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Road Infrastructure as a Contributing Factor to Pedestrian Fatalities in New Jersey (2015)

Full Report PDF Download (4.5 MB)

Appendix PDF Download (35 MB)

This report was part of a yearlong study into pedestrian fatalities in New Jersey during 2012. The study includes an analysis of police reports and a review of the infrastructure present at the crash sites. Pedestrian fatalities account for a large fraction of crash fatalities in the state of New Jersey. In 2012, reported pedestrian fatalities accounted for 26.5% of all crash fatalities, the highest proportion in the nation. The preliminary estimate is that 169 pedestrians were killed in 2014. Reducing the number of pedestrian fatalities is a major objective, and this report looks into how poorly designed road and pedestrian infrastructure contributes to pedestrian fatalities.

The study found that:

There are concerns about the accuracy of the number of deaths reported:

– 8% of the reported pedestrian deaths in the state database, which are reported to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), were in violation of the definitions specified by NHTSA

– 15% of the pedestrian deaths reported in 2012 do not meet the publically understood definition of a pedestrian as a person traveling by foot

– There are many opportunities for errors in the data to be introduced, from the crash scene to the reporting system to the public databases. This affects efforts to improve safety at crash locations

– There are concerns over incomplete or inconsistent police reports, as officers sometimes lack tools and training to fully investigate the collision and therefore leave out important crash details

Roadway infrastructure can be improved to help prevent deaths. The report notes the following problems found near the locations of the fatalities:

– Lack of safe pedestrian sidewalks to and from commercial areas

– Roads designed to promote high speeds in areas heavily used by pedestrians

– Insufficient lighting along roads and in crosswalks

– Poor visibility at crosswalks, including drivers parked too closely to crosswalks which block the views of pedestrians and oncoming traffic

– Some NJ TRANSIT bus stops lack sidewalk connections

NJDOT is committed to making roads safer for all road users, including drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists. While NJDOT has been a strong supporter of Complete Streets policies, which encourage the construction of facilities that are safe and accessible to pedestrians, there are still thousands of miles of roadways in New Jersey that feature outdated and unsafe designs.

Recommendations in the report include:

– Improving pedestrian safety near commercial areas, especially those bordering residential areas

– Pedestrian paths needs to be safe, convenient, and accessible

– Reducing auto speeds in areas with pedestrians

– Current road design can encourage speeds well beyond the speed limit

– Better lighting at intersections and over crosswalks

– Additionally, enforcement of illegal parking which can block visibility at intersections

– NJ TRANSIT should do more to ensure the safety of their customers accessing transit stops

We have compiled a summary of every pedestrian death in New Jersey during 2012. The summaries include maps and images of the crash area, information on the roadway and conditions, a summary of the police findings, details on the fault, an interpretation and additional questions. You can find this in the appendix:

Appendix PDF Download (35 MB)

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