Study: Streets With High Foot Traffic Also See High Driving Speeds

Recent data shows that pedes­tri­an fatal­i­ties are hit­ting num­bers, and now, new research shines a light on the between dri­ving and places with high pedes­tri­an . Kea Wil­son describes the study in Streets­blog. 

“In a new study traf­fic ana­lyt­ics firm Street­light ana­lyzed anonymized data from mil­lions of cell phones in Amer­i­ca’s 30 biggest cities to bet­ter under­stand peo­ple are walk­ing the , and how fast motorists are going in their midst.” Aside from New York City, where dri­vers aver­age 25 miles per hour or less on 84 per­cent of the city’s most walked streets, most cities ana­lyzed showed high dri­ving speeds on roads with heavy pedes­tri­an traf­fic. As Wil­son explains, “That’s bad news for walk­ers, con­sid­er­ing that most experts say 25 miles per hour is the absolute upper bound of what any pol­i­cy­mak­er con­sid­er accept­able in places where peo­ple trav­el out­side cars.”

In Phoenix, “a sur­pris­ing 52 per­cent of street seg­ments report­ed more than 200 pedes­tri­ans an hour, but 65 per­cent clocked aver­age dri­ver speeds of 35 miles per hour or more.” Wil­son adds that “Notably, the authors of the study chose to look rates of speed rather than rates of speed­ing, since many of the dan­ger­ous dri­vers picked up by their data were like­ly fol­low­ing the let­ter of the law.” And even when cities want to low­er speed lim­its, don’t have the author­i­ty to do so on state-owned streets, where 67 per­cent of pedes­tri­an deaths .

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