Study: The Most Dangerous Places for Pedestrians in Florida
According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, Florida had the highest rate of pedestrian fatalities in 2016.
Several recent studies, including the widely circulated Dangerous by Design, paint a similar picture: Florida is a dangerous place for pedestrians.
While these studies have helped raise awareness of the pedestrian safety issue in Florida in general, they provide little information about specific areas where pedestrians may be at higher risk of collision.
Where exactly are the most dangerous places for Florida pedestrians? We worked with data visualization firm 1Point21 Interactive to find out.
We examined three years of pedestrian collision data (2014-2016) and identified 181 zones where 10 or more pedestrian collisions occurred.
Interactive Map: Dangerous Pedestrian Zones
You can zoom in on the interactive map to reveal more information about each specific zone.
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- There are 181 total zones in the state of Florida that had 10 or more total crashes from 2014-2016.
- These zones accounted for 3,531 crashes, 1276 minor and moderate injuries, 576 severe injuries and 166 fatalities.
- Six of the top ten zones were in Miami-Dade County, with large zones in Miami Beach and Miami occupying first and second spots, respectively.
- The first and second-ranked zones were the only ones to have triple-digit pedestrian crashes on our list.
Why Did We Perform this Analysis?
Our firm works with victims of serious injuries on a daily basis. As a result, we feel that diving into a serious public safety issue like this is extremely important. Pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users and are over represented in motor vehicle fatalities. Rather than point out metro areas or cities with a pedestrian safety problem, we found specific places where pedestrian collisions frequently occur. Whether it’s due to road design, driver behavior or simply a result of higher pedestrian and motor vehicle volume, knowledge of this type is power.
If our analysis helps even one person avoid being involved in a pedestrian collision, it’s worth it. Perhaps our findings can help engineers and city planners suggest traffic calming devices or other safety measures for pedestrians in these areas. For more information, see our methodology section.
Miami and Miami-Dade County had the biggest presence in our analysis. Miami-Dade County contained 54 total zones – with the city of Miami counting for more than half.
The most dangerous zone in Miami was a large cluster located in the downtown area, tallying 210 crashes, 85 total injuries, and 5 fatalities. Despite having the most crashes and highest incidence of serious injuries, this zone actually ranked #2 on our list. The title for most dangerous zone went to a cluster in Miami Beach, centralized at the junction of Collins Avenue and 17th Street. This zone ranked higher because although it had approximately 25 less crashes than the zone in Miami, it also tallied 20 more total injuries across a seemingly smaller surface area of the city.
Nevertheless, these two zones eclipsed all other clusters by an overwhelming amount. For perspective, the third ranked zone, located in Orlando, tallied 82 crashes – less than half that of our top ranked zone.
Fort Lauderdale contained nine zones with 10 or more crashes. The top-ranking zone seems to be the most dangerous zone in the city by a considerable margin. Located at the intersection of Broward Boulevard and Andrews Avenue, this zone contained 62 crashes, 26 total injuries, and 4 fatalities. This zone ranked fifth overall, with the next-highest zone in Fort Lauderdale coming in at 27th overall. It’s important to note that the 27th ranked zone, a small cluster located on Sunrise and 15th, had a third of the crashes but the same amount of fatalities as the zone at Broward and Andrews.
The city of Tampa contained nine zones of high pedestrian crashes. Three zones were located in the downtown area, the largest being a section of Tampa Street and Kennedy Boulevard that contained 34 crashes, 19 total injuries, and 1 fatality. This ranked as the most dangerous zone in Tampa.
Directly south of this zone was a cluster of crashes along Channelside Drive. This zone accounted for 12 crashes, 8 injuries, and 1 fatality.
Interestingly, the second most dangerous zone in this region was an unincorporated stretch of Fletcher Avenue north of Tampa proper. This zone, between 15th Street and Bruce B Downs Blvd, accounted for 31 pedestrian crashes, 13 total injuries, and one fatality. It may be worth mentioning that this zone is directly adjacent to the University of South Florida campus, with quite a few residential complexes and accommodations dotting the route.
