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Walkability and Safety Rankings

Year after year, San Francisco ranks as one of the best places to walk. 

(2012, January) Bicycling and Walking in the United States- 2012 Benchmarking Report, Alliance for Biking and Walking
The 2012 Benchmarking Report by the Alliance for Biking and Walking ranks San Francisco 4th highest city in the country for walking commute share and 10th for pedestrian safety. 

(2011, July)
In 2011 Walk Score ranked the city of San Francisco second among the top 10 most walkable big cities in the country. Walk Score ranked the 50 largest U.S. cities by how easily residents can walk to amenities like shops, restaurants and parks.

(2010, January) Bicycling and Walking in the United States- 2010 Benchmarking Report, Alliance for Biking and Walking
The 2010 Benchmarking Report by the Alliance for Biking and Walking ranks San Francisco 4th highest city in the country for walking mode share and 8th for pedestrian safety.  To measure risk, the Alliance divided the 3-year average number of fatalities by the walking to work mode shares multiplied by the population. Multiplying population times work trips mode share allows for better estimation of exposure levels for walking. Because no accurate data source exists for all trips, this is the best approximation of exposure levels available.

(2009, November) Dangerous by Design- Solving the Epidemic of Preventable Pedestrian Deaths (and Making Great Neighborhoods), Transportation for America
The Transportation for America Report, Dangerous by Design, using 2007-8 data, finds that the San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont Metropolitan Area is one of the safest in California (40th out 52 metro areas over 1 million people).   This study uses the Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI) in order to establish a level playing field for comparing metropolitan areas based on the danger to pedestrians. The PDI cor­rects for the fact that the cities where more people walk on a daily basis are likely to have a greater number of pedestrian fatalities.

(2009, May) 2009 American College of Sports Medicine Fitness Index
(2008, May) 2008 American College of Sports Medicine Fitness Index
In 2009, American College of Sports Medicine ranked the San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont metropolitan statistical area (San Francisco MSA) fifth in the country using its Fitness Index.  In 2008, the San Francisco MSA ranked first.  This index factors in the percent of people walking to work as well as characteristics of the built environment such as parkland and health statistics. 

In 2008 Walk Score ranked the city of San Francisco as having the most walkable neighborhoods.  Walk Score calculates the walkability of a place based on the distance to nearby amenities such as supermarkets, libraries, etc.  Walk Score rates 17 neighborhoods in San Francisco as “Walkers’ Paradises”, and shows that 90% of San Francisco residents live in “Very Walkable” areas.

(2008, 2007)
In 2008, the American Podiatric Medical Association together with Prevention magazine ranked San Francisco the sixth best walking city in the country, and the best in the state of California.  In 2007, Prevention magazine ranked San Francisco as the third best walking city.  This ranking is based on criteria including the percentage of adults who walk to work, number of parks per square mile, and pedestrian accidents and fatalities per population. 

(2007, December) Footloose and Fancy Free: A Field Survey of Walkable Urban Places in the Top 30 U.S. Metropolitan Areas, Christopher B. Leinberger, Brookings
A 2007 Brookings Institution report identified the San Francisco Metropolitan Area as the third most walkable urban place in the US.  This report ranks metropolitan areas according to the ratio of walkable urban places to total population. 

SFMTA Reports

The Pedestrian Program has performed several studies in their efforts to improve the walking environment within San Francisco.

(Coming Soon) Crosswalk Guidelines

(2011, June) 2010 Pedestrian Count Report (PDF)

(2011, January) A supplemental report prepared by SFMTA staff expands on summary information presented in the NYC-SF comparative study.

(2010, November) Evaluation of Pedestrian Video Detection to adjust signal timing. This report evaluates a pilot project which installed a video detection to extend the crossing time for pedestrians who otherwise could be caught finishing their crossing on the red light.

(2010, November) New York City-San Francisco Pedestrian Study (accessible PDF)

(2010, April) 2009 Pedestrian Count Report contains methodology and results from manual counts at 25 locations citywide.

(2009, December) 2008 SFMTA Collision Report contains collision data, trends and analysis

(2008, June) APS Policy

(2006, January) Pedestrian Countdown Signals: Experience with an Extensive Pilot Installation. ITE Journal. Frank Markowitz, Stanley Sciortino, Ph.D., Jack Lucero Fleck, P.E. and Bond M. Yee, P.E. San Francisco’s pilot pedestrian countdown signals were associated with a decrease in pedestrian injuries and fewer pedestrians finishing crossing on red. This feature discusses the impacts of the popular devices on collisions, pedestrian behavior and attitudes, motorist behavior and signal maintenance needs.

(2002, June) Safety Evaluation of Right Turn on Red. ITE Journal. Jack L. Fleck, Bond M. Yee. This paper defends the safety record of California’s Right Turn on Red law and takes issue with assertions that this policy increases the risk of collisions.

(Various Years) Transportation Fact Sheet contains basic statistics about transportation in San Francisco.


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