A brand new method to highway security that depends on design and engineering rules — the “Secure System” method — may result in dramatic reductions in vehicle-related deaths and accidents if carried out within the U.S., in line with a report from a consortium of specialists convened by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg College of Public Well being and the Institute of Transportation Engineers.
The Secure System method engineers highway techniques in order that they’re secure when used intuitively, the best way individuals have a tendency to make use of them. A Secure System minimizes the probabilities for errors by drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists, and reduces the depth of crashes once they do happen. This method — which can embody using roundabouts, separated bike lanes, rumble strips, and different measures — has already been utilized efficiently in a number of different nations. In Sweden, the place the method was first carried out, highway deaths fell by about 67 % from 1990 to 2017.
The report’s authors advocate that the Secure System method can enhance highway security fairness whether it is carried out in ways in which shut the security hole between well-served and traditionally underserved communities.
In keeping with the Nationwide Security Council, freeway deaths elevated 8% final yr over the earlier yr though individuals had been driving significantly much less, with an estimated 42,000 deaths in motorcar crashes and 4.8 million accidents. Since 2009, the site visitors loss of life fee has remained comparatively regular at about 11 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, and crashes have continued because the main explanation for loss of life amongst younger individuals. The speed of site visitors deaths within the U.S. declined sharply between the Sixties and 1990, largely on account of the automotive security revolution.
The report, “Suggestions of the Secure System Consortium,” was launched on Might 11. The Secure System Consortium, a gaggle of greater than two dozen main freeway engineers, scientists, and public well being professionals, convened earlier this yr to reimagine highway security and fairness on this nation, as a brand new presidential administration acquired underway.
“With this report, we’re encouraging policymakers to undertake what can be a paradigm shift within the method to highway security within the U.S., with the potential to dramatically scale back the vehicle-related accidents and deaths that we have been seeing every day,” says co-author Shannon Frattaroli, PhD, affiliate professor within the Division of Well being Coverage and Administration on the Bloomberg College and director of the Johns Hopkins Middle for Harm Analysis and Coverage.
“We see the Secure System method as a manner of engineering security into the highway system — making security pure and intuitive for many who use the roads, in order that the best way they’re going to really feel most comfy driving or strolling is the most secure manner,” says co-author Jeffrey Michael, EdD, a former senior official on the Nationwide Freeway Site visitors Security Administration who’s now a Distinguished Scholar within the Division of Well being Coverage and Administration and the Leon S. Robertson School Growth Chair in Harm Prevention on the Bloomberg College.
The normal technique for highway security within the U.S., the authors word, places a lot of the burden of accountability on the individuals driving, strolling, or biking on the roads. In contrast, the Secure System method is designed to position a higher burden on the design of roads and autos.
“[N]ormal human lapses in judgment or diligence are anticipated, and roads are configured in order that such errors don’t result in loss of life or critical harm,” the co-authors write. “Even with a forgiving design, crashes will happen in a Secure System, so roads are designed to restrict crash forces to survivable ranges.”
Particular design adjustments in a Secure System embody:
- Lane reductions, on some multi-lane roads the place pedestrians and bicyclists are current, that assist gradual autos and provides drivers extra time to react
- Flashing beacons that alert drivers to pedestrian crosswalks
- Roundabouts that gradual site visitors by harmful intersections and forestall lethal side-impact collisions
- Median limitations that, when used on some rural divided highways, scale back head-on collisions
Because the authors of the report word, research of Secure System measures point out that they result in dramatic drops in site visitors deaths — for instance, a roughly 80 % discount in extreme crashes after the set up of roundabouts, and a 97 % discount in high-energy, head-on collisions with median limitations.
General, the Secure System method has been linked to substantial site visitors fatality reductions. International locations that adopted the method within the Nineties present massive drops in deaths between 1990 and 2017 — with a 47 % discount in Australia, 48 % discount in New Zealand, 80 % discount in Spain, and 67 % discount in Sweden.
One of many Biden Administration’s clearest priorities is to redress a historical past of underinvestment in highway security in communities of coloration, and the authors advocate that the Secure System method be used to do that.
“Some communities at present have far more than their share of publicity to traffic-related hazards, attributable to bigger thoroughfares going by their neighborhoods, for instance, and/or fewer security measures,” Michael says. “It is how our transportation system developed through the years — however we now have a possibility to alter our method.”
The report’s suggestions embody requiring that Secure System rules be adopted when federal funds are used for highway design and operation, and establishing particular applications to implement Secure System measures in traditionally underserved communities.