Theses Master's

The Geographic Distribution of Pedestrian Safety Projects In New York City: What Social Equity Implications?

Lu, Jimmy

This thesis examines whether the geographic distribution of pedestrian safety projects that the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) has planned and implemented since 2008 is equitable. The research builds on observations that low-income and minority populations are overrepresented among pedestrian crash victims and on the fact that areas where such groups live are more prone to crashes. It also adopts the standpoint that pedestrian safety projects can and should reduce such disparities. Consequently, it asks whether roadways in community districts (CDs) in the New York City Inner Ring with higher proportions of low-income, minority, and car-less populations have higher or lower shares of pedestrian safety elements. Borrowing part of Rodgers et al.’s methodology, it uses correlation and regression analyses to measure the relations between different social equity indicators with an index based on the densities of pedestrian safety projects. It found that CDs where such populations were more important also had higher densities of pedestrian safety projects, in other words that the geographic distribution of pedestrian safety projects is equitable. Such results should however be interpreted with caution due to the small sample size and the resulting statistically insignificant results. This study recommends that transportation agencies further reduce socioeconomic disparities in pedestrian crashes and explicitly define the social equity criteria that factor into their planning decisions and monitor their achievements in addressing social equity.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
King, David Andrew
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
June 12, 2013