Pedestrian Safety in Illinois, 1990-2000

Pedestrian fatality data were obtained for each of the 102 counties in Illinois for an eleven-year period (1990-2000 inclusive). Fifteen of the counties did not have pedestrian fatalities; Kendall County (population of 47,000) was the largest.

The study period showed an annual statewide decline from about 275 fatalities to less than 200. Each year Cook County accounted for more than half of the fatalities but it dropped from 160 in 1990 to 101 in 1999 before there are a slight up tick in 2000. The statewide changes tend to mirror the changes in Cook County.

Principal Investigator(s):

Siim Sööt


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




Identify the factors that are related to pedestrian fatalities in Illinois in the 1990s.



Cook County’s fatality rate per population was only exceeded by three other counties Williamson, Kankakee and Effingham. In suburban Chicago, McHenry and DuPage had fatality rates less than one-third of the rate in Cook County. On a nationally scale DuPage has the second lowest rate among counties with over half a million people.

When the degree of walking is considered Cook County falls within the middle of the Chicago-area counties. The lowest rates are in DuPage and Will Counties and the highest are in Kane and Will Counties.


Expected Results or Products:

A regression analysis was performed on the data with and without Cook County.  While Cook County totally dominates the statewide data, the results were rather similar.  Average travel time to work, proportion of the population working, latitude and proportion of the population that is over 65 were statistically significant.

The average travel time to work is a surrogate for the amount of traffic is the proportion of the population that is working.  But since both variables were negatively related with fatalities, it suggests that as traffic increases travel speeds likely slow and fatalities decline.  The proportion of the population over 65 is also negative indicating that while this population may be more vulnerable they may actually walk less and are more careful when walking thereby compensating for their age.  Latitude is largely an indication of weather and again the northern part of the state is safer than the southern part suggesting less walking in the northern climates.


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Siim Sööt
Urban Transportation Center
University of Illinois at Chicago
412 South Peoria Street, Suite 340
Chicago, IL 60607
Voice: (312) 996-2666
Fax: (312) 413-0006


Illinois Department of Transportation
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