Redesigning Existing Urban Streets to Optimize Multiple Outcomes
Authors: Hamish Mackie
Abstract: This paper describes a programme of neighbourhood scale intervention research in Auckland New Zealand, with the aim of creating inherently safer streets that also enhance public health and community wellbeing. The research began with a study called Self Explaining Roads (SER) and a second, larger project called Future Streets is currently in progress. For the Self Explaining Roads study approximately 11 km of local and collector roads were modified within an existing suburban area using SER principles. A programme of evaluation found a 30% reduction in traffic crashes and an 80% reduction in crash costs three years following the SER intervention. Mean traffic speed for local streets reduced to 30 km/hr and speed variance reduced for all streets. Pedestrian outcomes also improved on local streets and distinct road user behaviour characteristics for the two road types were achieved, reinforcing the achievement of a successful SER intervention trial. A further intervention study (Future Streets) focusing more deliberately on active modes and public health outcomes, but still including SER principles, is currently in progress. A process of participatory design is being used to develop street changes in an intervention area. A control area has also been assigned and a range of road safety and public health measures will be carried out in both areas, before and after the intervention changes. The studies will hopefully lead to more informed decisions about the nature of urban street infrastructure investment in the future.
Keywords: Road Safety, intersection, variable speed limit, human factors
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