It seems big cities draw large crowds of people who both work in the city and who go head there for culture and just plain fun. Given the congestion (and expense) associated with larger cities, its not surprising that many folks opt to get around on foot. While walking around cities may seem like the ideal mode of transportation, a closer look at pedestrian accident statistics may cause some city dwellers to think twice before they lace up their shoes– or at least cross the street with a little more caution.
As an accident lawyer in Chicago I find that that pedestrian accidents are some of the most horrific because of the obvious lack of protection a person has to protect them from the impact of a vehicle.
Recently, the Chicago Department of Transportation (DOT) commissioned a report on pedestrian and motor vehicle crashes within the metropolitan area. The COT broke the city into 77 Chicago community areas (CCA) and also looked at the occurrence of accidents within the Central Business District (CBD). The analysis also looked at where the accidents happened in different area, such as on crosswalks or on the roadways themselves.
Central Business District (CBD)
The CBD has shorter blocks and more intersections with traffic signals than other parts of the city. This busy area has a higher amount of pedestrians both living and working in the area, along with the addition of tourist and other on-foot citizens. It is not surprising that this area was a high-risk area for crashes.
- 5 high-crash corridors identified. There were 5 corridors that had 19.5% of all the fatality and serious injury crashes in the CBD. Of the 5, Michigan Chicago to Oak corridor had the most fatalities
- CBD had more crosswalk accidents. Compared to the rest of the city, accidents in the CBD occurred in crosswalks 56% of the time versus 32% in other city areas.
- More taxi crashes in CBD. 33% of crashes in the CBD involving pedestrians were by taxis. This is compared to only 5.1% in other areas of the city.
Chicago Community Areas (CCA)
Chicago was broke down into 77 CCA’s for the pedestrian crash analysis. These areas have been around since the 1980’s and are linked with neighborhoods. The data identified the top eight CCA’s with pedestrian crashes, 7 of which were in the central Chicago area.
- Top CCA for crashes. The seven areas that had the most fatal and serious pedestrian crashes were a band of seven that sprawl east to west. The farthest east were the near north side area and the loop and it ran west to the Belmont Cragin area and Austin
- 12 corridors identified. There were 12 high crash corridors outside of the CBD. These corridors had more crashes on four lane roads, 53%, than other areas in the city. All 12 were arterial roadways.
High Crash Areas
The analysis showed that more accidents happened in around intersections in Chicago then the nation average. The report also looked at the link between crashes and crosswalks and the proximity to high crime areas.
- Intersection crashes. 80% of all serious injury and fatalities crashes involving pedestrians were within 125 feet of intersection midpoints. This is much higher than the national average of 46%
- Crosswalk crashes. Most crashes occurred when a pedestrian was in a crosswalk during a “walk” signal, 49% citywide.
- High crime areas. There was a correlation found between high crime areas and serious injury and fatality accidents in pedestrians.
Overall, the CBD was shown to have the highest crash rates in the city, with 60% happening in crosswalks. Central Chicago neighborhoods were the next high crash areas. The focal point in all these crashes across the city seems to be linked to intersections that will no doubt be where the city focuses their prevention efforts to help keep pedestrians safe.