How To Save the Lives of Unhoused Pedestrians

A disproportionate number of unhoused pedestrians are being killed in car crashes across America — and protecting this uniquely vulnerable group will require a set of strategies that both include and exceed even the conventional street safety playbook, a new study argues.

On Friday, a group of Portland State University researchers presented their analysis of how last year’s historic traffic violence impacted the houseless community in the City of Roses, and explored interventions local leaders could take to save future lives.

A shocking 70 percent of pedestrians killed in the city last year did not have a permanent residence, a statistic that the team attributes to a 37-percent county-wide spike in the number of houseless individuals across over the course of the pandemic, well as the particularly dangerous street conditions and hostile policies which they’re too often forced to navigate.

That troubling trend, though, is not unique to Oregon — nor did it begin during the days of COVID-19.