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Study: Walking in Connecticut – The Most Dangerous Zones for Pedestrians

January 19 2023 | Personal Injury

Walking as a means of transportation can be a great way to get around. It can save you money and time, and allow you to sneak some exercise into your day. Yet, it can also be dangerous. Across the United States, pedestrian fatalities are increasing faster than any other traffic-related fatality. Data collected by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) shows that since 2009, pedestrian deaths have increased by 53%, while all other traffic-related fatalities have increased by a mere 2%. In 2019 In 2020, 6,516 pedestrians were killed across the US in pedestrian accidents, and around 55,000 pedestrians were injured, according to data collected by the NHTSA. That boils down to one pedestrian death every 81 minutes. Factors such as driver inattention, distraction, speeding, and unsafe roads all contribute to putting pedestrians at such a high risk.

Pedestrians here in Connecticut are at risk as well. Between 2017-2021, there was a total of 5,620 pedestrian injuries and 254 fatal injuries.

At Jacobs & Jacobs, we handle pedestrian accident claims and care about the well-being of our clients and the community. So we collaborated with data visualization agency 1Point21 Interactive to determine the most dangerous areas for pedestrians throughout the state based on area, town, and street.

This interactive map shows where reported pedestrian accidents have occurred, as well as areas with the highest rates of reported pedestrian accidents.

[Interactive Map] Connecticut Pedestrian Crashes 2017-2021

 

Table: Connecticut’s Most Dangerous Areas for Pedestrians

When compared to all motor vehicle collisions, pedestrian crashes are relatively rare.  To determine where pedestrians may be at higher risk of being struck, we identified ‘danger zones’, or larger areas where a high volume of collisions and injuries occurred within close proximity (250 feet) of one another.  These zones come in different shapes and sizes, depending upon where collisions occur within.  While there is no set center point within, we named them based on general location so that readers can visualize where they appear.

In order to rank them, we applied a crash risk index (CRI), that weights collision volume and crash severity.  The table below shows all zones with a CRI (crash risk index) of 35 and above.

RankZone NameCityCrashesMinor InjurySerious InjuryFatal InjuryCRI
1Downtown – Broad StStamford9149122186
2Downtown – Temple StNew Haven591963111
3Frog Hollow – Park StHartford40236291
4East End – E Main StWaterbury44217191
5East Side – Arctic StBridgeport42225289
6Fairhaven – Grand AveNew Haven35145379
7Waterville – W Main StWaterbury33225175
8Downtown – Park StNew Haven3676166
9Downtown – Main StHartford31184166
10Dwight – Sherman AveNew Haven41103165
11Clay Arsenal – Albany AveHartford28162260
12Asylum Hill – Farmington AveHartford31203060
13Downtown – Park AveBridgeport31104158
14South End – Franklin AveHartford26134156
15West Side – W Main St.Stamford27221052
16Downtown – Main St.Bridgeport24153048
17Quinnipiac Meadows – Foxon blvdNew Haven2044246
18Downtown – Main StNew Britain24181045
19Downtown – White StDanbury21130139
20Fairhaven – Ferry StNew Haven2252138
21The Hill – Howard AveNew Haven2572038
22Edgewood- Whalley AveNew Haven1565036
23West River – Orange AveNew Haven1452235
24West Side – Clinton AveBridgeport1256035
25West Side – State StBridgeport15113035
26Downtown – Forest StStamford17122035

Pedestrian Collisions by Town

The top 20 towns for pedestrian collisions in Connecticut ranked by the number of crashes that occurred in each town over a 4 year period. The top five towns all have 400+ crashes, while the towns ranked 6th-20th all have under 200 crashes. The top five towns, New Haven, Bridgeport, Hartford, Waterbury, and Samford respectively, are also the top five most populated towns in Connecticut.

RankTown NameCrashes
1New Haven681
2Bridgeport548
3Hartford546
4Waterbury464
5Stamford409
6New Britain187
7Norwalk169
8Danbury164
9West Haven132
10West Hartford109
11Hamden107
12Manchester106
13Meriden91
14Milford86
15Bristol82
15Greenwich81
17New London72
18East Hartford70
18Middletown70
20Norwich65

Pedestrian Collisions by Street – Top 20

18 of the top 20 streets for pedestrian collisions are found in the top five towns for pedestrian collisions. Four of the top five streets are highways. This means that there is increased motor traffic and pedestrian traffic. Speed limits are also higher on highways than on roads, which can increase the chances of accidents and the severity of injuries.

