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Redefining the child pedestrian safety paradigm: identifying high fatality concentrations in urban areas
  1. Nicholas N Ferenchak,
  2. Wesley E Marshall
  1. Civil Engineering Department, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, Colorado, USA
  1. Correspondence to Nicholas N Ferenchak, Civil Engineering Department, University of Colorado Denver, 1200 Larimer Street, Denver, CO 80217, USA; Nick.Ferenchak{at}


Objectives Child pedestrians are some of the most vulnerable users of our transportation systems, and they deserve particular attention when we consider traffic safety. The objective of this work is to identify urban locations in which child pedestrians are at particular risk for fatal collisions with vehicles.

Methods This paper examines 30 years of crash data for six American cities to locate areas with high child pedestrian fatality concentrations. Phase I of the study, which examines Denver, Colorado, USA, reveals higher concentrations of child pedestrian fatalities around parks as compared with other areas that children have been shown to frequent. In phase II of the study, we specifically examine fatality concentrations near parks as compared with schools.

Results Statistical analyses suggest that, once exposure is controlled for, child pedestrian fatalities concentrate around parks in densities 1.04–2.23 times higher than around schools. Also, the concentration of child pedestrian fatalities around parks is 1.16–1.81 times higher than the respective citywide concentration.

Conclusion Traffic risks for children around parks deserve further examination as we pursue the goals of Vision Zero and child safety on our streets.

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  • Contributors NNF formulated the original research question, collected the data and formatted it for analysis. He performed initial analysis and wrote much of the paper. He worked all the way through final submission. WEM helped to craft and refine the research question, as well as provided guidance with the data collection, methods and analyses. He was instrumental in providing assistance throughout the multiple iterations of the paper including editorial support through the final submission.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.