Report offers urban design recommendations for healthier cities, fewer traffic fatalities

Provides concepts for creating safer streets

July 31, 2015 |
Report offers urban design recommendations for healthier cities, fewer traffic fatalities

Photo: Andre Carrotflower, Wikimedia Commons

A new report, Cities Safer by Design, from WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, offers guidance for designing safer streets and communities that can reduce traffic fatalities and improve people’s lives.  

The report includes more than 30 specific urban design recommendations for urban planners and policymakers. It emphasizes two ways to improve traffic safety in cities. First, building and retrofitting urban environments to reduce the need for individual vehicle trips; and second, by reducing vehicle speeds in areas where cars, pedestrians, and cyclists mix. 

The report focuses on improving infrastructure for pedestrians, bicycling, and mass transport. It includes examples from several cities including Tokyo, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Istanbul, New York City, and Paris.
Recommendations include:

  • Smaller block sizes 
  • Frequent street connections
  • Narrower streets
  • Traffic calming measures such as speed humps, chicanes, curb extensions, raised pedestrian crossings 
  • Arterials and intersections that reduce conflicts between road users by providing clear crossings, medians, and refuge islands
  • Pedestrian facilities ranging from pedestrian-only areas to basic, consistent sidewalks
  • Bicycling networks that feature protected bicycle lanes and special attention to design at intersections
  • Safety improvements around mass transport stations and corridors.
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