Term of Award

Spring 2023

Degree Name

Master of Science, Applied Geography

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Geology and Geography

Committee Chair

Meimei Lin

Committee Member 1

Wei Tu

Committee Member 2

Robert Yarbrough


Unwalkable cities are afflicted by serious issues such as increasing rates of pedestrian traffic accidents, public health concerns, and the denied right to have an accessible city. This study examines how different types of urban forms and street infrastructure contribute to the prevalence of traffic accidents in two major metropolitan cities in the United States: Atlanta, Georgia, and Boston, Massachusetts. This study utilizes geospatial analysis through the Average Nearest Neighbor and Optimized Hot Spot Analysis tools to determine the spatial distribution of traffic accidents throughout both cities. Additionally, statistical tests were conducted to explore the relationships between the number of accidents, urban form, and street infrastructure. The variables were analyzed through Ordinary Least Squares, Spatial Lag, and Spatial Error models. The results of this study indicate that accident clustering was occurring at a slightly higher severity in Atlanta than in Boston as based on the results of the Average Nearest Neighbor Analysis. Hot spots covered a greater expanse of the city in Boston than in Atlanta, likely due to pedestrian walkability being greater throughout Boston. The following variables were found to increase the number of pedestrian-motorist accidents with high statistical significance in each city: risky driver characteristics, poor lighting, inclement weather, crosswalks, three lanes, and five lanes. The variables of population density and speed limits of 30 to 35 MPH were significant in Atlanta only with a positive effect on accidents. Additionally, the entropy index, speeds of 25 MPH or less, and speeds of 50 MPH or greater were statistically significant in Atlanta with a negative influence on accidents. These findings support the need to reduce speed limits and lane numbers to improve pedestrian safety, along with the need for better pedestrian infrastructure in Atlanta to diminish its motorist centricity.

Research Data and Supplementary Material