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SECTION II: SAFE TRANSPORTATION

IN THIS SECTION, THE BENCHMARKING REPORT DISCUSSES TOPICS THAT LOOK AT TRANSPORTATION SAFETY WITH A FOCUS ON THE SAFETY OF PEOPLE WHO BIKE AND WALK.

This includes how the United States compares to peer countries in terms of road safety, as well as how road safety is a public health problem. This section also acknowledges limitations in bicyclist and pedestrian-related data in terms of how the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians is measured.

Use this section to learn more about traffic safety issues in the United States and how bicycling and walking are a part of a safer transportation system. To give attention to recent efforts to change the traffic safety culture in the United States, this section is split into two section, which can be accessed below:

The United States ranks worse than many comparable nations in traffic safety. According to a 2010 special report by the Transportation Research Board (TRB), “In recent decades nearly every high-income country has made more rapid progress than has the United States in reducing the frequency of road traffic deaths and the rate of deaths per [mile] of vehicle travel.” 1 According to a 2017 report by Ralph Buehler and John Pucher, between 1990-1994 and 2010-2014, the United States made  the least progress of 11 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries in reducing pedestrian and bicyclist fatality rates per capita. 2

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 37,461 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2016, including 5,987 pedestrians (15.98%), and 840 bicyclists (2.24%). 3 In 2016, more bicyclists died than in any year since 1991 and more pedestrians died than in any year since 1990. 4

FIGURE 3.2.1 – PER CAPITA ROAD CRASHES IN OECD COUNTRIES

Footnote 5

The United States has the worst record of traffic fatalities per 1,000,000 inhabitants of the 35 OECD countries that shared traffic fatality data in 2015. The rate of traffic fatalities per 1,000,000 inhabitants is slightly more than twice what it is in Canada (the U.S. has a rate of 109.4 deaths per million inhabitants, while Canada has a rate of 51.8). 6 As discussed in the Transportation Research Board report, “The experience of these benchmark nations indicates that the successful national programs function effectively at three levels of activity:” 1) management and planning, 2) technical implementation of specific countermeasures, and 3) political support and leadership. 7

1

Transportation Research Board. Achieving Traffic Safety Goals in the United States: Lessons from Other Nations (2011) in preface. Available at http:// onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/sr/sr300.pdf.

2

Ralph Buehler and John Pucher. American Journal of Public Health (February 2017, Vol 107, No. 2). Trends in Walking and Cycling Safety: Recent Evidence From High-Income Countries, With a Focus on the United States and Germany see Figures 1 and 2 at p. Available at https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/pdf/10.2105/AJPH.2016.303546.

3

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 2016 Webinar Overview : Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) at p. 9 (November 21 & 28, 2017). Available at https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812482.

4

See Chapter IV: Show Your Data.

5

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). OECD Data on Road Available at https://data.oecd.org/transport/ road-accidents.htm.

6

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). OECD Data on Road Available at https://data.oecd.org/transport/ road-accidents.htm.

7

Transportation Research Board. Achieving Traffic Safety Goals in the United States: Lessons from Other Nations (2011) in preface. Available at http:// onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/sr/sr300.pdf.