‘Dangerous by Design 2024’ Reports on Age-Related Risk in Pedestrian Accidents

Jun 5, 2024

Smart Growth America recently released their annual “Dangerous by Design” data report, which found that 7,522 people were struck and killed while walking in 2022, an average of more than 20 per day. According to the report, and consistent with reports in previous years, Black and Native Americans, older adults, and people walking in low-income communities die at higher rates and face higher levels of risk compared to all Americans.

Specifically, the report explains that people between the ages of 50 and 65, and people over 75, are more likely to be struck and killed while walking. Crashes that may result in only injuries for younger people are more likely to become severe injuries or deaths for older people. When the mobility of older people is reduced—whether that’s because of the lack of safe infrastructure for walking, the higher risk to their lives, or they stop driving—their social isolation and disconnection increases, which leads to negative health outcomes.

This reflects data and trends reported by WalkMassachusetts in their annual report, Fatal Pedestrian Crashes in Mass. That report found that older adults continue to be disproportionately harmed, making up 31.9% of victims while representing only 18% of the state’s population.

The report also scores the most dangerous metro areas for pedestrians, which are concentrated mostly in the south and California. The first metro area in New England to show up is New Haven-Milford, CT as the 34th most dangerous and the first in Massachusetts is Springfield at number 57. The metro area of Boston-Cambridge-Newton clocks in tied for number 94 with Worcester at number 98.

More information is available in the Dangerous by Design report here