Reassessing the Relative Dangers of Walking and Motoring

Source: Center for Urban Transportation Research, University of South Florida

"Recent evidence indicates that walking is much more dangerous than motoring (i.e., being an occupant of a passenger car) in the U.S. This paper proposes a new approach to risk measurement to reassess the relative injury risk from motor vehicles between walking and motoring. The proposed approach estimates exposure with time traveled, measures injuries comparably with exposure, and integrates injuries of different severity on the KABCO scale using corresponding unit costs. This approach is applied to the U.S. in 2001 using fatal-injury data from the Fatal Analysis Reporting System (FARS), non-fatal injury data from the General Estimate System (GES), and exposure data from the National Household Travel Survey (NHTS). Walking appears considerably less dangerous than motoring if only non-fatal injuries are considered, but appears more dangerous when only fatal injuries are considered. When injuries of all severity levels are integrated, however, motoring is as dangerous, if not more, as walking. This conclusion does not appear to be sensitive to potential errors in the unit costs or to underreporting of both fatal and non-fatal injuries caused by motor vehicles on or off roadways."

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