Pedestrian Safety in Illinois 1990 – 2000

Concerns over declining personal fitness have led to calls for more walking and other forms of exercise.  Walking is a low impact form of exercise and is preferred by many health-care professionals and practitioners.  Walking certainly is an activity that should be promoted, but in a setting where interaction with vehicular traffic is minimized.

Pedestrian fatalities are the ancillary negative aspect of walking in mixed traffic and the subject of this report, which is part of a series that examines the relationship between urban sprawl and public health.

The advocacy literature is replete with examples of the association between wide arterials in suburban areas and pedestrian safety.  Since we cannot deal directly with this issue, we have chosen to focus on data by county, the most comprehensive nationwide data on pedestrian fatalities available.  By examining county-level data we have an opportunity to assess where pedestrian fatalities occur and how they have changed over time.

While researchers recognized the benefits of walking, the report brought attention to the safety aspect of walking. According to Illinois pedestrian-fatality data by county from 1990 to 2000:

  • Illinois pedestrian fatalities have declined, down 31% from 1990 to 2000.
  • Cook County has also experienced substantial declines in pedestrian fatalities, but still has a disproportionately high share of the state’s fatalities, 59.4% of fatalities versus 43.2% of the population.
  • Among the largest counties, the lowest rates are in suburban Chicago particularly McHenry and DuPage Counties.
  • DuPage County has the second lowest pedestrian fatality rate in the nation for counties with more than 500,000 people and the lowest among counties with at least 600,000 inhabitants.
  • Counties with the highest rates tend to be small counties and include Alexander (Cairo), Brown (just east of Quincy), Effingham and Clark (east of Effingham on I-70).
  • Among the largest counties the highest rates are in Kankakee, Williamson (Marion), Cook and St. Clair (East St. Louis) respectively.
  • Fifteen counties registered zero fatalities, Kendall County in suburban Chicago has the highest population.

Please click on the link below to download the complete “Pedestrian Safety in Illinois 1990 – 2000” working paper report.



Author / Presenter:

Siim Sööt, Joseph DiJohn, Lise Dirks, Duck-hye Yang and Jiangping Zhou

Presentation Date / Publication Date: