It is not unusual to see Texans walking to work, places in their neighborhoods or to school. It’s not only economical, but it provides a form of physical activity that can combat chronic disease. While Texans are walking more we are still dealing with roadways that put us, the pedestrian, in danger. Now a new study, Dangerous by Design 2014, shows that from 2003 to 2012, 4,192 people died while walking in Texas, and that number jumps to 47,025 on the national level.
The Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown area is in the top 10 list of worst cities for pedestrian safety. The Dallas–Fort Worth area, San Antonio and Austin were not far behind at 12, 18, and 24. In fact, the study showed that in Texas, the fatality rate varies from region to region—and even between counties within the same region depending in part on the design of the transportation system and how comfortable and convenient it is for walking.
While comprising 10 percent of Texas’s population, adults aged 65 and older account for 14 percent of pedestrian fatalities across the state from 2003-2010. Children and minorities are also killed and injured in disproportionate numbers, due to the failure to design and operate community streets with everyone’s safety in mind.
"This unenviable record of pedestrian deaths and injuries points to a need to design and maintain roads that are safe for everyone. Any one of us can fall victim and we hope that by releasing this study, we will begin to take the necessary steps to mitigate this danger,” said Bob Jackson, AARP Texas State Director. “After all, we're not just talking numbers here we're talking family, friends, and neighbors... young and old."
The National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of Smart Growth America, in conjunction with AARP and the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), conducted the study. It highlights the dangers traditional streets, engineered for fast-moving automobile traffic, pose on pedestrians and bicyclists of all ages.
View the complete report: Dangerous by Design 2014
View the Texas results: State and county assessments
Interactive map: Online, interactive map