NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Memphis and Nashville are considered the country’s two most dangerous cities for pedestrians, according to a new study by KURU Footwear.

KURU said it ranked the 37 major U.S. metros based on their number of pedestrian deaths and overall walking scores from the most recent available data.

(Source: KURU)

According to Metro police, Nashville ended 2022 with 49 pedestrian deaths, setting a new record. Meanwhile, KURU’s study reported 5.51 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people in Nashville.

The Nashville Department of Transportation (NDOT) said safety is its number one priority, but pedestrian safety, in particular, is a major focus.

In 2022, Metro Council approved NDOT’s Vision Zero Implementation Plan to achieve zero fatalities and serious injuries on Nashville’s roads. 

Officials said the program’s highlights include an integrated approach of the five E’s — Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Evaluation, and Enforcement — along with the following countermeasures:

  • Rectangular rapid flashing beacon deployment at pedestrian crossings
  • Pedestrian refuge islands
  • Crosswalk visibility enhancements
  • Leading pedestrian intervals
  • Pedestrian hybrid beacons
  • Curb extensions
  • Improvement of transit access 
  • Traffic calming
  • More sidewalks

“If we’re not doing this for zero fatalities, then there’s no reason for us to be going and doing this at all, but we need to be more aggressive,” said Meshach Adams, an outreach assistant for Walk Bike Nashville. “In the next seven, eight, nine, 10 years, we need to see no fatalities.”

According to Adams, there have been several improvements, such as a speed limit reduction and the addition of more bike lanes in the 12 South neighborhood. However, he said it will take several years to fix the city’s infrastructure issues.

Other projects include rapid flashing lights added to the intersection of Shelby Avenue and 10th Street at the end of 2022. Plus, a colorful piano keyboard was painted along a strip of Dickerson Pike earlier this month in an effort to help alert drivers to pedestrians.

“We shouldn’t be hearing about folks dying in our streets because of bad design,” Adams told News 2.

He said infrastructure improvements need to be a priority for city and state leadership.

“Over the next mayoral administration, it is our goal that we start to see these fatalities go down,” said Adams. “This is something that affects our quality of life.” 

⏩ Read today’s top stories on

Whether you’re behind the wheel or on foot, KURU offered the following tips to maximize pedestrian safety:

  • For drivers:
    • Look out for pedestrians at all times, wherever you are.
    • Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or otherwise entering a crosswalk.
    • Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, but also stop far enough away to give other vehicles a chance to see the crossing pedestrians so they can stop, too.
  • For pedestrians:
    • Use sidewalks whenever they’re available.
    • If a crosswalk or intersection isn’t available, find a well-lit area where you have the best view of traffic. Then, wait for a gap in traffic that gives you enough time to cross safely, but keep watching for motorists as you cross.
    • Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways, as well as backing up in parking lots.

You can read KURU’s full study on the safest and the most dangerous cities in America for pedestrians by following this link.