five corridors were hot spots during both analysis periods, the 60 unique hot spots had remarkably consistent characteristics. Nearly all (97%) were multilane roadways, with 70% requiring pedestrians to cross five or more lanes. More than three-quarters had speed limits of 30 mph or higher, and 62% had traffic volumes exceeding 25,000 vehicles per day. All had adjacent commercial retail and service land uses, 72% had billboards, and three-quarters were bordered by low-income neighborhoods. Corridors with these characteristics clearly have the potential to produce high numbers of pedestrian fatalities. We also used hierarchical clustering to classify the hot spots based on their roadway and surrounding land-use characteristics into three types: regional highways, urban primary arterial roadways, and New York City thoroughfares. Each context may require different safety strategies. Our results support a systemic approach to improve pedestrian safety: Agencies should identify other roadway corridors with similar characteristics throughout the US and take actions to reduce the risk of future pedestrian fatalities.
- High speed
- Hot spots
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Urban Studies