Road Diets in Nebraska

Examining municipalities with fewer than 12,000 residents, there are currently 14 communities throughout Nebraska in which the major roadway passing through town expands from a two lane roadway to a four-lane roadway. The benefit of this design is an oversized roadway capacity allowing for further growth of the community, at a cost to safety, as these roads increase the risk for rear-end crashes when left-turning vehicles are stopped in a lane with through traffic. The prevailing design choice for rural communities has shifted since the construction of these roadways to prefer a three-lane section, providing one lane of through traffic in each direction with a left-turning refuge in the center lane, increasing safety while giving up capacity. A roadway reconfiguration reducing the existing number of lanes on a corridor is referred to as a road diet. The Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR) has been participating in this practice for around twenty years, with some communities wholeheartedly embracing the concept, and others being more reluctant to adopt a road diet. Recently, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) identified road diets as a strategic initiative within their Every Day Counts innovation program.