Chicago Pedestrian-Motor Vehicle Collisions 2001-2005

Crash Factors and Spatial Analyses
Source: Federal Highway Administration

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recently published How to Develop a Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, prepared by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC) (Zegeer, 2006). As stressed in that document, a critical early action is to collect and analyze crash data to understand the extent and characteristics of the pedestrian safety problem. Data on locations, people involved, types of crashes, severity, and other characteristics of the crashes and crash locations is needed to identify pedestrian safety deficiencies and to select the appropriate improvements.

Under the contract with FHWA, HSRC had the opportunity to assist the City of Chicago in conducting this early phase of the Chicago Pedestrian Safety Action Plan. Pedestrian-motor vehicle collision databases were developed, and preliminary analyses of the crash characteristics and spatial distributions were completed.

Over the years 2001 to 2005, an average of more than 3,700 pedestrian-motor vehicle collisions has been reported each year from Chicago to the Illinois Division of Motor Vehicles. On average, 71 pedestrians were killed and around 930 were reported seriously injured during each of these five years. Although accounting for less than 3 percent of total Chicago collisions (246,229) during the latter two years, collisions involving pedestrians accounted for 34 percent of the fatal crashes during 2004 and 2005 (120 fatal pedestrian collisions, 351 total fatal collisions).

This report describes the methods and sources of data used and developed, and summarizes roadway/environmental, and vehicle/person characteristics of pedestrian-motor vehicle collisions for the City of Chicago based on data available in State crash databases for the years 2001 to 2005. While providing a broad overview of the Chicago pedestrian collision problems that may help in area-wide crash-reduction efforts, the characteristics discussed in this report may also help to guide more location-specific analyses of the personal, behavioral, and environmental characteristics of crashes and aid in developing appropriate location-specific countermeasures. Preliminary spatial examination of the distribution of pedestrian collisions based on available geo-coded crash data is also provided. These spatial examinations pointed to some high crash areas of the City that may be targeted by more in-depth analyses. The results are followed by a brief discussion of implications of the results, including potential further analyses to identify crash problem areas, extent, and characteristics. Such understanding will in turn aid the process of identifying countermeasures and prioritizing implementations to help reduce the toll of Chicago's pedestrian collisions.

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