As part of its Vision Zero initiative, New York City has been implementing and evaluating a set of traffic calming measures focused on left turns at intersections, based on findings from the Left Turn Pedestrian and Bicyclist Study. Since 2016, the city has installed treatments in over 200 intersections. Treatments such as a ‘hardened centerline’ slow left turning traffic and change the characteristics of the turning movement to increase safety. At these intersections, the city has documented reduced turning speeds and fewer incidents of crossing double yellow lines when turning left. Officials expect to find that crashes have been reduced, once the data are available for longer-term evaluation.
Traffic calming measures use physical and visual cues to slow traffic and minimize the number and severity of crashes, increasing safety and comfort for people walking and bicycling. Traffic calming is self-enforcing; the design of the roadway results in the desired effect and does not rely on behavioral interventions. If implemented correctly, traffic calming can be extremely effective in reducing crashes. Improved livability, which is not as easy to quantify, is an additional and equally important benefit derived from traffic calming.
Continue reading Left Turn Traffic Calming Enhancing Pedestrian Safety in New York City
Host to a number of major events such as the high profile South by Southwest Festival, which draws vast numbers of visitors to the center of town, Walk Friendly Community Austin, TX is a city which has worked diligently to improve pedestrian infrastructure in recent years. First designated a Bronze-level Walk Friendly Community in 2011, Austin moved up to Silver in 2016. That same year, citizens approved the $270 million Mobility Bond, which provides a dedicated funding source for new transportation projects through 2024. The Local Mobility Program, a key component of the bond measure for pedestrians, contains funding streams for important infrastructure projects such as Sidewalks, Urban Trails, Safe Routes to School, and Intersection Safety. Continue reading Walking to the Beat: Austin, TX Moves Pedestrian Mobility Forward
Vehicle speed is a critical issue for pedestrian safety. According to the World Health Organization’s recently released Managing Speed report, a 5% reduction in average speed can result in a 30% decrease in traffic fatalities. Moreover, an adult pedestrian’s risk of dying is less than 20% if struck by a car traveling below 50 km/h (around 30 mph), compared to an almost 60% risk of dying if hit by a vehicle traveling more than 80 km/h (around 50 mph).
May 8-12 is the United Nations’ Global Road Safety Week, and the theme is #SlowDown. The accompanying WHO report provides an excellent resource for towns and cities wishing to consider speed reduction safety measures, and it lists important strategies focusing on vehicle speed management. Walk Friendly Communities manage speed in a variety of innovative ways, and we were able to narrow down a few highlights which tie in to the #SlowDown strategies. Continue reading How Walk Friendly Communities Manage Speed