Louisiana has the third highest pedestrian fatality rate in the nation, with 1,024 pedestrians killed between 2005 and 2014, according to new report from The Center for Planning Excellence.
The state was ranked No. 5 for pedestrian deaths in 2014, and researchers say the risk of dying as a pedestrian in Louisiana was nearly double the national average.
In addition, of the 104 largest U.S. metro areas, Baton Rouge and New Orleans ranked among the most dangerous for pedestrians—ahead of Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City, the report notes. Baton Rouge is ranked No. 19, with 167 pedestrian deaths between 2005 and 2014. New Orleans is ranked No. 38, with 272 deaths during the same time period.
Though Baton Rouge had fewer deaths than New Orleans, the Capital City is ranked higher in the report because it has a higher “Pedestrian Danger Index,” which is a calculation of the share of local commuters who walk to work and the most recent data on pedestrian deaths. According to the report, Baton Rouge has a PDI of 120.6, compared to New Orleans’ PDI of 88.7.
People of color are more likely to be killed, representing 85.4% of pedestrian deaths despite accounting for only 38.7% of the population, according to the report. Louisiana has the highest level of racial disparity nationwide, and pedestrians living in low-income areas also were more likely to be killed. The report says the pedestrian deaths are preventable.
“While the Legislature tries to fund a way out the state’s transportation backlog, this report highlights the human cost of our unsafe and outdated roads and highways,” CPEX says. “A focus on implementing complete streets policies—streets designed for all users—at the state and local levels will save lives, improve public health, and reduce traffic congestion at a time when Louisiana leads the nation in pedestrian fatalities and other poor outcomes.”
The report is based on data released by Smart Growth America’s 2016 Dangerous by Design report.