Learning to Love Your Traffic Engineer – Safety

Wednesday, November 27 by JerryFoster

Rt 571 Concept Illustration

Rt 571 Concept Illustration

Not only do traffic engineers prioritize safety lower than residents, the designs that supposedly increase safety cause more death and destruction. Why? Because motorists behave differently than engineers expect.

In 2012, there were 33,561 traffic fatalities, including 4743 pedestrians and 726 cyclists.

Traffic engineers’ safety improvements include paving wider lanes and shoulders, removing roadside trees, straightening tight curves, etc.  According to AASHTO standards, “every effort should be made to use as high a design speed as practical to attain a desired degree of safety.”

Traffic engineers believe that designing for high speed will provide safety.

The crash data, however, show “wider lanes and shoulders were associated with statistically significant increases in crash frequencies.”

Noland reports that traditional “road ‘safety improvements’ actually lead to … increases in total fatalities and injuries,” because “this type of approach tends to ignore behavioural reactions to safety improvements”.

Dumbaugh reports that “a behavior-based understanding of safety performance is supported by research and literature in the field of psychology, which has focused on the subject of traffic safety as a means for understanding how individuals adapt their behavior to perceived risks and hazards.”

Marohn calls the traditional approach to safety “professional malpractice”.

Despite WWBPA recommendations, the design for Rt 571 in downtown West Windsor follows the traditional approach – 45mph design speed, another lane and wide shoulders – all in the name of bicycle and pedestrian safety.

We’ve seen that traffic engineers might improve safety by becoming better social scientists. Before following that, however, our next installment of Learning to Love Your Traffic Engineer will look at cost.

1 Comment »

Archives

Categories

Tag Cloud

bicycle bicycle commuting bicycle safety Bicycle Tourism bicycling Bike/Ped Path bike commuter journal Bike Commuting bike lanes bike path bike racks bike ride bike safety biking Community Bike Ride Complete Streets crosswalk D&R Canal Downtown Princeton Junction East Coast Greenway Historic Bike Trail League of American Bicyclists Learn to BIke Livable Communities Main Street Mercer County mercer county bike commuting Mercer County Park multi-use trails National Bike Month NJDOT pedestrian pedestrian safety Plainsboro Princeton Princeton Junction train station Ride of Silence Route 571 safety sidewalks Smart Transportation speed limits traffic walking West Windsor

Upcoming Events

May 09   Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

May 11  WW Community Day – Duck Pond Park

May 15  Ride of Silence (rain cancels – check WWBPA facebook page)

May 18  WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

May 18  WWBPA bike clinic Hightstown – 1st Presbyterian Church 10am-12pm

May 25  WWBPA volunteering at BikeFest – WW Community Park

June 01  WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market; Learn to bike

June 13  Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

June 15  WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market; Bike tune up clinic – Bring your bike

June 29  WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

July 11   Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

July 13  WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

July 27  WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Aug 8    Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

Aug 10  WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Aug 24  WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Sept 07 WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Sept 12 Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

Sept 21  WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market; Bike Drive – Collecting bikes to support Trenton Boys & Girls Club

Oct 10   Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

Oct 12   WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Oct 26  WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market; Halloween parade

Nov 14  Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

Dec 12  Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

Become a Member/Donate

Ongoing – Register your bike with the WW Police Dept for Free

Volunteer Opportunities – Sign up to give back to the community

Now Accepting Applications for WWBPA Student Advisory Board

More Events »

Visit our Facebook Page

Follow us on Twitter

Google Group