Report calls for a Safe Systems approach to reduce fatalities

A new report from the World Research Institute finds that the most effective way to prevent traffic deaths is a systemic approach that shifts responsibility away from the drivers and other road users to those responsible for roadway planning and designing, land use mix, providing mobility options, and enforcement of traffic laws. Analysis in 53 countries found that those that have taken a “Safe System” approach have achieved both the lowest rates of fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants and the greatest reduction in fatality levels over the past 20 years.

Report calls for a Safe Systems approach to reduce fatalities

A new report from the World Research Institute finds that the most effective way to prevent traffic deaths is a systemic approach that shifts responsibility away from the drivers and other road users to those responsible for roadway planning and designing, land use mix, providing mobility options, and enforcement of traffic laws. Analysis in 53 countries found that those that have taken a “Safe System” approach have achieved both the lowest rates of fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants and the greatest reduction in fatality levels over the past 20 years.

Florida is leading the nation in lowering speeds to reduce crashes; will other states follow?

The Florida Department of Transportation plans to lower design speeds in some urban areas to 25-30 mph to improve roadway safety. This makes FDOT one of the first states to tackle head-on the safety impacts of vehicle speeds. Speed is one of the most significant factors in roadway crashes and fatalities in the U.S., and an especially serious problem for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Municipalities may be liable for crashes on streets where design encourages high speeds

On December 22, the New York State Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, ruled that municipalities may be liable for traffic injuries when the design of roads contributes to reckless driving or excessive speeding. The 6-1 decision in Turturro v. City of New York found that city transportation officials did not adequately study traffic calming as a way to reduce the problem of excessive speeding on Gerritsen Avenue, a busy street in Brooklyn.

Municipalities may be liable for crashes on streets where design encourages high speeds

On December 22, the New York State Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, ruled that municipalities may be liable for traffic injuries when the design of roads contributes to reckless driving or excessive speeding. The 6-1 decision in Turturro v. City of New York found that city transportation officials did not adequately study traffic calming as a way to reduce the problem of excessive speeding on Gerritsen Avenue, a busy street in Brooklyn.

More evidence that wider roads encourage speeding

Wider lanes and shoulders encourage faster driving, according to a new study published in the Journal of Transportation Engineering. Based on more than 650,000 observations of uncongested freeways, researchers from Texas A&M found that drivers travel 2.2 mph faster, on average, in 12-foot lanes than in comparable 11-foot lanes. Perhaps even more striking, wide left shoulders adjacent to 11-foot lanes can increase speeds by as much as 1.1 mph per foot of shoulder width, ranging from 1.5 to 11 feet. Unfortunately, the study also highlights how speed and capacity are often conflated in misleading ways and how safety can be ignored altogether.

California city loses lawsuit after death of bicyclist on road with substandard bike lanes and no lighting

In June 2012, Dr. Gerald Brett Weiss, a nationally known neurosurgeon, was killed when he was hit from behind while riding his bicycle in the community of Indian Wells, CA. In mid-November of this year his family won a $5.6 million judgment against Indian Wells, claiming that the city was negligent in not providing sufficient width for bike lanes or lighting that would have prevented the crash.

New MassDOT separated bike lane guide another step to encourage healthy transportation

At the November 4 Moving Together conference on healthy transportation, MassDOT will unveil their new design and planning guide for separated bike lanes. Lou Rabito, Complete Streets Engineer at MassDOT, thinks this is the first state guide to reference the CROW design manual from the Netherlands, considered by many advocates as the global gold standard.