In fact, watch your step if you're in Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, Miami or Memphis. Those are the top five cities as ranked by the Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI), a measure developed in the 1990s and used in this instance by the National Complete Streets Coalition (NCSC) in its annual Dangerous by Design study on where its unsafe to walk and why. Compiling data for the decade from 2003 to 2012 on the 47,025 pedestrian fatalities and 676,000 pedestrian injuries, the NCSC pegs the national PDI average at 52.2. Compared to that, Orlando has a PDI of 244.28.
That puts it well ahead of the tri-city Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area in second at 190.13, even though Orlando had fewer total pedestrian deaths and a smaller number of annual pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people. Or take Miami, which had the most pedestrian deaths of any city in the top ten, with a PDI of 145.33, compared to Houston - a city five times larger - coming in at seventh with a PDI of 119.64. The results also put Florida, ranked statewide at 168.6, well ahead of second-placed Alabama at 125.2. At the other end, Boston was ranked 51st and safest with a PDI of 18.65.
The bad news for Florida is that after the 2011 study named the same four Sunshine State cities in the top four, state and regional authorities began gathering data, implementing programs and adopting policies to reduce pedestrian injuries and fatalities. The good news for Florida and those cities is that each of them except Jacksonville has seen their PDI drop in the past three years.
Elsewhere among the numbers the study found that more than half of all pedestrian deaths over the covered span occurred on arterial roadways, and nearly 70 percent were on roads designed in accordance with federal guidelines. The bad news for walkers everywhere, however, is that pedestrian deaths rose in the three-year span from 2010 to 2012. So check out the report. And be careful.