Road diets: designing a safer street

Road diets: designing a safer street

This road might not look like anything special. But what if I showed you the same road, a
few years earlier —notice anything different? Here’s a better angle of that:
The old road has 4 lanes for traffic. The new one has two. And now there’s this middle lane for left
hand turns. There’s also a new bike lane. This is what transportation planners call
a road diet. And it’s a very popular to make the roads
safer. Over the course of the 20th century, four
lane roads became an American institution. It started with the release of Ford’s model-T
in 1908. A few decades later, there was one car for
every two households in the states. By the 1960s, many roads became so busy, that
traffic engineers had to figure out how to add capacity. So, they added lanes. A lot of pavement was getting put on the ground. Even where maybe when the population and traffic
volumes weren’t so high that we needed that pavement. But we wanted that pavement. Sometimes your eyes are bigger than your stomach. Fast forward to the present day and we’re
left some overbuilt roads that are pretty unsafe. And crash reduction is a major benefit that
planners can achieve with just a bit a paint. Four lane roads have quite a few conflict
points — these are places where accidents could happen. These ones represent merging accidents. These are rear ends, and there are multiple
left turn crash scenarios. Now look at what a 3 lane reconfiguration
does — There are far fewer crash points. A road diet can also make left turns suck
way less. The shared middle lane takes left turners
out of the traffic flow, so they won’t hold up drivers who want to continue through. And now, left turners will only have to cross
1 lane of traffic instead of 2, which will eliminate broadside accidents. And the benefits don’t end there. By slimming each lane in the road, the road
diet reduced the travel speed by almost 7 miles per hour. Narrower lanes can cause that psychological
impact on the driver to slow down a bit. And while a 6 mile an hour difference in speed
may seem modest, it can make an auto accident much less deadly …
Narrower lanes also leave more space for expanded sidewalks or bike lanes. your pedestrians will feel safer. It might’ve given you more green space to
separate from your vehicles. And your bicyclists might have a dedicated
space to ride. In the midst of these changes, the number
of traffic lanes has gone from 2 to 1. So if you drive a car, you might assume that
the tradeoff of a road diet would be congestion… How could traffic *not* increase? That’s usually their concern before a road
diet is implemented. That’s not what happens. The volume of the roadway is still sustained. We wouldn’t want to put a 4 to 3 conversion
on a piece of roadway that would then push half your traffic somewhere else. And what we found in a couple of places, it
actually makes moving through town easier. But traffic flow is only one part of the equation
— you’ve got to also balance commercial and safety benefits too. especially if this is through an urban corridor
where you’ve got businesses, coffeeshops, it works. it keeps people moving, it doesn’t take
traffic away from that corridor, and it reduces those rear-ends that thendo stop the road. Iowa is conducting this road survey because
so far, the plan has worked *really* well for them. A study of 15 streets in the state saw a crash
reduction rate of nearly 50%. At the same time, the diet didn’t substantially
disrupt other activities along their corridors. A key factor was the traffic volume, measured
by engineers as ‘Annual Average Daily Traffic’. Most road diets will run into problems as
you approach that 15,000 vehicles number. In Iowa, many roads don’t get that much
traffic. The same could not be said for the suburban
contexts in California. A study comparing road diets in Iowa to corridors
in California showed that California’s streets average about double the amount of daily traffic. The same kinds of road diets resulted in a
17% crash rate reduction — significantly lower than the reductions in Iowa. This is not to say that the road diets in
California are an outright failure. It’s just a difference *context* for the
road diet. And the success of a road diet is driven by
so many other factors — economic impact, land use, or level of service to name a few. What works in Iowa may not be the right fit
for California, and vice versa. So the case for road diets is pretty clear:
they do slow streets down and they do reduce crashes. But whether or not that’s worth the trouble
depends very much on the context of the world that surrounds the road.

100 thoughts on “Road diets: designing a safer street

  1. Creating more pollution by cars sitting in traffic and making roads less safe since safety vehicles can’t get by, so this helps no one.

  2. Road Diets do not work, especially where traffic is already congested. They are failure for urban environments.

  3. This is such bull s*** the amount of traffic goes way up. Make more eco-friendly bridges. Less lights, and not only that we don't have much longer until autonomous cars take over the road anyway. Making the roads 99% safer. So why do this???

  4. This has got to be one of the worst things that has been done to traffic flow and vehicle pollution. I started browsing about road diets I seen a good rear end accident on a street that should have been 4 lanes

  5. A stupid idea, causes increases in traffic and more dangerous conditions for everyone. Bikers can just use the right lane and people can pass them on the left. That is better than forcing everyone to never have two lanes

  6. They’re currently doing this in LA. It has created even more outrageous traffic. There is a ten-fold increase in the yearly traffic accidents. And creates even more smog from idling and traffic. And only 1% of LA uses bikes for work. So they’re doing all this to appease 1% of people

  7. There's a community in Southern California who's road diet on their 3 paths to LA increased fatal accidents by 400% and travel times by 300%. So, while it's probably a good idea IN cities, it doesn't work between them.

  8. This video and planning idea has already been debunked. It causes more accidents by far. City planners, who have global warming sickness, want people to give up their cars. They purposely make driving a car more inconvenient with their city planning through the use of road diets. These city counsels are made up of mostly women who don't have enough sense to manage a grocery list let alone a city.

  9. This doesn’t work in sprawling American metros. You can’t transplant what we did in Europe without mirroring our urban plans and making similarly robust investments in public transit. SMH at these uneducated and untraveled urban planners.

  10. I am not sure how it can be safer when LA saw a roughly 400% increase in accidents and paramedics unable to respond due to increased (nearly double… funny how halving lanes doubles traffic) congestion.

  11. Road diet is a joke. It only makes life harder kn the millions of commuters in LA and if you are sitting in traffic longer you are creating more pollution. This is a joke and further proof of what California does, then we all need to do the opposite. Government trying to adjust people's behaviors never work. Ever. Government does nothing right. Glad I live no where near any of this stupidity.

  12. This idea only makes sense when traffic volumes are low; i.e., when a 4 lane road was never needed in the first place. As the end of the video points out – CA has had a big backlash with this design and this experiment had to be reverted.

  13. After looking into this a little more, it appears to not be working well in California. Longer commutes (some saying it doubled their work drive from 20min to 40min), small business losing customers, and it's actually causing more accidents. I see the concept and how places like California are pushing for more people to use Public transportation or riding a bike (thus the bike lanes) and to try to reduce traffic accidents, however I don't see many people with long drives to work wanting to take public transport and the added traffic people. I hope traffic improves overall, maybe once people are used to the added traffic, slower speeds, and longer commutes there will be less crashes. I think I will just wait for Amazon to create a legal Drone-Jet-Packs before I go there.

  14. If we make them 0 lane roads then there's no traffic!!
    Stop embracing enforced poverty. Don't you live in LA vox? We need to invest in more and more infrastructure, build more and bigger, higher and wider.

  15. Listen to the logic.
    When there's 2 lanes, then there are 2 lanes of traffic.
    When there is 1 lane, then there is only 1 lane of traffic!!!

  16. “significantly less reduction in accidents in California” drop the bias it literally increased accident rates and congestion in California ffs.

  17. Its nice how our government will apply this method in our busiest road EDSA. Filipinos should see this now its controversial in metro manila believing it might cause road accidents but its not.

  18. Yet it doesnt make them safer. It makes them worst. Even LA is starting to abandon the idea with traffic accident happening more frequently and with harsher outcomes. Plus traffic is now getting more grid locks.

  19. I am glad they mentioned context.I agree that in some areas these road diets work really well but the problem is they have been putting them in areas that they are counterproductive. In those areas they cause issues such as congestion and lower pedestrian safety. They really have to look at where these will be effective not just putting them everywhere.

  20. 2019, the cities have 24/7 bus lanes even though there are a few buses during off pick, but too much traffic for 2 usable lanes.

