Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Useful Graphic: Pedestrian Injuries Vs. Speed of Vehicle

The graph at left is courtesy an article in Streetsblog SF (data is from the FHWA, and is linked to elsewhere on this site):

As Streetsblog San Francisco reported last month, cities around the world have timed their traffic signals to favor slower moving modes... Motorists are already seeing a benefit. Initial studies show the re-timed signals improve overall travel time by more than a minute during peak commute hours. Additionally, motorists will save gas and reduce pollution if they drive at a steady 15 mph pace.

If our society wishes to end thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of injuries that are completely preventable, it needs to take this graphic into much greater consideration when designing roads, particularly within urban areas. Creating walkable, livable streets with appropriate accommodation for all road users is the only way to eliminate 100% of injuries and deaths. Many other cities around the world are already doing this in various ways.

Perhaps even more disturbing than the number of deaths are the social implications - unsafe streets are major day-to-day barriers preventing people from walking their neighborhoods, shopping locally, playing outside, going to clinics, attending PTA meetings and using cost-efficient transport such as transit, biking and walking. This has ripple effects which undermine local economies and have a disproportionate impact on already-stressed urban neighborhoods.

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