2020 was the worst year in recorded history for people walking in Nashville. 39 people were killed by vehicles while they were walking. At least 248 additional people were injured in traffic crashes while walking. We used data from the Metro Police Department to try to understand what happened, and what can be done to turn around Nashville pedestrian safety crisis.
Last February, after years of advocacy by Walk Bike Nashville and other organizations, Mayor Cooper made a bold commitment to a Vision Zero goal. Vision Zero is a global strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries while increasing safe, healthy, and equitable mobility. Setting an ambitious goal is an essential first step. But pedestrian deaths have steadily risen for the past 15 years. Without funding for safety projects, or significant changes to how streets are managed, we cannot hope to turn this trend around.
Urgent, bold action is required by both our city and state government to ensure that all Nashvillians can safely navigate our city on foot or bicycle.
2020 Fatal Pedestrian Crashes:
Seven roads account for nearly half of fatalities in 2020
In 2020 we continued to see most pedestrian fatalities on high-speed state arterials. The seven roads below account for nearly half of the fatalities. Most crashes on these corridors occurred outside of downtown, midtown or West Nashville.
Larger state roads account for nearly all deaths. 71% of fatalities occurred on roads with four or more lanes, with another 16% on interstates. These corridors also all have higher speeds than surrounding streets. These streets are particularly deadly at night. As in past years, 70% of 2020 fatalities took place at night (6 pm - 6 am)
A little about the victims
There continue to be strong demographic trends among pedestrian victims, and the neighborhoods where crashes are occurring.
At least 30% of all people killed while walking in 2020 were experiencing homelessness.
70% of 2020 victims were men, and only 30% women.
As in previous years, most crashes occur in neighborhoods that are more likely to have a lower average income and majority percentage of people of color.