New design guidelines show that high quality public transport systems in cities around the world can improve traffic safety and reduce injuries and fatalities by as much as 50 per cent. Urban bus systems currently serve more than 31 million people each day worldwide.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more that 1.2 million people die each year on the world’s roads. If no action is taken, traffic accidents could even become the fifth leading cause of death by 2030 due to rapid global urbanisation, explains EMBARQ, a network that works on sustainable urban mobility solutions.
But while sustainable public transport systems are regarded as essential features of smart and liveable cities due to their environmental and economic benefits, new research from the WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities shows that sustainable street design can also improve road safety and save lives by up to 50 per cent.
Its new Traffic Safety on Bus Priority Corridors report contains planning and design recommendations that were pilot-tested over two years in cities around the world. In Macrobús, Guadalajara, for instance, the report concluded that changes made to street infrastructure to accommodate bus rapid transit infrastructure – such as removing lanes, introducing central median, shortening crosswalks and prohibiting left turns at most intersections – had a positive impact on safety.
In contrast to traditional approaches to road safety that emphasise education and behavioural change, the approach in this report seeks to address human error in how transport systems are designed and planned to reduce the risk of traffic accidents, explains EMBARQ.