Get our free newsletter
In 2014, D.C. recorded 1,171 pedestrian and 842 bicyclist collisions.
That information comes from the D.C. Department of Transportation, which included the numbers in an oversight document submitted to the D.C. Council. Also included is a list of the 14 intersections deemed the most dangerous for pedestrians, the majority of which are in downtown D.C.
In laying out its safety improvements, DDOT says it partnered last year with the Metropolitan Police Department on a photo-enforcement study at 300 locations and “assisted in the installation of speed cameras and red light cameras.” The agency also says it “conducted over 200 safety studies across the District including speed analysis and crash analysis studies.”
Plans for 2015, according to DDOT, include adding six miles of bike lanes, improving 10 intersections for bicycle safety and 10 intersections for pedestrian safety, and adding “bike signals for bike protected lanes on Pennsylvania Avenue and 15th Street NW.”
Mayor Muriel Bowser recently committed D.C. to “Vision Zero,” which asks jurisdictions to create and enact a plan to end traffic deaths by a set deadline. (In D.C., the date is 2024, and a multi-agency plan is expected to be released in about six months.) In order to track its progress to zero, D.C. will need good data to begin with.
Shane Farthing, executive director of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, says, while there will always be underreporting, crash data collection is getting better. However, Farthing says it’s unclear “if there’a consistent effort to find out what we’re trying to count and why.”
There needs to be a “clear understanding of what the city needs for what purpose,” says Farthing, so the agencies involved with Vision Zero—from MPD to the Office of Planning—can coordinate on implementing changes. “If D.C. is really going to take on Vision Zero approach… that needs to start with better data that says where and how and when the crashes happen,” he says.
The total number of pedestrian and bicyclist collisions DDOT reported last year—2,013—is significantly higher than the 515 incidents reported by D.C. agencies and affected parties through social media last year. (This is how the Twitter account Struck in D.C. collects data.) This year, Washington City Paper is using this information to map these incidents. But without realtime information, the 2015 map will likely be incomplete until mid-2016.