Reporting on pedestrian life in the D.C. area

Our capital's history of car, bike, and pedestrian violence, mapped

December 6, 2011 - 10:30 AM
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The commuters who didn't make it. (Photo: ITO World)

What does a decade of road violence look like in Washington, D.C.? The imagination no longer has to suffice in answering this question — an interactive map of the death data from Jan. 1, 2001 to December 31, 2009 has emerged thanks to UK-based transport information specialists at ITO World.

The map reveals "virtually every fatality that occurred on roads in the United States as a result of a collision involving a motor vehicle," according to ITO World, and takes its data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. What results is an extraordinary tapestry of transportation tragedy and a clear illustration of what comes from not sharing the road, distracted driving, and any number of commuting cardinal sins.

What's really interesting is how the fatalities are broken up by category ("vehicle occupant, motorcyclist, cyclist, pedestrian, other") as well as the year of the incident. You can see how accidents spike at highway entrances and exits, major intersections, and trace your eyes along the George Washington Memorial Parkway to see when any traffic may have gotten a little too dangerous. You can see right where a pedestrian died in 2005 in Chinatown, the nearby spots where vehicle occupants died in '04 and '06 on 395, and how several blocks west, a motorcyclist crashed and died two years ago on Constitution Avenue. I'd love to see an updated map that includes data from 2010 and 2011 but this map successfully illustrates the dangers and how accidents unfold. Look carefully and you can tell where some of the risk points are for commuters.

Check out the map and data yourself for a chilling picture of why you should commute with proper caution:

Hat tip to the D.C. Bicycle Advisory Council.

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