Narrower Traffic Lanes in Cities Could Help Lower Risk of Traffic-Related Collisions

A new report from researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Bloomberg American Health Initiative highlights the critical role street design in urban settings plays in traffic and pedestrian safety. The study’s analysis of lane widths in seven U.S. cities—Dallas, New York City, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, Miami, Denver, and Washington D.C.—found that even slightly narrower lane widths are, in many cases, safer than wider ones…

In an analysis of 1,117 streets in the seven cities, the authors found that reducing city traffic lane width to 9 feet, especially in traffic lanes with speed limits up to 35 miles per hour, could help reduce traffic-related collisions. Reducing lane width would also create more space for other safety and livability features, such as bicycle lanes and wider sidewalks.

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