70% of pedestrian deaths happened at night nationally. What about in Chicago?

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CDOT, NHTSA, and Western Michigan University are involved in the installation of these optical illusion zig-zag markings, part of an experiment to see if they improve night time visibility. You can read more about them on Steven Can Plan. Since installation, I’ve asked CDOT multiple times for the results of the experiment and each time the report hasn’t been finished. 

A reader forwarded me an announcement email about the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Traffic Safety Facts 2010 Data (.pdf) in which one of the “facts at a glance” included this one: “Close to 70 percent [of fatal pedestrian crashes] took place at night”. He asked, “What percent of ped fatalities in Chicago happen at night? 70% seems disproportionately high.”

I looked it up. “Night” in this analysis means situations where the Illinois Department of Transportation crash data is coded as “Darkness” or “Darkness, lighted road”. I’ve divided the data in a table below to show the difference between those two designations. Continue reading 70% of pedestrian deaths happened at night nationally. What about in Chicago?

Traffic fatality map: Chicago, we have a problem

Let’s be thankful that federal funding for safety programs like Safe Routes To School and bicycle and pedestrian enhancements haven’t been entirely cut and there are politicians who defend these programs (aside from Representative Earl Blumenauer from Oregon, I can’t name any others).

This map, first published by The Guardian, a British newspaper, shows a point for every traffic-related fatality in the United States between January 1, 2001, and December 31, 2009. The map was created by ITO World, a transportation data company, using information from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), part of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Yes, that’s Chicago underneath all of those markers representing people who’ve died in traffic crashes. View traffic fatality map in fullscreen. Continue reading Traffic fatality map: Chicago, we have a problem

Mannequins remind drivers and pedestrians to travel safely

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32 ghostly-white figures line the north side of Wacker between Wabash and Clark, but they’re not Halloween decorations. These mannequins, male and female, wear black t-shirts reading “One of 32 pedestrians killed last year in Chicago.” On the back the shirts read “It’s up to you. Be Alert. Be Safe. We’re all pedestrians.” These dummies are part of the city’s new shock-and-awe campaign to raise awareness of pedestrian safety issues and reduce crashes. The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) is spearheading the initiative with the help of the Chicago Police Department, funded by a grant of almost $550,000 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Continue reading Mannequins remind drivers and pedestrians to travel safely

CDOT launches pedestrian safety campaign

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Photo of attention-grabbing mannequins on Wacker Drive represent the 32 people in 2010 who, while walking, were killed by drivers and automobiles in Chicago. Photo by Kevin Zolkiewicz.

Grid Chicago reader Kevin Zolkiewicz has written about the City of Chicago’s campaign to reduce pedestrian fatalities to zero by 2020.

Among the most visible of the initiatives are 32 mannequins that have been installed along Wacker Drive between Wells Street and Michigan Avenue. Each mannequin represents a pedestrian killed in Chicago last year. Klein hopes that the mannequins, combined with other campaign ads that will be plastered on buses, street furniture, and trash bins throughout the city, will encourage drivers to stay alert for pedestrians.

CDOT’s pedestrian safety campaign will involve 15 different initiatives — ranging from awareness campaigns to enforcement — that the agency hopes will change driver behavior and make the city a safer place for pedestrians. Read the full article.

Grid Chicago’s John Greenfield also attended the press conference this morning at 10 AM at Wacker and Wabash and will be writing about it for tomorrow’s feature.

By my count, using data from the Illinois Department of Transportation, there were 3,064 reported crashes in which at least one person labeled a “pedestrian” was involved. There were several crashes where more than one pedestrian was involved, but I selected unique case numbers from the dataset. I was able to agree that there were 32 pedestrian fatalities in 2010. No crash had more than one pedestrian fatality.

There were no pedestrian fatalities in crashes where the “cause code” was “distracted by phone or electronic communication device” or “distracted by other electronic device (including DVD and GPS)”. Only 8 crashes had one of those cause codes.

According to the Chicago Department of Transportation on Twitter, the mannequins will be visiting other neighborhoods