Thursday, March 10, 2005

TSTC: New Study Finds Increase in New Jersey Pedestrian Deaths in 2004

Preliminary data from the New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety indicate an increase in the number of pedestrian deaths across New Jersey in 2004 according to Still at Risk, a new report by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign (TSTC).

Still at Risk breaks down pedestrian deaths by county, and has compiled pedestrian safety statistics in county-level fact sheets. Fact sheets for every county, along with the full report are available on TSTC’s website, at

A total of 153 New Jersey pedestrians were killed in traffic collisions in 2004. New Jersey is the third deadliest state for walkers in terms of the percentage of total traffic deaths that are pedestrians at 20.8%.

New Jersey counties with the most pedestrian deaths in 2004 were in the denser areas of north Jersey. In terms of the percentage of total traffic deaths that were pedestrians, counties in both north Jersey and along the Jersey shore ranked at the top. Southern Jersey counties ranked near the top of the list in terms of pedestrian fatalities per capita.

“For almost a decade the number of pedestrian deaths has hovered around 150, a number that is far too high,” explains Michelle Ernst, staff analyst for TSTC and the report’s author.

That pedestrian safety is an important issue in New Jersey that needs greater attention is not news to veteran lawmakers.

"Pedestrian safety remains a pressing issue in New Jersey. We need to do a better job making our streets safer for those most vulnerable users of our transportation system," urged Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-8th).

“New Jersey needs to make safer streets a priority,” advised Damien Newton, NJ Coordinator for TSTC, “Identifying unsafe roads and planning ways to make them safer, prioritizing smart-growth development, and making the best use of funds that are available must be a higher priority at every level of government.”

Despite the funding crunch, New Jersey needs to do more to protect pedestrians. Still at Risk recommends that New Jersey increase bicycle and pedestrian funding via the Transportation Trust Fund, create a dedicated funding source for the state’s “Safe Streets to School” program, identify and improve the most dangerous roads and streets for pedestrians, encourage the implementation of traffic calming to make walking safer, and fully fund the Transportation Enhancements program.