‘Dangerous by Design 2021’ Report Highlights Pedestrian Safety Concerns for Older Adults

The most dangerous metro areas and states for people walking have been identified in Dangerous by Design 2021. The number of people struck and killed while walking has gone up 45 percent in a decade, and people of color, older adults, and people walking in low-income neighborhoods were killed at significantly higher rates.

Over the past decade (2010-2019), the number of people struck and killed by drivers nationwide while walking increased by an astonishing 45 percent. The four most recent years on record (2016-2019) are now the four most deadly years for pedestrian deaths since 1990. During this ten-year period,53,435 people were hit and killed by drivers. In 2019, the 6,237 people struck and killed is the equivalent of more than 17 people killed per day.

Of interest to age- and dementia communities is a call to action in the report that states, “We must devote greater attention to the needs of older adults when we design our streets. A 2018 survey from the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center found that older adults who give up driving face substantial barriers to getting around and often face physical isolation, frustration, and feel dependent and trapped. Forty percent of the non-driving older adult survey respondents cited access and availability of affordable
transportation as a barrier.”

For more info, Smart Growth America – the organization behind the annual ‘Dangerous by Design’ reports – offers interactive maps and data on states and metro areas across the country.