  21. Funny they did this for safety, but in four months that it has been up has only cause more accidence’s in the area. Less lanes equal more traffic which affects the mood, some might be running late and drive more aggressive, plus business are losing customers as well due to the amount of traffic building up. The people of the city even sign a petition to remove the city council who approved it…

  22. This video is hilarious. It explains a 3 lane road like it's some kind of new invention, it isn't. My state has had 3 lane roads for decades. They carry about 90% the capacity of a 4 lane road because the left turn lane acts in two ways. First, it allows drivers to pull over so they can turn left without blocking traffic behind them. Second, it allows people turning left ONTO the road to deal with only one traffic direction at a time.

    There is no data that says decreasing lane width to slow down traffic makes streets safer. Narrowing a lane makes the road inherently less safe to drive, so if you decrease speed like that, you are certainly not going to obtain the full safety increase you otherwise would by slowing down traffic using another method.

  23. slower lane and less lanes = less than 50% the traffic flow, means more polution, genius. Do cities even have city planner son their payrolls anymore

  24. It's not popular. People hate it. It causes congestion. It's part of UN Agenda 21. It's designed to reduce mobility independently.

  25. Road diets have not been proven to make roads safer. In fact, they make roads more dangerous. In LA county, the areas where there are road diets, there is more congestion AND MORE CRASHES. It adds useless space for bicyclists that never use the road. And then the amount of traffic that was created HURT BUSINESSES because nobody wants to sit in an hour of traffic to get to a store. They are not helping, and they are only a way to get cities to control the way you get around. They want you to walk, they want you to use their bus system. These cities don't want to give you a choice in what you transport yourself in. You HAVE to use their public transport that doesn't go where you need it to because of the road diets. The government is taking control of your life.

  26. They did a road diet on the downtown part of Carson St. in Carson City, NV. Before, you could get around the slugs and do 30-35 mph. Now you're always stuck behind somebody who thinks it's a good idea to go 20 mph. What that did was push traffic over to Stewart St, which has a lot of pedestrians crossing. Now you get dead pedestrians on Stewart more than you used to.

  27. No you just implementing UN agenda 21 with environmental sustainability and social justice. Love how you guys use soft words for all your harsh programs. Road diet, affordable Care act, social security, welfare, no child left behind, Patriot act, free education, wealth distribution. But well meaning people still fall for it so can't blame them. What does govt run so well that people keep believing these corporate funded money pits and is their anyone who can say they have got their money's worth in the taxes that go to these lobbied, special interest groups that benefit from your empathy. No cause government can't make you rich or better off. They just govern and create dependancy in order to…. Govern some more. Then little more. Til you are the servants, the serf, the slave. Government does make politicians rich though but they care bout you more. Keep voting them in for their social security

  28. total nonsense… laisy people don't respect neither of 2 scenarios is worse than before… before at least we had more space… no we have traffic…

  29. One area that did this had a increase of accidents 5 times the previous amount. The commute time increased 3 times the previous amount. And they found the local stores in the areas were losing business. Don’t believe this tripe.

  30. absolute hog wash. An aging population is not going to bike to get groceries in 10 degree windchill. This is an assinine idea.

  31. Increased traffic, higher emissions because more idle time, destroys commuting times. And now we have seen the stats. This policy has caused MORE ACCIDENTS. Try dealing with facts and real data instead of talking points.

  32. Actually go look at where they tried road diets, like LA. Now they are reversing them. Because they didn't friggin work. Ideas with made up data to support a theoretical idea. Real journalism would look at both sides not parrot one. Vox is horrible and needs to crumble already.

  33. I really don’t like this I understand why they are doing it but I’m not going to get out of my car and many other people likely think the same

  34. This hasn't worked. Accidents are up +800%. Our roads were safe. 1 or 2 accidents a year at most. Yes, idiot jaywalkers and irresponsible cyclists got hurt. Now 15 to 20 accidents and many more deaths. I cannot ride a bike to work. Its 15 miles. I wear a suit. I don't have access to showers. I work in a very professional environment. Guess what, silicon valley isn;t as hippie as everyone makes it out to be. We all commute to work. There are no buses or trains that work for us. This increases the commute by up to an hour at peak traffic and several of my closest friends have been seriously hurt. Build larger roads and better pedestrian crossings. Do not artificially limit the number of lanes.

