Community Design and Transportation Safety: Towards a "Vision Zero" Road Fatalities Plan

Two of the eight key recommendations from a recent OEDC report on meeting the mobility needs of an aging population are i) development of safer roads and infrastructure, ii) appropriate land-use practices. This proposed research addresses both of these key issues by posing the question of how transportation infrastructure and community design affect road safety. The foundation for this research is our ongoing study of 150 California cities, which showed a wide variation in road safety among the different cities. This result suggests that trying to learn the underlying cause of this pattern could be a very fruitful approach to understanding the factors of community and street design that affect road safety. Our analysis of the data shows that those cities with very low fatality rates have many characteristics in common. For example, all cities with high bicycle use for commuting have low to medium fatality rates. We do not yet know the reason why this is the case. However, other researchers have also reported this connection between bicycle use and safety and have speculated that the reason for this outcome is that cities with high bicycle use may also have streets that encourage low travel speed. Our data showing lower severity level for crashes in the high bicycle use cities seem to support this viewpoint. This project will allow us to build on the findings from this previous research and provide definitive answers as to the factors contributing to differences in safety outcome in different cities. We will focus on investigating the effect on safety of two main factors: i) street network configuration, and ii) street character and design. This is different from the conventional approach to road safety, which focuses on specific road segment design and not the overall context or network. We expect that the results of this study will help to inform the crafting of policy for community and network design that could lead to a reduction in road fatality for all road users. Since road fatalities have a disproportionate effect on older Americans, it is imperative we address the issue of road safety if we are to effectively provide mobility for the increasing numbers of older Americans.


    • English


    • Status: Completed
    • Contract Numbers:



    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Research and Innovative Technology Administration

      Department of Transportation
      1200 New Jersey Avneue, SE
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Performing Organizations:

      University of Connecticut, Storrs

      Storrs, CT  United States  06268-5202
    • Principal Investigators:

      Garrick, Norman

    • Start Date: 20080901
    • Expected Completion Date: 0
    • Actual Completion Date: 20090831
    • Source Data: RiP Project 19937

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01480781
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: New England University Transportation Center
    • Contract Numbers: DTRT07-G-0001, UCNR20-8
    • Files: UTC, RiP
    • Created Date: May 7 2013 1:02AM