Here’s a pretty simple chart from “Dangerous by Design“, Smart Growth America’s three-year-old report on pedestrian safety:
The key point on the report’s summary explaining these statistics:
Who are the victims of these collisions? People of color and older adults are overrepresented among pedestrian deaths. Non-white individuals account for 34.9 percent of the national population but make up 46.1 percent of pedestrian deaths. In some states, this disparity is even starker. In North Dakota, for example, Native Americans make up just five percent of the population but account for almost 38 percent of pedestrian deaths. Older adults are similarly at higher risk: individuals 65 years or older are 50 percent more likely than younger individuals to be struck and killed by a car while walking. Even after controlling for the relative amounts of walking among these populations, risks continue to be higher for some people of color and older adults—indicating that these people most likely face disproportionately unsafe conditions for walking.
In addition, PDI is correlated with median household income and rates of uninsured individuals. Low-income metro areas are predictably more dangerous than higher-income ones: as median household incomes drop, PDI rises. Similar trends bear out with rates of uninsured individuals: as rates of uninsured individuals rise, so do PDIs, meaning that the people who can least afford to be injured often live in the most dangerous places.
The takeaway for me is that street safety is an equity issue.