People move to the suburbs and cul-de-sacs because they perceive them as being safer. But are they really? The answer, writes Robert Steuteville, editor and publisher of Better! Cities & Towns, is no.
A 2010 study of 20 California cities reported in New Urban News (now Better! Cities & Towns) points to why automobile accidents in the suburbs are more severe and why they trump other safety concerns. California cities with more spread out, disconnected street networks (built after 1950) had automobile fatality rates three times as high (10.1 per 100,000 population from 1997 to 2005), according to that study, by traffic engineers Norman Garrick and Wesley Marshall. Cities with connected networks built mostly before 1950 had only 3.1 fatal crashes per 100,000 population.
But that’s not all. A recent study by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania found that deaths and injuries of all kinds are more prevalent in suburban and rural areas than in cities.
The bottom line: cities are safer.