Did you know that 369,629 people died on America’s roads between 2001 and 2009? Transport data mapping experts ITO World used data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to map road fatalities in the United States over that eight-year period.
In the Los Angeles area, as you can see in the map below, pedestrian (blue dots) and vehicle occupant (purple dots) fatalities are most prevalent. Each dot on the map represents a life taken too soon. In the few minutes I spent scanning the area where I live and work, I found victims ranging from ages zero to 92.
The number of fatalities is staggering, and seeing them on the map in my own neighborhood was a sobering reminder of how far we still have to go in terms of providing safe streets for all modes of transportation. At a bare minimum, each of us should be reminding ourselves constantly to use caution when we’re driving, walking, or biking, and abide by all traffic laws and signs. Everyone has an equal right to use the road, no matter what the mobility choice.
Beyond that, there are many common-sense measures that could help reduce accidents, such as providing better lighting on busy, heavily trafficked roads. Drivers need to be able to see when cyclists and pedestrians are nearby or using crosswalks. There are also ways to draw drivers' attention to others on the road by designating a specific color for bike lanes, creating cut out boxes for bikes at busy intersections, or installing embedded flashing lights in crosswalks for pedestrians to use when crossing a street at night. The bottom line is that we can save lives by increasing visibility on our roads -- especially roads heavily used by pedestrians and cyclists.
To find out about your area, type your city into the search box located on the upper right of the map. You can zoom in and out of locations using the zoom bar on the left side and share the link with others. I hope this eye-opening tool helps spread awareness of this important issue, and that in the next decade our nation makes great strides towards safer streets for everyone.