Additionally, the city of Tampa also included a zone within Tampa International Airport. Ranked third in Tampa, the zone had 20 crashes and 12 total injuries – with one of them being serious. A large amount of these crashes appear to occur within the parking garages of the airport.
The city of Orlando contained 14 zones in total, with two ranked in the top ten overall. The most dangerous zone in the city is located near Lake Eola. Centralized at the crossing of Washington Street and Orange Avenue, this zone accounted for 82 crashes, 48 total injuries, and 1 fatality. This zone had more than twice as many crashes and minor/moderate injuries as the next highest Orlando zone, and ranked third overall on our list.
One notable zone just north of Orlando is located in the town of Winter Park. Centralized at Park Avenue and Fairbanks Avenue, this zone has 15 total crashes, rivaling some of the zones in Orlando. Despite the high volume of pedestrian crashes, this zone only accounted for five total injuries. However, it made the list because the difference between a non injury crash and serious injury is only a few more mph when a pedestrian is involved.
Jacksonville is the largest city in Florida, with it’s population nearly twice that of Miami. However, despite being so populous, we found just 7 zones with 10 or more crashes on our list.
The highest ranked zone was a cluster located in Downtown, at the cross-streets of Main Street and Union Street, with 28 crashes, 11 total injuries (6 of them serious), and 1 fatality. This zone ranked 30th overall, encompassing roughly 10 blocks of Union Street.
Another notable zone is located Downtown. A three-block stretch of Bay Street that encompasses the Jacksonville Police Department, Sheriff’s Office, and Pre-Trial Detention Facility also contains 19 crashes, 13 total injuries, and one fatality.
Other Notable Zones
Outside of the major Florida cities, there were also some notable zones that warrent further investigation.
A small zone located in Key West amassed 45 crashes, 23 injuries, and 1 fatality. Centralized at the intersection of Fleming Street and Duval Street, this zone outranked most zones in danger score and total crashes, ranking 10th among the 181 zones.
One particular zone localized on 14th Street in Bradenton had 21 pedestrian collisions over three years. However, despite the relatively low amount, this zone ranks 11th overall on our list due to the sheer number of injuries and fatalities incurred in those crashes. Those 21 crashes accounted for 17 total injuries, 11 of which were serious, and 4 fatalities – all on one stretch of road that measures approximately 0.7 miles.
For comparison, the 1st and 2nd-ranked zones in our list had just one more fatality each.
A cluster of pedestrian collisions along University Avenue and 13th Street in Gainesville is just one of two zones in the city, but it is notable for being directly adjacent to the University of Florida. Located on the northeast corner of the university campus, it tallied 33 crashes and 23 total injuries – 10 of which were serious.
The zone ranked 16th overall in our analysis, and may be worth further investigation, especially with its close vicinity to a higher education institution.
This sizable zone in Coral Gables contained 51 crashes, 17 minor-to-moderate injuries, 9 serious injuries, and one fatality. This location is notable, as it is home to the Miracle Mile, a shopping and entertainment hub widely considered a pedestrian-friendly district.
Methodology and Sources
Our analysis uses pedestrian collision data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles for the years of 2014-2016. For records lacking geocode information, we generated latitude and longitude based on the cross street listed on the report.
For the purposes of this study, a “zone” is defined by areas where 10 or more pedestrian related collisions occurred within a close proximity of each other. The zones were identified using a Kernel Density Estimation, this is why the zones are all uniquely shaped and different sizes.
We determined the rank for our 181 zones by calculating a weighted score, called the Pedestrian Danger Score (PDS), based on crash volume and injury severity for each. Due to how vulnerable pedestrians are in collisions with motor vehicles, we included crashes that resulted in property damage and minor injuries. Sometimes the difference between a non injury and a serious one is five more mph.