Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tri-State releases Most Dangerous Roads for Walking - 2011

The Tri-State Transportation Campaign released its third edition of its report titled The Region's Most Dangerous Roads for Walking (2011).  Included with the 10 page report are a series of factsheets for each county in the area that the TSTC covers along with links to interactive Google maps showing the locations of the crashes and the hotspot roadways.  New Jersey gets special consideration by TSTC as it is the only state to have the crash data for all of its counties broken down.  

This map Middlesex Ped Fatals 2007-2009 is a sample of the interactive maps produced by TSTC.

While another superb report by TSTC, I have two small nits to pick with the rankings and the report itself. The report ranks the level of danger of a roadway by using the gross number of fatalities on a roadway without considering the length of the roadway.  I think knowing “fatalities per mile of roadway” is a much better metric for ranking the true danger each roadway presents to pedestrians.  Yes, 130 in Burlington County has a great number of pedestrian fatalities and this fact is of great cause for concern but it is also a fairly long stretch of roadway.  It may be that there are other roadways with less fatalities but are also shorter in length and therefore pose a greater threat to pedestrians per mile.

Also, the report is somewhat light on analysis.  The report does make some insightful observation, including:
  • that 2/3rds of pedestrian fatalities happen on multi-lane roadways with higher speed limits,
  • that these roadways often have little in accommodations for pedestrians,
  • yet these roadways also have a great number of destinations that attract pedestrians.
However that is about the extent of it. There is no analysis into the cause of the crashes or the prevailing type of crash scenario.  I expected the interactive map to have more detailed information about the crashes (such as time of day, if the driver was drunk, if the pedestrian was drunk, was it a hit-and-run, was the pedestrian walking down the street, crossing the street, presence of a sidewalk, crosswalk, etc,.) possibly even a copy of the crash report but all that was given is the age of the pedestrian and the crash date.

Still, all this additional information may not even be necessary.  Just synthesizing the spacial relationship of crash locations alone and the ages of the victims paints a shockingly clear picture of where scares resources need to go.  The report is already having the desired effect of getting picked up in the local media as the examples here, here and here demonstrate.  Yet, I can't help but to want to know more.

1 comment:

Dennise Pinley said...

In that case, the report could have been more accurate if the points you've raised were taken into consideration. After all, there are a lot of things to keep in mind as far as pedestrian safety is concerned. Maybe we can also get in-depth information about the type of danger present in the hotspots. Does this road have a lot of speeding-related accidents? Does that road have a record for crime- and neglect-related road mishaps? These, along with the physical attributes of the roads, could give a better view of most dangerous roads.