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How Safe Are U.S. Cities for Pedestrians? See if Your City Made the List in Our 2023 Rankings

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By: KURU Footwear

If you’ve ever crossed the street on foot—especially in a larger city—you know how important pedestrian safety precautions can be. From designated walkways to blinking warning signals, the more obvious a human can be on the road, the better.

Walking safety is especially crucial this time of year when pedestrians are most active—starting with the long, warm days of summer extending to the yearly night crawl of Halloween.

At KURU Footwear, we care about walkers because we care about your feet! While you’re walking with less pain, we want you to stay safe, too. 

That’s why we ranked the 37 U.S. major metro cities from safest to the most dangerous for pedestrians. Each ranking is based on the city’s number of fatal pedestrian accidents and overall Walk Score from the most updated available data. Here’s what we found.

The Safest U.S. Cities for Pedestrians in 2023

The top 10 safest U.S. cities for pedestrians earned their spots through fewer pedestrian deaths and higher walking scores. In cases where two cities had the same score, the one with fewer pedestrian deaths was ranked higher.

Many of these cities have also implemented various measures to enhance pedestrian safety, such as traffic-calming measures, pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, improved crosswalks, and education campaigns. 

However, it’s important to remember that pedestrian safety can vary within different neighborhoods and areas of these cities. It’s always advisable to exercise caution and follow local traffic regulations when walking in any urban environment.

An illustration of the top 10 safest cities for pedestrians, matching the data in a table below.

CityRank Number of Pedestrian Deaths per 100k PeopleWalk ScoreTotal Safety Score
New York11.0988.099
Boston20.5882.895
San Francisco31.3888.795
Washington, DC41.4076.785
Chicago52.0277.281
Seattle61.5674.479
Philadelphia73.0474.870
Denver82.0461.268
Portland92.7467.367
Los Angeles102.9268.666

Given the Big Apple’s reputation for speeding yellow taxis, roaring intersections, and being a city that never sleeps, New York City may not have been everyone’s #1 guess for being pedestrian safe—yet it takes our #1 spot. 

New York saw 1.09 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people and has a high walking score of 88 out of 100. Boston saw the fewest deaths on our list at just 0.58 per 100,000 people. 

Though #2 Boston and #3 San Francisco each hold the same total safety score and San Francisco had the highest walk score of any city on our list, Boston took the #2 spot, thanks to its very low pedestrian fatality rate.

The Most Dangerous U.S. Cities for Pedestrians in 2023

Next, we’ll look at the top 10 most dangerous U.S. cities for pedestrians. These cities had the highest number of pedestrian deaths and lowest walking scores.

An illustration showing the most dangerous cities for pedestrians, which are listed in the table below.

City Rank  Number of Pedestrian Deaths per 100k PeopleWalk ScoreTotal Safety Score
Atlanta284.8847.730
Fresno295.4746.628
Detroit306.1651.127
Albuquerque  315.3342.626
Indianapolis324.4431.025
Louisville335.0134.322
Jacksonville344.8925.616
Tucson356.6843.215
Nashville365.5128.813
Memphis379.7035.08

Memphis lands as the most dangerous U.S. city for walkers with the most pedestrian deaths of any major U.S. metro (9.70 deaths per 100,000 people) and a total safety score of only 8 out of 100. Yet, Jacksonville had the lowest walking score of any city on our list at 25.6 out of 100.

These cities may have some work to do to ensure their pedestrians stay safe while walking on foot. Addressing these issues identified in pedestrian safety is essential to create a more secure environment for residents and visitors alike.

Complete Rankings: The Safest and Most Dangerous U.S. Metros for Pedestrians

Now let’s take a look at the complete rankings of all 37 major U.S. metros that have had more than 500,000 people since 2020. Where does your nearest city rank?

CityRankNumber of Pedestrian Deaths per 100k PeopleWalk ScoreTotal Safety Score
New York11.0988.099
Boston20.5882.895
San Francisco31.3888.795
Washington, DC41.4076.785
Chicago52.0277.281
Seattle61.5674.479
Philadelphia73.0474.870
Denver82.0461.268
Portland92.7467.367
Los Angeles102.9268.666
Baltimore112.7364.365
San Diego122.3253.359
San Jose132.0750.559
Las Vegas141.8142.055
El Paso151.7640.454
Milwaukee162.5561.554
Columbus171.9941.253
Houston183.2847.545
Austin193.3141.742
Sacramento204.0949.042
Mesa213.2237.940
Charlotte222.6726.436
Phoenix234.2741.434
San Antonio243.7636.934
Dallas254.9146.033
Oklahoma City263.7734.132
Fort Worth273.8834.931
Atlanta284.8847.730
Fresno295.4746.628
Detroit306.1651.127
Albuquerque315.3342.626
Indianapolis324.4431.025
Louisville335.0134.322
Jacksonville344.8925.616
Tucson356.6843.215
Nashville365.5128.813
Memphis379.7035.08

Tips to Stay Safe This Year

As you travel this summer and fall, be sure to practice safe walking and driving habits to help keep yourself and others safe!

Here are a few tips to maximize driving safety and pedestrian safety, pulled directly from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Driving Safety Tips:

  • Be on the lookout for pedestrians everywhere, at all times.
  • If a crosswalk or intersection is not available, locate a well-lit area where you have the best view of traffic. Wait for a gap in traffic that allows enough time to cross safely; continue watching for traffic as you cross.
  • Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and stop well back from the crosswalk to give other vehicles an opportunity to see the crossing pedestrians so they can stop too.

Pedestrian Safety Tips:

  • Walk on sidewalks whenever they are available.
  • Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or otherwise entering a crosswalk.
  • Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways, or backing up in parking lots.

Whatever your plans, remember to pack your best walking shoes! Need a more supportive pair? At KURU, we specialize in creating highly supportive, heel-hugging footwear that helps relieve foot pain, so you can Heel Better™ and live a life you love.

Methodology and Sources

To determine our ranking of the safest & most dangerous U.S. major metro cities for pedestrians, we started by finding a list of the cities with a population over 500,000 since the year 2020. We then used Walk Score and the most up-to-date auto-pedestrian fatality rates from the Governor’s Highway Safety Association. We assigned each city a score based on these numbers between 0 and 50, and added them together to create a final safety score out of 100. Pedestrian and driving safety tips came from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

About Us

At KURU, we’re on a mission to help you Heel Better™ with footwear technology designed to relieve foot pain, so you can live a life you love. Since launching our innovative technology in 2008, we’ve received more than 31,000 five-star reviews from thousands of customers who tell us their KURU shoes helped them with conditions (such as plantar fasciitis) and got them back to doing what they love. Explore our guide to the best shoes for plantar fasciitis to find a pair that fits your needs.

For all media inquiries, please contact us at pr@kurufootwear.com.

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