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Dangerous by Design 2022 Report and Upcoming Webinar

The National Complete Street Coalition, of which ASLA is a founding member, seeks to ensure that persons and communities are safely integrated into multimodal transportation planning nationwide. In July 2022, the Coalition released the Dangerous by Design 2022 report. The report documents how our nation’s streets remain dangerous and contribute to pedestrian fatalities, with underserved community members being the most at risk. The report’s resource dashboard provides tools including statistical overviews, an interactive, searchable map of “dangerous streets” within the United States, and metropolitan and state rankings of pedestrian fatalities.

Pedestrian fatalities from walking have steadily increased since 2009 due to contributing infrastructure issues like roadway design, speed limits, sidewalk obstruction, and neglected crosswalks. Despite the decrease in street congestion from motorized transportation during the COVID-19 pandemic, an increase in pedestrian fatalities occurred because of a change in commuting and travel patterns like more individuals walking than previous years. Most at risk are low-income community members since less safe walking opportunities exist–stemming from a lack of sidewalks, visible crosswalks, and safe street designs–and increased amounts of arterial roads, heavy traffic, and major intersections. It is important to note lower increases in pedestrian fatalities occurred in areas where infrastructure of the built and natural environment support large populations commuting.

Landscape architects have been leaders in the design and planning of multimodal transportation networks that utilize complete streets for safe, convenient, and comfortable access to transportation options. Unfortunately, the report demonstrates that additional policies, resources, and technical assistance is needed to address this growing crisis. As mentioned in the Dangerous by Design 2022 report, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides for transportation-based infrastructure tools to provide safe streets for communities. Specifically, for federally funded projects, communities are allowed to adopt and use safer street design guidelines approved by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), such as those from the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), even if a state has prohibited communities from doing so. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) also provides newer guidance on street designs for bicyclists and pedestrians, which can be used by cities or states.

ASLA encourages its members to attend Smart Growth America's webinar on July 28, 2022, from 3-4 p.m. Eastern Time to learn about the findings of the report and how landscape architects may continue to contribute to solutions to make our nation's streets safer for everyone. You can register for the webinar here.

Additional information about Dangerous by Design can be found here.

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