Cars rule!

Providence’s streets, with state-controlled roads in red.

Providence Counts assembles facts and figures from a variety of sources to illustrate different aspects of the city.  In this week’s Providence Counts, we acknowledge that, like it or not, automobiles continue to define our city. Even though Providence is a compact 21.6 square miles in area, cars are still seen as the best or only choice for getting to work, attending events and shopping by most. Our car culture excludes the large number of Providence residents who don’t have a car. Streets built to accommodate high volumes of car traffic at higher speeds make walking or riding a bike hazardous. Looming cuts to an already inadequate public transit system make it even harder to live without a car.

13% – Percent of Providence total area covered by streets. (2.6 square miles of streets)

18,000 – Number of vehicle miles per year travelled by the average Providence household.

5.3 – Miles across Providence West to East (Neutaconkanut Park to the Henderson Bridge).

7.2 – Miles across Providence North to South (Pawtucket line on North Main to Cranston line on Elmwood Avenue).

1.27 – Average number of cars per household in Providence. (2016)

20% – Percent of Providence households without a car.

40% – Percent of households in Upper South Providence without a car (the highest rate in Providence).

150 – Average number of pedestrians struck by cars each year, 2009-2017.

60 – Average number of bicyclists struck by cars each year, 2009-2017.

90% – Percent of pedestrians who survive when struck by a car traveling 20 MPH.

10% – Percent of pedestrians who survive when struck by a car traveling 40 MPH.

162,690 – Number of tickets issued through Providence’s cameras in school zones program over 18 months (Jan 2021 – June 2022).

$8.1 million – Estimated gross ticket revenue from school zone speeding cameras in that period.



PVD Great Streets plan

Providence Journal

Jonathan Howard is Co-founder of Cause & Effect, Inc., a consulting company that provides strategic planning facilitation, fund development planning and board strengthening to mission-driven organizations. He is a long- time resident of Providence. His three children all attended Providence Public Schools from kindergarten through high school.