Dallas-Fort Worth Among Country's Most Dangerous Metros For Walkers | KERA News

Dallas-Fort Worth Among Country's Most Dangerous Metros For Walkers

May 21, 2014

North Texas is among the country's most dangerous places for pedestrians, a new report has determined.

Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington is ranked 12th most dangerous out of the 51 largest metro areas, according to a new report released by the National Complete Streets Coalition.

It could be worse: Houston was ranked No. 7.

Texas is deadly for walkers

The coalition says that 900 Dallas, Fort Worth and Arlington residents were killed while walking between 2003 and 2012. Across the state, 4,192 people died while walking. Texas is ranked the 10th most dangerous state for walkers.

The report, Dangerous by Design 2014, ranks areas based on its Pedestrian Danger Index, which evaluates the safety of walkers.

What are the worst cities for pedestrians?

Florida dominated the top 10 list. Orlando was named the most dangerous metro area, followed by Tampa-St. Petersburg, Jacksonville and Miami. Memphis was ranked No. 5. Birmingham, Ala., was No. 6, while Atlanta was No. 8. Phoenix ranked No. 9 and Charlotte rounded out the top 10.

How did other Texas cities fare? San Antonio ranked No. 18, while Austin placed No. 24. 

More from the report

The report says that the most deaths could have been prevented with safer street design. (Read the report here.)

The report states:

As in past years, communities in the Sunbelt, particularly the South, top the list of most dangerous places to walk. These places grew in the post-war period, mostly through rapid spread of low-density neighborhoods that rely on wider streets with higher speeds to connect homes, shops and schools — roads that tend to be more dangerous for people walking.

Learn more

The Texas Tribune has more:

As Congress considers reauthorizing MAP-21, a 2012 law that funds national transportation infrastructure, nonprofits like Smart Growth America and their pro-public safety allies are urging lawmakers nationwide to pass additional federal policy that would ensure pedestrian safety.

“This is about making smarter choices, investing our transportation dollars in projects that help achieve multiple community goals, including public health and supporting local economies," said Roger Millar, the director of the coalition.

Using numbers from the National Weather Service, the reports says the number of pedestrian deaths in the past decade — 47,000 — is 16 times higher than the number of people who died in natural disasters. But “pedestrian deaths don’t receive a corresponding level of urgency,” Millar added.

In 2010, a total of 4,280 people on foot died in traffic accidents; in 2012, that number rose to 4,743. Using fatality data, as well as census data on commuters who walk to work, researchers at the coalition calculated a “Pedestrian Danger Index” (PDI) that measures the potential risks of walking in metropolitan areas. The Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown area received a PDI of 119.64, compared with the national average of 52.2. The Orlando-Kissimmee area in Florida came in first with a PDI of 244.28. 

(Photo Credit: Connel/Shutterstock)