Officials in Chicago are slated to release a plan to drive down the number of pedestrian accidents in the city. The announcement was made soon after a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association indicated pedestrian accidents have climbed 11 percent nationally just between 2015 and 2016.
In Chicago, authorities reported there were 44 pedestrian accidents killed last year, markedly higher than the annual average of 38 since 2010. The overall number of crashes are up as well, but pedestrian accidents have disproportionately risen.
Via the city's Complete Streets initiative, city leaders say they hope to end all crashes that result in serious injury or death, including pedestrian accidents, by 2026. That's the Vision Zero campaign, which has been employed with notable success in other large cities, including New York City.
The Chicago Tribune reported last year the number of pedestrian accidents rose more than 30 percent in the city just in the course of a year.
Just recently in the city, a 17-year-old was seriously injured in a hit-and-run crash in Mount Prospect when a blue car struck her as she crossed the crosswalk. The car stopped briefly before the driver sped off. Her injuries were not believed to be life-threatening. According to CBS Chicago, she was able to provide investigators with key details that led to an arrest of a 46-year-old man.
The GHSA report focused on state-level statistics and comparisons, rather than city-level data. Between 2015 to 2016, there were 34 states that saw an increase in pedestrian accidents.
In terms of fatality rates, Illinois ranked No. 34 (with No.1 having the highest fatality rate), with 1.17 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 population. The U.S. average is 1.75. The highest was Delaware with a rate of 3.38.
Nationally, there were an estimated 6,000 pedestrian fatalities last year, making last year the first in more than two decades where that figure topped 6,000.
In Illinois from January to June 2016, there were reportedly 70 pedestrian accident deaths throughout the state. This was 11 fewer than the year before. However, in Chicago (one of the 10 largest cities), the number of pedestrian deaths rose from 35 to 46 from 2014 to 2016.
State leaders completed a Pedestrian Corridor Analysis in 2013 to identify the corridors that had a high number of pedestrian accidents and serious injury crashes. One of the reasons we are likely seeing lower-than-average rates of pedestrian accidents in Chicago and statewide is that since then, the state has completed a number of projects in conjunction with the recommendations of that analysis.