The Most Dangerous Cities for Pedestrians

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Updated 3/28/2024

Despite the health benefits of walking, only 2.2% of Americans walk to work. 

As the federal government tries to promote walking and walkable cities, one major obstacle they have identified is road safety. Unfortunately, this is a valid concern as pedestrian fatalities have almost doubled since 2009.

To see where pedestrians are most at risk, researchers at analyzed data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and found the following trends.

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#1: Pedestrian fatalities have increased by 80% since 2009

While there was a steady decline in pedestrian fatalities from 1995 to 2009, the trend has reversed and pedestrian fatalities are now at an all-time high.

#2: Cities that walk to work have fewer pedestrian fatalities per capita

It may seem surprising that cities with more individuals walking to work have fewer pedestrian fatalities. However, the most likely explanation these cities promote walking to work by providing safe roads for pedestrians.

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#3: The most dangerous roads are not in big cities or counties

Even when looking at total pedestrian fatalities (and not per capita), only three of the top 10 most populated counties appear on the top 10 list of most dangerous roads. In fact, four 4 of the most dangerous roads in the country are in counties with populations under 1 million residents. 

Roadway (& County) Pedestrian Fatalities
Population 2021
US-19 Pinellas, FL 51 959,583
US-19 Pasco, FL 40 585,191
I-5 San Diego, CA 39 3,274,432
SR-50 Orange, FL 33 1,427,761
I-5 Los Angeles, CA 32 9,809,462
US-41 Manatee, FL 31 413,716
I-35 Travis, TX 30 1,308,868
US-1 Brevard, FL 30 617,900
US-41 Hillsborough, FL 30 1,484,607
SR-1 Los Angeles, CA 29 9,809,462

#4: Detroit, MI is the most dangerous large city for pedestrians

Among large cities with a population over 350k, Detroit is the most dangerous city for pedestrians with 58 pedestrian fatalities per 100k.

Large Cities Fatalities per
100k People
Total Pedestrian
Fatalities (2012-2021)
% Walk to Work Population 2021
Detroit, MI 58 363 2.7% 628,167
Memphis, TN 53 331 1.3% 625,982
Albuquerque, NM 52 292 2.0% 563,108
Miami, FL 47 208 5.1% 441,999
Phoenix, AZ 46 755 1.4% 1,625,356
Tucson, AZ 42 228 2.4% 541,234
Tampa, FL 42 165 1.2% 392,893
Atlanta, GA 41 204 3.2% 492,667
Dallas, TX 41 525 2.0% 1,290,711
Jacksonville, FL 38 359 1.0% 956,911

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#5: New Mexico is the most dangerous state for pedestrians

Florida, Delaware, South Carolina, and Louisiana round out the top 5.

Full Data


Fatal accident statistics were sourced from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and population data from the US Census Bureau. Large cities were defined as cities with a population of over 350,000; mid-size cities with populations from 150,000-350,000; and small cities with populations under 150,000.

About the Author
Kyle Fretwell of
Kyle Fretwell has worked as a researcher and data journalist for over a decade. His work has appeared in publications such as Bloomberg, Fox Business, MSN, USA Today, CNBC, and the Houston Chronicle.

He now manages's content team and is a regular fixture at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville.

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