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Cities Safer by Design: Urban Design Recommendations for Healthier Cities, Fewer Traffic Fatalities

More than 1.3 million people are killed in traffic crashes worldwide, making traffic fatalities one of the leading causes of death in cities, especially in developing countries. Children, elderly, and poor people are particularly vulnerable.

The report from WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities and made possible through funding by Bloomberg Philanthropies includes more than 30 specific urban design recommendations for urban planners and policymakers.

Cities Safer by Design emphasises two ways to improve traffic safety in cities. First, by building and retrofitting urban environments to reduce the need for individual vehicle trips; and second, by reducing vehicle speeds in areas where cars, pedestrians and cyclists mix. The report focuses on improving infrastructure for pedestrians, bicycling, and mass transport.

Cities Safer by Design: Urban Design Recommendations for Healthier Cities, Fewer Traffic Fatalities

The report includes examples from specific cities. Tokyo, a dense, but transit-oriented city, has a traffic fatality rate of 1.3 per 100,000 residents compared to Atlanta, Georgia, which has 9.7 per 100,000 residents. Many cities in low- and middle-income countries have higher accident rates, or lack adequate data reporting. In addition, the report provides on-the-ground examples from Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Istanbul, New York, Paris and more.

The report includes illustrated recommendations for specific design elements proven to improve traffic safety, including:

  • Urban design that includes smaller block sizes, frequent street connections, narrower streets, and access to destinations in compact urban environments that alleviate the need for vehicle travel;
  • Traffic calming measures such as speed humps, chicanes, curb extensions, raised pedestrian crossings and other elements;
  • Arterials and intersections that reduce conflicts between road users by providing clear crossings, medians and refuge islands;
  • Pedestrian facilities ranging from pedestrian-only areas to basic, consistent sidewalks;
  • Bicycling networks that feature protected bicycle lanes and special attention to design at intersections; and
  • Safety improvements around mass transport stations and corridors.

Title: Cities Safer by Design: Urban Design Recommendations for Healthier Cities, Fewer Traffic Fatalities

Date: July 2015

Authors: Ben Welle, Wei Li, Claudia Adriazola, Robin King, Marta Obelheiro, Claudio Sarmiento and Qingnan Liu

Published by: WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities

Available from: WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities website at <http://www.wricities.org/research/publication/cities-safer-design>

Note from Urbanalyst: The above summary is sourced directly from the document and/or accompanying documentation. Aside from minor editorial modifications, the information is presented as-is.

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