WASHINGTON (NBC) - Pedestrian fatalities in traffic crashes are on the rise, killing more than 4,000 people in 2011, according to the Department of Transportation.
Transportation officials say a pedestrian will die every two hours in a traffic crash this year, and they say the problem is as much about physical conditions at crosswalks as it is about behavior.
"We have to encourage people to have awareness this problem is a real problem impacting their communities," Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx said in a Monday press conference.
The Department of Transportation has identified 22 focus cities with pedestrian fatality rates higher than the national average.
The most deadly is New York City, followed by Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia.
Traffic data shows most of the fatalities happen when pedestrians don't cross at intersections.
To reduce the number of pedestrian deaths the Department of Transportation is offering cities $2-million in grant money for education projects and physical improvements.
Those 22 focus cities with the highest fatality rates have until the end of the month to compete for some of those dollars.
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To view the Kentucky Strategic Highway Safety Plan for 2011 - 2014, click here.