The Bicycle and Pedestrian Resource Center of New Jersey is proud to release the 2011 Pedestrian Safety Tracking Report

This report is intended to extend and update the information provided in the 2010 Pedestrian Safety Tracking Report. Data presented in this report were collected from a variety of sources, but focus on the Plan4Safety database of reported crashes in the State of New Jersey. This database is maintained by the Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT) at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. The data in the Plan4Safety database are compiled from police records and verified by New Jersey Department of Transportation. This report updates the 2010 report with data from 2009 and 2010, while also increasing the accuracy of previously reported data through a more robust data extraction.

The primary purpose of this report is to continue to track crashes involving pedestrians. This report refines the previous work done, and provides more detailed analysis of the patterns of pedestrian fatalities and injuries on New Jersey’s highways and roads. We have specifically expanded this year’s analysis to include some new spatial information on counties and municipalities. It is our expectation that this spatial data and more sophisticated visual representations of existing data will be incorporated into future updates to make the presentation of this material more accessible and useful for policy makers.

Another ongoing goal of this research is to collect and compile information on safety improvements and investments. These efforts are underway, reflected in a separate three-corridor analysis report entitled Pedestrian Safe Corridors: Memorandum. We expect to improve this effort in subsequent years as we are able to collect more data on specific improvements and combine those data with the Plan4Safety data.

The primary findings of this report show a continuation of the highly variable number of pedestrian fatalities on New Jersey streets, even while the overall numbers of crashes involving pedestrians have modestly declined in the most recent years. Demographic analysis shows a higher risk for men and older adults, especially over the age of seventy-five. New analysis techniques have also uncovered a significant outlier in terms of overall pedestrian safety: Atlantic County. Home to popular tourist destinations that attract many pedestrians to the region, Atlantic County has a much higher rate of crashes involving pedestrians than any other New Jersey county when population density is controlled. One explanation is that most of the county is tourist-oriented, which inflates the number of pedestrians compared to the native population during certain times of year. Nevertheless, Atlantic County (and to a lesser extent Ocean County) is more fatally dangerous than other areas of the State.

The data extracted from the Plan4Safety database limited the type of crashes under investigation. Like the previous year’s study, the 2011 Pedestrian Safety Tracking Report only examined crashes involving pedestrians, which were also reported to result in injury or fatality. We omitted crashes that only resulted in property damage. Data were merged from both the pedestrian reports and the crash reports to create asingle dataset containing all pedestrian (individual) and crash site variables. When possible, pedestrian level data were used to calculate injury and fatality counts. In some cases, crash counts were used in place
of pedestrian level data for analysis.

The rest of this report provides detailed sections analyzing trends in pedestrian safety. The report aims to inform decision makers and therefore does not explicitly engage in policy discussions or make recommendations. The concluding section does discuss some implications of the findings, but does not suggest any strategies for addressing pedestrian safety. The concluding section also summarizes the methodological challenges in analyzing pedestrian safety data.