The Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) recently released a series of infographics showing trends in local traffic crashes involving people walking and bicycling. The data used to create these visuals was collected over a five year period and includes a total of 1,440 crashes from seven area law enforcement agencies. To compile this data, TPO staff verified crash locations and assigned crash factors based on information obtained from individual crash reports, including crash narratives and information about citations issued.
There are four infographics available:
- Five Year Regional Overview
- Traffic Crashes Involving Bicyclists
- Rural Road Traffic Crashes
- Knoxville’s High Crash Streets
They are available online at https://knoxtrans.org/news/2017/0615/130/tpo-releases-reports-analyzing-pedestrian-and-bicycle-crash-data.
This data is important to the TPO’s work because 90 percent of the crashes recorded from this five year period resulted in injury or death of a person walking or bicycling. The goal in identifying and analyzing this information is to prevent future crashes through engineering, education, and enforcement.
Local solutions are being found for some of the issues presented. In the Knoxville Region, 39 percent of traffic crashes that involve bicyclists and 48 percent of those involving pedestrians are caused by a motorist failing to yield when making a turn. After identifying a high number of these crashes, the City of Knoxville banned right turns on red at the intersection of Cumberland Ave. and Melrose Place.
Another solution is the use of a Leading Pedestrian Interval (LPI), like the one that has been installed at the traffic signal at the intersection of Downtown West Boulevard and Ray Mears Boulevard. This technology gives pedestrians the walk signal three to seven seconds before motorists get the green light to proceed through the intersection, allowing walkers to establish their presence in the crosswalk ahead of motor vehicles.
National attention has been given to some of the same issues presented in these infographics. A recent news article reports that allowing right turns on red increases the risks of injury and death to those walking or riding a bicycle. Another article states that the number of people who die in a traffic crash while walking has risen significantly over the last decade, and that most of those crashes are occurring on arterial streets. The National Transportation Safety Board studied the dangers of speeding and found that 31 percent of traffic fatalities are speed related.
In addition to the infographics, this data can also be viewed on an interactive map that was released last fall. It allows users to explore information specific to the type of crash, crash factors and an overview of all the data. The map can be viewed at http://maps.knoxmpc.org/MapSeries/bikepedcrash.html.