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Study finds top 10 most dangerous areas for pedestrians in Halifax Regional Municipality

July 02, 2020
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CONTACT:

Nadine Schuurman, Department of Geography, nadine@sfu.ca

Melissa Shaw; University Communications and Marketing, 236.880.3297, melissa_shaw@sfu.ca

 

A new study led by Simon Fraser University (SFU) has determined the top ten most dangerous areas for pedestrians in the Halifax Regional Municipality, and youth are at the highest risk.

Geography professor Nadine Schuurman and her team used data from the Nova Scotia Trauma Registry to map the 10 hotspots in Dartmouth and Halifax where pedestrians had the highest number of severe injuries from motor vehicle collisions.

Researchers found that people aged 11 to 30 were at the highest risk and accounted for about 46 per cent of all pedestrian injuries. Men were at a slightly greater risk of injury than women (approximately 54 per cent to 46 per cent respectively). The researchers found higher rates of injury in areas of lower and higher socio-economic status (SES) compared to middle class neighbourhoods.

The hotspots had shared characteristics. Pedestrians were often forced to cross four or more lanes of heavy traffic with regularity to reach a bus stop, retail establishment or sports complex. The pedestrian injury hotspots generally had no crosswalks, medians, or traffic calming measures to improve pedestrian safety. Long blocks, hills creating blind spots, exclusive turns, and high signage were common.

Researchers began noticing common factors. “For example, a school, ice rink or men’s shelter on one side of the road and an attractant, such as a bus stop on the other side of the road across multiple lanes of traffic,” says Schuurman. “One of the intersections where there was a lot of injuries there’s a pond on one side where people swim in the summer and then across four lanes of traffic there’s an ice cream stand. Really, when you start to investigate, it’s very predictable.” 

Top 10 most dangerous areas for pedestrians:

Halifax:

  • Intersection at Sackville St. and Barrington St.
  • Intersection at Barrington St. and Cornwallis St.
  • Around the Halifax Shopping Centre
  • Around the Halifax Common
  • Herring Cove Rd., stretch between McIntosh St. and Williams Lake Rd. in Halifax
  • Lacewood Dr., stretch between Braemount Dr. and Radcliffe Dr. in Halifax

Dartmouth:

  • Intersection at Portland St. and Pleasant St.
  • Area around Nantucket Avenue and Wyse Rd. by the Zatzman Sportsplex
  • Pleasant St., stretch between Atlantic St. and Everette St.
  • Victoria Rd., stretch between Highfield Park Dr. and Albro Lake Rd.

The team believes their research can be used to help keep pedestrians safe.

“If we understand where pedestrian injuries happen we can better implement prevention strategies,” she says.

Their most recent research was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Schuurman’s 2009 study in Vancouver found that the Downtown Eastside was the most dangerous location for pedestrians.

Their 2009 study prompted additional research into the issue and eventually resulted in Vancouver City Council lowering the speed limit on a section of Hastings St. through the Downtown Eastside from 50 km/hr to 30 km/hr.