SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Pedestrian fatalities have been trending up over the past decade, and California roads are no exception, according to data from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration.

According to 2020 data from NHTSA, San Jose ranks 10th in the list of cities with the most pedestrian fatalities. Sunny San Diego came in at number nine on the list. Which city took the top spot? Los Angeles tops the list of most pedestrian fatalities in 2020 with 116 deaths.

San Jose has already seen 26 pedestrian fatalities since the start of 2022 even though the city only saw 21 pedestrian deaths in 2020. As of August of this year, the City and County of San Francisco had already seen 19 traffic fatalities; the same area only saw 17 traffic fatalities by August of 2021.

The time of day that pedestrians are on the road matters. In 2020 77% of pedestrian fatalities occurred in the dark compared to 20% in daylight hours. According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, nighttime pedestrian deaths have grown from 3,510 in 2014 to 3,951 in 2020. That’s a 41% increase over the six-year period.

Photo courtesy of Governor’s Highway Safety Association

One way that cities are attempting to lower pedestrian fatalities in traffic accidents is through Vision Zero. Vision Zero aims to eliminate traffic fatalities on city streets altogether. San Jose, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego and Los Angeles have all joined the commitment to eliminate traffic deaths in coming years.

Another method that Sacramento is using to cut down on pedestrian fatalities, especially those involving children, is advocating for lower speed limits near school zones. These lower speeds can lessen the likelihood of a fatality when a collision does occur.

Photo courtesy of City of Sacramento

Technology company Aeye is hoping to increase safety on all roads with smart intersection technology. These smart intersections use lidar to detect pedestrians and vehicles, and they can react to stimulus in real time. For example, if an elderly person is in the intersection but the light is about to turn green, the lidar can detect the pedestrian and hold the red light until the person is safely across the street.

This technology is not new to the Bay Area. Smart intersections are already up and running in Dublin and Pleasanton. The video below shows an example of how the lidar reads cars and pedestrians on the road.

2019, 2020 Pedestrian Fatalities courtesy of NHTSA

San Jose

· 2020 – 21

· 2019 – 31

San Francisco

· 2020 – 12

· 2019 – 18

Los Angeles

· 2020 – 116

· 2019 – 140

San Diego

· 2020 – 33

· 2019 – 42


· 2020 – 21