Comment 113475

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 18, 2015 at 14:44:16 in reply to Comment 113473

A recent study concludes that in an urban setting, narrower lanes - specifically, lanes with a width of 3-3.2 metres (10-10.5 feet) - are safer for all road users. Quoting from the study:

Wider lane widths are often thought to provide extra safety margins in a traditional street design paradigm. Although this assumption may be partially valid in high-speed and high-capacity expressway/highway conditions, in an urban commuting environment the need for a safety margin is smaller due to fewer trucks, lower speeds and higher interaction between the street users.

By narrowing existing wide lanes based on "highway" standards, more capacity can be obtained for pedestrians, bicycles and transit vehicles and users. The increased probability of walking and cycling then paves the way for a "safety in numbers" condition that further reduces collision rates for all transportation modes sharing the street space.

The ripple effects of carefully designed narrower streets are large. Combined with other safer design features (such as a planted median, bump-outs or bulb-outs), narrower lanes in off-peak periods act as de facto psychological design controls, inducing the maintenance of a safer range of vehicle operating speeds.

Predominantly in the central business districts, where the ratio of non-automobile to vehicle flow is significant, the benefits of narrower lanes combined with elimination of unwarranted slip lanes is accentuated. Consistent speeds help to reduce risks to vulnerable users. In addition, shorter pedestrian crossings mean shorter signal cycles to reduce vehicle delay.

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