Pedestrian Safety Projects

Urban Planning Thesis

Jimmy Lu

David King, advisor

This thesis examined whether the geographic distribution of pedestrian safety projects that the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) has planned and implemented since 2008 is equitable. The research built on observations that low-income and minority populations are overrepresented among pedestrian crash victims and on the fact that areas where such groups live are more prone to crashes. It also adopted the standpoint that pedestrian safety projects can and should reduce such disparities. Consequently, it asked whether roadways in community districts (CDs) in the New York City Inner Ring with higher proportions of low-income, minority, and car-less populations have higher or lower shares of pedestrian safety element. Borrowing part of Rogers et al.’s methodology, it used correlation and regression analyses to measure the relations between different social equity indicators with an index based on the densities of pedestrian safety projects.

It found that CDs where such populations were more important also had higher densities of pedestrian safety projects. In other words, the geographic distribution of pedestrian safety projects is equitable. Such results, however, should be interpreted with caution due to the small sample size and the resulting statistically insignificant results. This study recommended that transportation agencies further reduce socioeconomic disparities in pedestrian crashes and explicitly define the social quality that factor into their planning decisions and monitor their achievements in addressing equity.