USDOT fatality data for Sacramento

The US Department of Transportation (USDOT) has released data on fatalities throughout the US, allowing communities to drill down to the issue in their location. Streetsblog has a great introductory post at How Deadly is Your Community’s Streets? New Data Tool from USDOT Shows the Hard Truth (2023-01-08), and USDOT’s story map is Our Nation’s Roadway Safety Crisis.

In the USDOT storymap, scroll down to the first map, Where are the Hot Spots of Fatal Crashes?, and type ‘Sacramento’ in the search box (upper left). This should be no surprise, you’ve seen this type of map before, with almost all fatality crashes located along freeways and arterial roadways (which are also called stroads or traffic sewers). Note that ‘Sacramento shows all of the city, but not the city boundary, and most but not all of the county.

If you scroll on top of a map, the storymap will show background information and highlights. The county outline and the legend will also show automatically at times when scrolling over a map.

Scroll down to the second map, Concentration of Roadway Fatalities, then click on the legend icon in the lower left. You will see that the county is in the high category. Again, no surprise. Sacramento County and City of Sacramento have always stood out from the rest of California in traffic violence.

Scroll down to the third map, Fatality Rate vs Population, enter ‘Sacramento’, and click on the legend icon. This is different, with the area falling in the low fatalities/high population quadrant. The second map of this series, for cities 5000 to 50,000, shows the City of Sacramento as red – High Fatality, High Population. I don’t know why, as the city does not fall in that population category.

The significance of the third map is that data is rarely presented this way, as a rate over population. It is almost always shown as a rate over vehicle miles traveled (VMT).

Scroll down to the fifth map, Exploring Fatalities and Equity, enter ‘Sacramento’ and click on the legend icon. The pink dots show pedestrian fatalities. Don’t be thrown by the large blocks of red, and these are low population area where this type of map does not represent the underlying data and its significance.

Scroll down to the sixth map, Vision of Zero Deaths, enter ‘Sacramento’ and click on the legend icon. The City and other other cities in the county are shown as ‘one year’, one year out of the six without a traffic fatality.

I’m not sure this storymap reveals much that wasn’t already known, and in most cases already mapped on this blog, but maybe you will see more to it than I do. Comments welcome.

Author: Dan Allison

Dan Allison is a Safe Routes to School Coordinator in the Sacramento area. Dan dances and backpacks, as much as possible.

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