RankRoadway NameTown NameCrashes
11-NStamford44
210-NHamden42
2130-EBridgeport41
410-NNew Haven37
5East Main StWaterbury33
6Chapel StNew Haven31
7Whalley AvNew Haven30
8847-NWaterbury29
9Wethersfield AvHartford28
101-NBridgeport27
1144-EHartford26
T-121-NNorwalk22
T-12700-WBridgeport22
T-12Ferry STNew Haven22
T-15Farmington AvHartford20
T-15Grand AVNew Haven20
T-15Main StBridgeport20
T-15Park StHartford20
T-19Barnum AvBridgeport19
T-19Wolcott StWaterbury19

Interesting Facts

  • 2019 had the most crashes involving pedestrians, totaling almost 1,300 crashes.
  • 2020 had the least amount of crashes involving pedestrians, totaling 917 crashes. This is likely due to Corona Virus restrictions that caused fewer pedestrians and fewer cars to be on the roads.
  • The majority of injuries from pedestrian crashes are minor injuries–between 2017-2021, there were over 2,400 minor injuries and 868 serious injuries.

Ways to Increase Pedestrian Safety

Pedestrians are especially vulnerable in accidents with motor vehicles. Motor vehicles are equipt with several safety features and protections for occupants, like airbags and seat belts, that help to reduce the risk of injury and death in an accident. While pedestrians have no protection and are directly vulnerable to the force of impact from a vehicle that is much heavier and traveling much faster than them. This vulnerability is reflected in national traffic crash data that shows that pedestrians account for 17% of traffic deaths, while they are only involved in 1.2% of crashes overall.

Pedestrians should take precautions while walking to protect themselves and avoid accidents:

  • Stay alert to their surroundings
  • Avoid the use of headphones, or talking on the phone in high-traffic areas
  • Proactively look for oncoming cars, it is easier for pedestrians to see cars than for drivers to see pedestrians
  • Cross the street at crosswalks whenever available
  • Walk on the sidewalk–if there is no sidewalk, walk facing oncoming traffic

Drivers can take action to help protect pedestrians by following a few simple guidelines:

  • Avoid distractions like using cellphones, changing the radio, applying makeup, etc., while driving
  • Drive the speed limit at all times
  • Stay alert while driving in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic

In January 2021, the Connecticut Department of Transportation published a Comprehensive Pedestrian Safety Strategy report detailing how they plan to increase pedestrian awareness and safety.

Reduce Speed Limits

One way to protect pedestrians and reduce injuries and fatalities is to reduce speeds in heavily trafficked zones. A publication by the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) shows that pedestrians struck by a vehicle traveling 20 mph have a 90% chance of survival. However, when speed is increased by 10 mph to 30 mph, pedestrians’ chance of survival is reduced to 50%, and at 40 mph there is only a 10% chance. This information proves that the severity of the pedestrian injury is directly related to the speed of the vehicle at the time of impact.

Improve Roadway Design

Another way to improve pedestrian safety is by creating upgraded crosswalks, intersections, and streets designed with pedestrians in mind. Improving crosswalks can look like increased and upgraded signage and changing state laws to require when cars must stop for pedestrians. Intersections and street layout can be improved by restricting parking close to crosswalks to ensure the visibility of pedestrians entering crosswalks. Additionally, adding traffic lights and modifying the timing of traffic signals to give pedestrians extra time to cross the street can help improve safety.

Increasing Public Awareness

Bringing awareness to the dangers pedestrians face can help both drivers and pedestrians travel in a safer manner. Oftentimes pedestrians and drivers alike are unaware of the dangers they face and create each day. Increasing public awareness will help bring everyone’s attention to the risks posed, and encourage both drivers and pedestrians to slow down, take a closer look, and make safer choices on the road. Schools can also participate in this process and begin teaching pedestrian safety in schools to instill road safety in the youth.

Methodology

This study is based on data from the Connecticut Department of Transportation between the years 2017-2021. If you would like to use any of the data, images, or findings found in this study, please link to this page to provide credit.

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