  35. I feel like the real answer for states like California is just better public transportation, I wish we had multiple subways. When I went to London I couldn't believe how easy it was to get from place to place without ever having to worry about traffic or parking. If we had subways that would take cars off the road and these systems might actually have a chance of working better here.

  36. Eliminate cars and bikes. Go back to eco friendly horses. People can collect the crap in the streets for free composting

  37. I like the idea of encouraging more pedestrians and bicyclists to use the road, but reducing the number of lanes is just plain stupid! If it's a major highway, its only going to increase congestion and lead to more angry drivers. The purpose should be to relieve congestion, while at the same time creating a facility that is friendly to pedestrians and bicyclists. It makes more sense to keep the road four lanes and add a center lane.

  38. Cranbrook B.C. has had this for many years on the main strip. We always called it the suicide lane. Its good to know that it makes the roads safer.

  39. The "road diet" turned our local commute into a "road nightmare". Our local politicians were put on a "salary diet" until they learned the error of their ways. Recall elections are a beautiful thing.

  40. Partially off-topic comment alert

    Mercedes Benz is the company that started cars, but Ford is the company that made them popular

  41. One main problem in Florida is that everyone is from somewhere else and the roads aren’t great either.

  42. Wait, these aren’t in every city? I live in LA and they’re practically everywhere here. I just thought it was a mainstream thing.

  43. Personally I hate two lane roads like that. I will admit the middle lane for turning is nice, but the traffic there is always 10 times worse.

  44. Literally the first clip in the video shows how road diets make traffic congestion worse. Obviously this idea has some merit in specific locales, but to reduce a busy street from 2 lanes to 1 can only lead to more congestion.

  45. Weird, experience with road diets in California, showed many people that they are actually ineffective, because accidents actually went up, and twelve minute commutes went to thirty minutes. More cyclists died. More people sat in their cars polluting…although they were a good idea, they just don't work. Road diets are square wheels. Let's keep them in the back yard.

  46. In both situations in the examples given at 1:37 you have the same amount of conflict points….
    why so much of your news in the recent year or two are so stupid?!
    Are you intentionally misleading viewers just for the views or are all of you just morons?!

  47. Road diets were put to the test here in Los Angeles and let me tell you if traffic was already bad before it, traffic doubled and commutes increased nearly 30 more minutes than the usual. Road diets don’t work. As soon as people complained they reopened the road from 1 lane back to 2-3 lanes each way.

  48. The UK needs to chill with all the "road diets" The traffic is horrible, people always go under the speed limit, and people also park on the road on top of the narrower lanes. Hopefully the US does a better job of deciding where to implement it.

  49. This seems like a terrible idea. I just can’t get my head around a lane where cars travel in both directions.

  50. I hate left turn middle lanes I’m busy areas. Too many people are trying to use the same lane for too many things. I’ve seen a ton of accidents happen from these, mostly head ons and tbones.

  51. I’m not sure about reducing the amount of lanes where I live, but if they want to get rid of concrete or grassy medians and replace them with usable turn lanes, I’m all for that!

  52. This is a way to increase traffic in Los Angeles and try to force people into high rise buildings and use mostly public transportation. They were not thinking about safety.

    I am not giving up my suburban life with a wife, two kids, two cars, a dog and a big green lawn!

  53. Is the road diet has capacity limit for the cars or it can fully optimized within certain volume of cars, the only it can works is in develop country where the volume of cars is ideal, in the most developed country with had more volume i dont think this road can work

  54. Pls more traffic. Get out the way…more cars on the road everyday. Faster cars made so increase the highway speed autobahn .

  55. "The road diet can reduce travel speeds by around 7 MPH" Is that supposed to be a selling point? Yes! I would like to travel even slower!

  56. Highway 78 in Atlanta Stone Mountain has that turning lane and crashes was terrible. The partitioned the turning lane and solved the problem.

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