By Matt Niksa
BU News Service
BOSTON — Of the 35 U.S. cities with populations of 500,000 or greater in 2017, Boston was tied for the fewest number of pedestrian traffic deaths and had the second-fewest
According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) traffic safety fact sheet published online earlier this month, there were 26 traffic deaths in Boston in 2017, 11 of which were pedestrian traffic deaths. Only San Francisco, which had a residential population that was almost 200,000 people greater than Boston’s in 2017, had fewer total traffic deaths (25). Boston and Washington D.C. had the fewest number of pedestrian traffic deaths (11). Boston’s residential population in 2017 was 685,094, ranked 21st-largest out of the 35 U.S. cities with populations greater than 500,000 in 2017.
The NHTSA fact sheet defined a pedestrian as any person “on foot, walking, running, jogging, sitting, or lying down who is involved in a motor vehicle traffic crash.” Roller skaters, scooter riders, skateboarders and people using other modes of transport were excluded from the data.
The information in the fact sheet was based on data from the NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, a nationwide census that compiles data on every fatal traffic crash within all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
The system’s data file for the most recent year of available crash data isn’t finalized until the following year to allow it to receive “important variable data requiring outside sources, which may lead to changes in the final (traffic fatality) counts,” according to the fact sheet.
Although Boston’s residential population was 11,910 people greater in the 2017 fact sheet compared to the 2016 fact sheet, the city had one fewer traffic death in 2017 compared to 2016 (27), and two fewer pedestrian traffic deaths compared to 2016 (13). Boston’s 2017 total traffic fatality rate (3.80 per 100,000 people in its population) and pedestrian fatality rate (1.61) were both less than its 2016 total and pedestrian rates (4.01 and 1.93, respectively).
The fact sheet defines a “traffic crash” as an incident that involved one or more motor vehicles where at least one vehicle was in motion and the crash originated on a public traffic way, such as a road or highway. Crashes that occurred on private property, such as a driveway or parking lot, were excluded from the data.
The sheet defines a “fatal crash” as one that resulted in the death of a vehicle occupant or non-occupant within 30 days of the crash.
Click here to view the 2017 NHTSA data on total and pedestrian traffic deaths in cities with populations of 500,000 or greater, and here for the 2017 NHTSA data on total and pedestrian traffic deaths in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.