Janette Sadik-Khan on making streets safer for pedestrians

Intersections are lethal locations. More than half of all deadly or injury-causing automobile collisions happen at or close to intersections, in accordance with the Federal Highway Administration. And in the course of the pandemic, injurious or deadly collisions have hit historic highs; within the first 9 months of 2021, greater than 31,000 folks had been killed on American roads, a 12% improve from the yr earlier than. It was the most important improve since document retaining started in 1975.

A new research from Bloomberg Philanthropies exhibits that fixing a part of this public well being disaster might come right down to a easy, stunning software. It’s not a brand new visitors sign or a giant piece of safety infrastructure: It’s a bucket of paint.

[Photo: Joseph McGann/courtesy Bloomberg Philanthropies]

Art tasks painted onto streets and intersections considerably enhance security, decreasing the speed of crashes involving automobiles and pedestrians by as much as 50% and all crashes by 17%, in accordance with the research.

These asphalt artwork tasks embrace multi-colored murals and paint jobs on the streets, crosswalks, and asphalt in and round busy intersections. Often vivid and arduous for drivers to overlook, they have a tendency to trigger drivers to decelerate, be extra cautious, and be extra attentive to pedestrians.

[Photo: Matt Eich/courtesy Bloomberg Philanthropies]

These easy painted interventions have been embraced as a part of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Asphalt Art Initiative, which has issued grants to 41 U.S. cities and three European cities, leading to 45 road portray tasks. This research targeted on a few of these tasks, and its findings present knowledge to recommend they’ll make intersections safer.

“What we’re seeing today across the country is there is a pandemic of traffic fatalities, and communities want to see their streets calmed down. They don’t want to see the blood on the streets,” says Janette Sadik-Khan, principal for transportation at Bloomberg Associates, the consulting arm of Bloomberg Philanthropies. “This is yet another tool in the toolbox.”

[Photo: Sean Carroll/courtesy Bloomberg Philanthropies]

Sadik-Khan is the previous commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation who led the pedestrianization of Times Square, beginning with a easy paint job on the road and a few plastic visitors bollards. “Nobody expected that to work,” she says. But in accordance with an evaluation, the venture had no adversarial impact on journey instances, elevated pedestrian exercise, and even benefited companies within the space. “Paint and other temporary treatments cost a fraction of concrete and capital work, and they can deliver real results for pennies on the dollar,” she says.

Now, these sorts of low-cost interventions are being applied throughout the nation, with related advantages. The research, performed by Sam Schwartz Consulting, analyzed 22 Bloomberg-funded tasks within the United States, evaluating crash knowledge from earlier than and after the artworks had been launched, relationship again to 2016. Some of those tasks had been accomplished for just some thousand {dollars}. A couple of price simply a whole bunch.

[Photo: Joseph McGann/courtesy Bloomberg Philanthropies]

Projects had been noticed in cities like Pittsburgh, the place a big, five-pointed intersection had daring striped crosswalks added and colourful flowers painted over asphalt exterior of journey lanes. Another venture in Durham, North Carolina crammed a four-sided intersection with a big mural of blue orbs. Other cities with interventions included Trenton, Atlanta, and Ft. Lauderdale. More than three-quarters of the tasks studied noticed lowered visitors crashes after the artworks had been put in.

[Photo: Joseph McGann/courtesy Bloomberg Philanthropies]

“What we see over and over again is that reclaiming streets gives us this huge canvas for safer street designs,” Sadik-Khan says. “Using vibrant urban artwork which can really stand out and become some of cities’ biggest successes.”

These interventions don’t robotically translate into security enhancements, although. The research discovered that asphalt artwork tasks in Atlanta and Decatur, Georgia, weren’t correlated with crash reductions, with crash charges growing 41% and 28% respectively.

[Photo: Sean Carroll/courtesy Bloomberg Philanthropies]

But Bloomberg Philanthropies plans to proceed the work. They’ll be giving $25,000 grants to as many as 20 European cities to do their very own pavement artwork tasks. The software interval for these grants is now open and the profitable cities can be introduced within the fall.

[Photo: Joseph McGann/courtesy Bloomberg Philanthropies]

The research goes into element on the specifics of every venture, together with the density of the encircling neighborhood, the paintings’s placement on the road, and the presence of alerts or different standard visitors management infrastructure. Sadik-Khan says the research presents the sort of early knowledge cities usually need earlier than making an attempt one thing new. With decreased crashes reported within the research, she’s hoping different cities will see the advantage of doing these sorts of tasks.

“This information gives mayors and community members and even national policy makers the evidence to show that not only will projects like these do no harm, but they can actually prevent harm from happening in the first place,” she says.

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