Education A National Roundup

Study Finds Child Pedestrians Safest in Heavily Populated Areas

By Ann Bradley — October 11, 2005 1 min read

Children who live in heavily populated areas where people can walk to their destinations suffer fewer pedestrian deaths than those who live in low-density areas with spread-out houses, a study released last week concludes.

Ranking the Cities

The organization Safe Kids Worldwide devised a “pedestrian-danger index” for 47 major metropolitan areas, taking into account death rates and population.

Most Dangerous

• Memphis, Tenn.
• St. Louis
• Oklahoma City
• San Antonio
• Houston

Less Dangerous

• Pittsburg
• San Francisco
• Portland, Ore.
• Seattle
• Austin, Texas

SOURCE: “Child Pedestrians at Risk,” Safe Kids Worldwide

The study by Safe Kids Worldwide, a Washington-based global network of organizations that try to prevent accidental childhood injuries, looked at 47 major metropolitan areas in the United States and ranked them according to how safe they are for pedestrians under age 14.

In general, it found, the least-safe areas had rigidly separated homes, shops, and workplaces; networks of roads with limited access; and a lack of well-defined activity centers, such as downtowns and town centers.

People who live in high-density areas, which have shorter blocks that are more encouraging to pedestrians, also walk more, the report says, and children growing up in such areas learn safe pedestrian behaviors.

The report was released in conjunction with International Walk to School Day, held Oct. 5.

“Child Pedestrians at Risk: A Ranking of U.S. Metropolitan Areas,” is available from Safe Kids Worldwide.

A version of this article appeared in the October 12, 2005 edition of Education Week