Factors such as speed limits, road curvature and traffic volume all influence the likelihood of crashes occuring, but an additional factor less commonly discussed is the type of roadway and impact of its design.
One of the most notorious roadways with a high crash rate is the four-lane undivided highway. This design can place drivers in unsafe and nerve-wracking predicaments, such as being forced to slow down in a through lane to turn left and having to cross dual lanes of oncoming traffic.
To combat this issue, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) analyzed a roadway reconfiguration known as the Road Diet to increase safety at these traditional four-lane undivided highways.
What is a Road Diet?
A Road Diet is a reconfiguration of a traditional four-lane undivided highway that converts into three lanes – two through lanes and a center, two-way left turn lane.
According to the FWHA, implementing a Road Diet will reduce crash rates 19 to 47 percent, improve mobility and better integrate the roadway into the surrounding area, enhancing quality of life.
Why implement a Road Diet?
As urban areas continue to promote programs for increased pedestrian and bicycle traffic, enhanced complete streets and livable spaces, Road Diets provide a low-cost solution to increase safety and better alleviating dangerous traffic problems.
Along with crash reduction, additional benefits of Road Diets include:
- Reduced roadway speeding
- Reduced aggressive driving behaviors
- Improved safety at pedestrian crossings
- Improved safety for bicyclists on roadways
- Increased bicycle usage