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CHAPTER 6. SAFETY OVERVIEW Safety is a critically important aspect of quality of life. As such, it must be one of the principal considerations when planning transportation projects. In the most basic terms, two types of safety are most relevant to environmental justice--the safety of those who will travel on the transportation facility and the safety of those whose activities place them in proximity to the facility. The greater environmental justice issue may lie with the second group, although it can also be relevant to facility users. For example, a recent report by the National Center for Health Statistics (2003) indicates that automobile crashes are the leading cause of death among youngsters 1 through 14 years old (2,312 fatalities in 2001). The report further indicates that black children are three times more likely to be killed in traffic crashes than are white children. Hispanic children are twice as likely as white children to die in traffic crashes. Among the reasons cited for this disparity in death rates are lack of education, cultural factors, and poverty that keeps parents from purchasing car seats for their children. Regarding injuries and fatalities for persons other than those using the transportation facility, the primary concern pertains to conflicts between vehicles and pedestrians and users of non- motorized transportation, such as bicycles. A study by Appleyard et al. (1981) reported that low- income children were more likely to be struck by motor vehicles because the lack of playgrounds encourages them to play in the street. Similarly, Roberts et al. (1995) concluded that children living near high traffic volume and high- speed (greater than 40 mph) roadways are far more likely to be injured or killed by motor vehicles. Agran et al. (1996) had similar findings and estimated that children living in multi- family housing have a threefold greater likelihood of being injured by a motor vehicle. The latter two research teams noted that areas where much of the curb was occupied by parked vehicles were especially likely to be associated with higher child pedestrian injuries. The evidence suggests that high-capacity streets and highways with rapidly moving traffic and curb parking produce significant safety hazards for children. Particularly in inner cities, many low-income families live in relatively high-density housing areas without much open space. Roadways running through these areas are often of the type associated with high injury rates for pedestrians, especially children. Increasing traffic volumes, flow speeds, or curb parking on such facilities thus can create important environmental justice concerns. STATE OF THE PRACTICE For transportation users, the safety benefits of facility improvements take the form of reductions in the rate of fatal, personal-injury, and property-damage-only (PDO) crashes per unit of travel, typically per 100 million vehicle miles of travel (VMT). It is unlikely that an environmental justice issue will exist among users of a given facility because it is equally safe or unsafe for all those who travel on it. The previously mentioned higher rate of child fatalities in traffic crashes due to deficient seatbelt use is more of an education and resource issue (funds to purchase child 137