Interactive map shows crash data between motorists and pedestrians, cyclists in Providence

PROVIDENCE In the past 13 years, motorists have hit 3,678 cyclists or pedestrians on Providence’s streets — a figure that represents around 2% of the city’s population. And at 88%, the vast majority of those hit suffered an injury or, in 32 known instances, were killed.

The Providence Streets Coalition highlighted this data and more in a newly-released, interactive map intended to serve as a “block-by-block visualization of every reported motor vehicle crash involving a person walking or bicycling since 2010.”

A new data mapping tool, launched after a six-month compilation effort, serves as not just a visualization of crash data, but a call for safer streets, said Providence Street Coalition lead organizer Liza Burkin.

“Every one of the dots on this map represents a human life that has been changed or ended as a result of traffic violence,” Burkin said in a statement. “This isn’t something that we accept as an inevitable outcome of the road network that we have built.”

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Among other findings, the coalition highlighted a recent increase in fatal collisions, with 2022 standing out as the deadliest year for pedestrians since 2016. Members also found that 40% of crashes occurred at signaled intersections, and drivers fled the scene in 28% of collisions.

The 30 fatalities currently noted on the map do not include two pedestrian deaths on North Main Street this year, the coalition notes.

In developing the map, the advocacy group obtained data from the City of Providence via a public records request. While the city’s data did include crashes on state-maintained roads, the R.I. Department of Transportation has repeatedly denied similar requests the coalition has filed under public records, the group notes.

The coalition hopes to use the map to bolster the city’s Vision Zero pledge, which sets a goal of eliminating all traffic fatalities and severe injuries on Providence streets.

“Our hope is that, combined with a commitment to Vision Zero, this map will help us identify hot spots and trends, and make life-saving changes to our road network,” Burkin said.

Providence City Councilor Sue AnderBois is optimistic that the database will have its intended effect.

“We will now be able to better use data to drive policy and practices to improve the safety of our residents on our streets and sidewalks,” AnderBois  said in a statement. “Safely navigating city streets and sidewalks using whatever mode of transportation you prefer is non-negotiable quality of life issue in Providence.

“I will use this data regularly in Ward 3, especially as we move forward with the North Main Street Task Force,” she continued.

Volunteers with the coalition will update the map, available each spring.

Jacquelyn Voghel is a PBN staff writer. You may reach her at Voghel@PBN.com.

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