Study of the Day: Bad Street Design Disproportionately Hurts the Poor

Residents in low-income areas are more likely to get injured out on the road, according to researchers.

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The poor disproportionately feel the impacts of bad road design, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Researchers charted the injury rates for pedestrians, drivers, and cyclists in Montreal over five years. They found that "there were significantly more injured pedestrians, cyclists, and motor vehicle occupants at intersections in the poorest than in the richest areas." Pedestrians in low-income neighborhoods were six times more likely to be injured, even after controlling for traffic and pedestrian volume. Drivers were 4.3 times more likely to be injured; a cyclist's risk was 3.9 times higher.

The study's authors attributed this to the fact that poor neighborhoods have a higher traffic volume (thanks in part to the fact that these neighborhoods are more likely to contain major arteries and four-way intersections). Low-income residents are also more likely to rely on walking to get around.

Streetsblog Capitol Hill has some good insights into the study and ideas to address the problem.

Photo credit: Pan Xunbin/Shutterstock

About the Author

  • Amanda Erickson is a former senior associate editor at CityLab.