It's a powerful data set — ten years of fatal traffic collisions, mapped and collated, ready to be pored over. Compiled together in an interactive map, the data highlights pockets of San Francisco that appear to be particularly prone to fatal crashes over a decade. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Financial District is particularly dangerous for pedestrians, while the freeway is home to more driver deaths.
The data, which covers the entire United States from 2004 to 2013, breaks down the deaths by three of the most common causes: distracted driving, speeding, and alcohol. Together, these three contributing factors result in 58 percent of fatal traffic incidents over the course of the ten years. The map allows you to zoom in on any city in the country and further distinguishes between driver (red), passenger (orange), pedestrian (yellow), cyclist (blue), and group (purple) deaths.
The map is a project of Metrocosm, which bills itself as "a collection of projects that analyze life through statistics and data."
The data was pulled from the Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), and shows that speeding is as much as a contributing factor in fatal crashes as alcohol (both at 31 percent).
Looking across the map at different metropolitan areas is a depressing but valuable exercise. By observing what intersections and roads are the most dangerous, and by seeing the result of behaviors like distracted driving and speeding in such specific detail, perhaps urban designers can learn from this and improve the nation's roads. At the very least, it's a reminder for all of us — pedestrian, cyclist, and driver alike — to maybe keep our cell phones in our pockets.
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