Subcontract: ODOT Understanding Pedestrian Injuries and Social Equity

Nathan McNeil, Portland State University


Portland State University partnered with the project PI Josh Roll of the Oregon Department of Transportation on a two-phase research project examining pedestrian injury and social equity. Past research and planning has highlighted the existence of pedestrian injury disparities throughout the US and some local agencies have performed cursory analysis in Oregon. However, no statewide analysis of pedestrian injuries in Oregon has been completed to see how these injury outcomes differ by race and income. Phase 1 of the research (completed in September 2021) utilized existing data sets to examine pedestrian injury disparity in Oregon. In Phase 2 of the research, the project team will develop pedestrian safety performance functions for Oregon.

The Phase 1 report aims to help better understand the factors that result in disparate pedestrian injury outcomes for different sociodemographic groups. This report uses data from a variety of sources to understand pedestrian injuries by social equity measures including income, poverty, race, ethnicity, disability and English proficiency. The authors conclude that Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) experience a higher rate of pedestrian injury compared to the statewide average. This report also documents pedestrian injuries at the Census tract level and measures factors that influence pedestrian injury risk. Sociodemographic risk factors associated with pedestrian injury risk include race, income, disability, and limited English proficiency. Traffic exposure factors include arterial vehicles miles traveled, miles of roadways with 35 miles per hour posted speed, transit stops, and workers commuting by transit and walking. Built environment risk factors include density of jobs, intersection density, and the density of alcohol establishments. This report concludes that, at both the state and neighborhood level, incorporating social equity measures including race, disability, and income are important to understanding pedestrian injuries and the likely location of these incidents. Race is an important factor in large part due to the relationship with income and the lack of economic opportunities afforded to BIPOC people. Income is important to consider because low-income people are more likely to walk and take transit in neighborhoods with more vehicle traffic moving at higher speeds.

Project Details

Project Type:
Project Status:
End Date:
August 31,2021
UTC Grant Cycle:
non-UTC project