Houstonians drive faster
Houston drivers tend to drive faster than the national average on major pedestrian roadways, making those streets more dangerous for people on foot.
- Only 19.1% of Houston's major pedestrian roadways have average vehicle speeds under 25 mph, compared to the national average of 36%, Axios' Joann Muller reports.
Driving the news: The finding is based on a report from StreetLight Data, which tracks mobility trends using anonymous cellphone data and other sources.
- The group's objective was to understand how fast vehicles are actually going and the impact on pedestrian safety, creating what it calls a Safe Speed Index.
The biggest danger zone? Fast-moving roads alongside busy retail and service areas with lots of foot traffic.
- In urban areas across the nation, such arterial roadways make up about 15% of all roads but account for 67% of pedestrian deaths, per StreetLight Data.
By the numbers: Texas had 2.78 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 residents in 2022, according to a separate report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).
- In Houston, that number was 5.16 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 residents, according to Texas Department of Transportation data.
- There were 119 pedestrians killed in Houston in 2022.
The big picture: At least 7,508 pedestrians were struck and killed by drivers in the U.S. in 2022 — the most in 41 years — per the GHSA report.
- At least 869 of those were killed in Texas, per TxDOT data.
Between the lines: Houston lawmakers in this legislative session tried — and failed — to pass a bill that would have allowed Texas cities to lower speed limits on residential streets to 20 mph without going through costly traffic studies.
- The bill passed the Senate but failed in the House.
Pedestrians are twice as likely to be killed in a collision when a car is traveling at 30 mph compared to 20 mph — and more than five times as likely when the car is going 40 mph — according to data from the AAA Foundation.
- Time of day matters too; most pedestrian deaths occur at night.
What they're saying: "The saddest part is that these crashes are preventable," GHSA CEO Jonathan Adkins said in a statement.
- "We know what works: better-designed infrastructure, lower speeds, addressing risky driving behaviors that pose a danger to people walking."
What's next: The Biden administration is proposing a new rule that would set higher performance standards for automatic emergency braking and pedestrian-detection technology, potentially reducing pedestrian deaths.
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