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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 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.
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.
|Rank||Zone Name||City||Crashes||Minor Injury||Serious Injury||Fatal Injury||CRI|
|1||Downtown – Broad St||Stamford||91||49||12||2||186|
|2||Downtown – Temple St||New Haven||59||19||6||3||111|
|3||Frog Hollow – Park St||Hartford||40||23||6||2||91|
|4||East End – E Main St||Waterbury||44||21||7||1||91|
|5||East Side – Arctic St||Bridgeport||42||22||5||2||89|
|6||Fairhaven – Grand Ave||New Haven||35||14||5||3||79|
|7||Waterville – W Main St||Waterbury||33||22||5||1||75|
|8||Downtown – Park St||New Haven||36||7||6||1||66|
|9||Downtown – Main St||Hartford||31||18||4||1||66|
|10||Dwight – Sherman Ave||New Haven||41||10||3||1||65|
|11||Clay Arsenal – Albany Ave||Hartford||28||16||2||2||60|
|12||Asylum Hill – Farmington Ave||Hartford||31||20||3||0||60|
|13||Downtown – Park Ave||Bridgeport||31||10||4||1||58|
|14||South End – Franklin Ave||Hartford||26||13||4||1||56|
|15||West Side – W Main St.||Stamford||27||22||1||0||52|
|16||Downtown – Main St.||Bridgeport||24||15||3||0||48|
|17||Quinnipiac Meadows – Foxon blvd||New Haven||20||4||4||2||46|
|18||Downtown – Main St||New Britain||24||18||1||0||45|
|19||Downtown – White St||Danbury||21||13||0||1||39|
|20||Fairhaven – Ferry St||New Haven||22||5||2||1||38|
|21||The Hill – Howard Ave||New Haven||25||7||2||0||38|
|22||Edgewood- Whalley Ave||New Haven||15||6||5||0||36|
|23||West River – Orange Ave||New Haven||14||5||2||2||35|
|24||West Side – Clinton Ave||Bridgeport||12||5||6||0||35|
|25||West Side – State St||Bridgeport||15||11||3||0||35|
|26||Downtown – Forest St||Stamford||17||12||2||0||35|
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.
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.
|Rank||Roadway Name||Town Name||Crashes|
|5||East Main St||Waterbury||33|
|6||Chapel St||New Haven||31|
|7||Whalley Av||New Haven||30|
|T-12||Ferry ST||New Haven||22|
|T-15||Grand AV||New Haven||20|
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:
Drivers can take action to help protect pedestrians by following a few simple guidelines:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.