Jackson ranks high in pedestrian deaths

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Jackson ranks eighth in the nation for pedestrians struck by vehicles in metro areas, says a report by Smart Growth America.

The report, Dangerous by Design 2016, also finds that Mississippi ranks 4th on an index developed by the group for the frequency of pedestrian deaths. Florida, Alabama and Louisiana rank above Mississippi, the report says.

The state has reported 545 pedestrian deaths between 2005-14, with Jackson accounting for 109 of those deaths, the group reported. Nationwide, 46,149 pedestrians have been struck and killed during that time period, the report states.

The report shows that in 2014, the most recent year for which data are available, 4,884 people were killed in the United States by a car while walking — 105 people more than in 2013.

The group developed its own Pedestrian Death Index, which it defines as “a calculation of the share of local commuters who walk to work and the most recent data on pedestrian deaths.”

Jackson ranks eight on that index, and is the highest ranked metro area outside of Florida, the group reports. In neighboring states, Memphis ranked ninth, Birmingham 13th, Little Rock 14th and Baton Rouge 19th.

The report noted that non-white individuals account for 34.9 percent of the national population but make up 46.1 percent of pedestrian deaths.

Older adults are similarly at higher risk, the report notes: individuals 65 years or older are 50 percent more likely than younger individuals to be struck and killed by a car while walking.

The group notes that many of the deaths occur on streets with fast-moving cars and poor pedestrian infrastructure. People walk along these roads despite the clear safety risks — a sign that streets are not adequately serving everyone in the community, according to the report.

Smart Growth America is a nonprofit organization that is a leading advocate for federal policies and programs that support great neighborhood development.