This fall, many Americans are returning to their daily commutes. While commuting by foot is a nerve-wracking experience in some places, pedestrians in these cities walk on the safest streets in the country.
School is officially back in session for students across the nation. Though concerns over the shifting landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic are delaying returns to in-person learning in some areas of the country, many students are headed back to the classroom for the first time in well over a year.
Of course, this means that the daily commute to school is back as well. While busing remains the most common mode of school transportation, walking to school offers a refreshing, COVID-safe alternative for those who are able. Unfortunately, traffic conditions on many U.S. city streets pose risks to pedestrians of all ages, especially children. Dangerous streets often feature too few crosswalks and speed limits that are too high for the surrounding population density, making the streets less navigable for pedestrians.
Some cities, however, are committed to making city streets less risky for pedestrians through direct community engagement and improved street design. Community initiatives like National Walk to School Day, which specifically focuses on students, encourage both physical activity and pedestrian safety. To celebrate back-to-school season in 2021, the data science team at Insurify poured through its database of over 4 million car insurance applications to determine the safest metropolitan areas for pedestrians in the U.S.
Data scientists at Insurify, a site to compare auto insurance rates, referred to their database of over 4 million car insurance applications as well as public data from WalkScore to determine the safest cities for pedestrians in the United States. Cities were ranked using a proprietary scoring algorithm on factors including the number of drivers per 100,000 motorists who have a failure to yield to pedestrians citation on record, as well as overall walkability. Cities received a Pedestrian Safety Score ranging from 0 to 100. Cities with greater walkability and a proportionally lower number of drivers with a failure to yield to a pedestrian violation received higher scores.
When applying for car insurance, applicants disclose their city and state of residence and any past violations on their driving record, including citations for failure to yield to a pedestrian. Insurify’s analysts compared the number of drivers with a failure to yield to a pedestrian citation on record to the total number of drivers across the 80 most populous metropolitan areas in America.
WalkScore compiles walkability data on U.S. metro areas, including pedestrian safety metrics such as population density, average block length, and intersection density, as well as overall route availability and the number of amenities accessible by foot from a given location. Since cities with high walkability tend to have a large proportion of pedestrians, a city with a high walkability score and a low rate of drivers with pedestrian-threatening citations scored higher in the rankings
The Safest U.S. City for Pedestrians
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is the safest city in America for pedestrians due to its excellent walkability and low rate of drivers cited for failing to yield the right of way to a pedestrian. Despite a relatively high number of pedestrians, drivers there endanger walkers 74 percent less often than the national average.
The Safest Cities for Pedestrians in 2021
20. Washington, District of Columbia
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19. Tampa, Florida
18. Cleveland, Ohio
17. Anaheim, California
16. Omaha, Nebraska
15. Dallas, Texas
14. San Jose, California
13. Arlington, Virginia
12. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
11. Baltimore, Maryland
10. New Orleans, Louisiana
9. St. Louis, Missouri
8. Buffalo, New York
7. San Francisco, California
6. Seattle, Washington
5. Portland, Oregon
4. Chicago, Illinois
3. Miami, Florida
2. Newark, New Jersey
1. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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