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Where does Atlanta rank in U.S. pedestrian fatalities?

In many ways, walking can provide a healthy and inexpensive way to travel through a metropolitan area. Unfortunately, when people choose to travel by foot, all too often they are putting their lives at risk. 

An average of 13 pedestrians were killed each day in the United States in 2014. That equals 4,884 people total in that year, with is the most recent data available. How do Atlanta and Georgia stack up to the national statistics? And what can be done to reduce pedestrian fatalities?

Smart Growth America (SGA), an advocacy group, released a report called Dangerous by Design 2016. In the report, SGA ranks states and metro areas based on their risk of pedestrian fatalities. They examined all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as the 104 largest metro areas in the country.

Georgia ranks as the 10th most dangerous city for pedestrians, with 1.57 deaths per 100,000 people. This is higher than the national average of 1.47. As for metro areas, the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell area is ranked at number 26, with 1.5 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people, also higher than the national average for metro areas of 1.51.

What is the underlying cause of pedestrian accidents? According to the SGA, it is street design. "The way we design streets is a factor in these fatal collisions," SGA states. "Many of these deaths occur on streets with fast-moving cars and poor pedestrian infrastructure. People walk along these roads despite the clear safety risks -- a sign that streets are not adequately serving everyone in the community."

SGA offers suggestions about how action can be taken at a local, state and national level to improve street infrastructure and reduce pedestrian deaths. Through this report, they provide suggestions for where to focus efforts and first steps to make improvements happen.

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