Traditionally, improving the safety of pedestrians sharing roads with motor vehicles has been accomplished through policies aimed at reducing vehicle speeds and the likelihood of vehicle-pedestrian collisions. However, in recent years automakers have been working to design cars in ways that reduce the likelihood that pedestrians struck by motor vehicles will die or suffer serious injuries as a result.
A new design manual was issued by Los Angeles County for use by all municipalities to improve the livability of streets. The manual encourages transportation engineers to apply flexible standards to accommodate all modes of travel, encourage economic development, and revitalize neighborhoods.
Roadway designers since the 1960’s have used the concept of “forgiving highways.” Due to its success in reducing fatal crashes on high speed access controlled roadways, engineers have been applying this methodology to urban streets in built up areas as well. However, this approach might actually make certain roads deadlier for motorists, as it encourages drivers to drive faster and less cautiously, and it has been shown to lessen pedestrian and bicyclist safety.