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  For complete information,
visit the City's Vision Zero Action Plan
City Vision Zero Action Plan

Between October 2016 and September 2021, 1,183 traffic crashes in Knoxville resulted in a fatality or serious injury. This amounts to a life-altering crash every 37 hours in our community.

The chart below shows the average crash fatality rate for all modes per 100,000 residents in Knoxville and peer cities. Overall, Knoxville ranks 25th worst out of 172 cities in the study group (every U.S. city above 150,000 residents), based on the most recent available data (2020).

While cities in the South overall rank highly, places such as Cary in North Carolina demonstrate the possibilities to lower the crash rate. Cary had just two fatal crashes in 2020.

Average Crash Fatality Rates (NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts Annual Report, 2020)
CHART: Average Crash Fatality Rates (NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts Annual Report, 2020)

While all road users are impacted by these safety trends, certain locations and individuals are at greater risk.


In addition to understanding overall trends, it’s important to know the places people have been killed or seriously injured in traffic crashes. The results of this crash analysis is the High Injury Network (HIN), which identifies specific roads that bear a disproportionate amount of serious crashes. These corridors are a small subset of the larger overall roadway network, highlighting opportunities for targeted investments where it is needed the most. Roads on the HIN that ranked particularly high for severe crashes are shown as a Tier 1 priority on the HIN map.  

The HIN identifies Knoxville’s most dangerous roads, those with the greatest number of serious crashes. This analysis helps guide the City of Knoxville’s investments in infrastructure and programs and ensures that Vision Zero projects support those most in need. The HIN analysis is a process of ranking roadways with the highest overall score, based on the number and severity of crashes on that road.

Roads with the highest overall score include:

  • Clinton Highway (US-25W) from Old Callahan Drive to Schaad Road
  • North Broadway from Old Broadway to Highland Drive
  • Chapman Highway (SR-71) from Nixon Road to Norton Road
  • Western Avenue from 17th Street to Interstate 40
  • East Magnolia Avenue from North Harrison Street to North Beaman Street

  • City of Knoxville High-Injury Network

    High-Injury Network



    While pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists make up a smaller proportion of overall crashes, they are overrepresented in the most serious crashes. The numbers in orange represent serious injuries and the numbers in red represent fatalities.   

    National studies have found that certain demographics are most at risk when it comes to pedestrian traffic crashes. People of color (including Black people, Latino/a people, and Indigenous people) are more likely to be killed in crashes, as are older Americans. Some of these disparities occur in the City of Knoxville and the surrounding area. 

      Older Adults
    People age 65 and older are less likely to be hit as pedestrians, compared with their share of the population, but are more likely to be killed or seriously injured.

    Pedestrian risk
      People of Color
    Black people represent a larger share of people hit by cars while walking, compared with their share of the Knoxville population.

    Pedestrian risk


    Speed is one of the most important predictors of whether a crash is survivable. Lower speeds make crashes more avoidable as well. Due to the high speeds common on major arterials and suburban roads, crashes tend to be more severe on these roadways. This is a significant crash factor throughout Knoxville and for people using all modes of transportation. However, higher speeds are particularly dangerous for people walking, with a pedestrian’s chance of surviving a crash declining to 35% when hit by a vehicle traveling at 45 mph.

    The graphic below illustrates the likelihood of a pedestrian being killed in a crash based on the speed of the motor vehicle.

    Pedestrian survival rates

    Crashes within the City of Knoxville are more common than the outlying areas, but are generally less severe. This is likely due to lower travel speed of motor vehicles in the City when compared to surrounding rural areas. For example, Cumberland Avenue in Knoxville has the highest crashes involving pedestrians/bicyclists per mile of any corridor in the Knoxville region, yet it hasn’t seen any pedestrian/bicycle fatalities since 2007. By contrast, Oak Ridge Highway in Knox County saw only five pedestrian/bicycle crashes over eight years, but three of those crashes resulted in fatalities. 


    Through an examination of crash characteristics and contextual factors, the most pertinent crash trends were identified for further analysis. “Crash profiles” highlight specific conditions that account for a large share of fatal and serious injury crashes in Knoxville. These crash profiles are paired with potential countermeasures to identify system-wide safety interventions, in addition to the corridor interventions identified in the HIN. The following crash profiles were identified as most relevant for the City of Knoxville. More detail is provided in the Action Plan.

    Crash Profile CRASH PROFILE 1
    Motor Vehicle Crashes in Commercial Areas

    Crashes that resulted in death or serious injury that occurred within 200 feet of an area with commercial land use in the City.

    Crash Profile CRASH PROFILE 2
    Left Turn / U-Turn-Related Motor Vehicle Crashes at Signalized Intersections

    Crashes that resulted in death or serious injury involving a motor vehicle making a left turn or U-turn at a signalized intersection in the City.

    Crash Profile CRASH PROFILE 3
    Pedestrian / Bicyclist-related Crashes in Commercial Areas along Arterials

    Crashes that resulted in death or serious injury to a person walking within 200 feet of a commercial land use area along an arterial roadway in the City.


    Disadvantaged Areas Some communities are exposed to traffic safety risks at higher rates than others due to factors such as low income or lack of vehicle access. To better understand these communities, USDOT references equity tools provided through the Justice40 initiative. One such tool, the Equitable Transportation Community Explorer tool, assesses indicators within five components: climate and disaster risk burden, environmental burden, health vulnerability, social vulnerability, and transportation insecurity. Scores within each component are used to create a final index score that shows areas that are considered disadvantaged.

    The map identifies the disadvantaged areas in the City where safety projects should be prioritized.