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167707-1 Report Abstract

Comprehensive Engineering Approach to Achieving Safe Neighborhoods

James A. Bonneson, Angelia H. Parham and Karl Zimmerman, Texas A&M University, September 2000, 62 pp. (167707-1)

Steady increases in travel demand coupled with minimal increases in arterial street capacity have led to an increase in traffic-related safety problems in residential neighborhoods. These problems stem from the significant number of motorists that divert from the arterial to the residential street system in an effort to avoid arterial-related delays. Diverted motorists add to neighborhood traffic volumes and increase crash exposure for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other vehicles. In addition, diverted motorists often drive at excessive speed which increases both the potential for a crash and its severity.

The objective of this research was to develop guidelines for the use of both neighborhood traffic management and corridor traffic management techniques for improving safety in residential neighborhoods. The focus of this research is on neighborhood and corridor traffic management techniques that have the potential to reduce speed or cut-through volume on the local street system. The approach taken to conduct this research was to develop as much of the guideline material through a synthesis of the literature and to supplement this synthesis with some investigative research in areas where information was lacking.

A model was developed for this research that can predict the percent of arterial drivers that cut-through the adjacent neighborhood streets. The data used to develop this model were obtained from extensive simulations of a typical city street system that includes arterial, collector, and local streets. The model variables include average arterial travel speed, signal density (in signals per mile), and the degree of saturation of the signalized intersections on the arterial. Percent cut-through traffic was found to range from 0.0 to 30 percent of the arterial volume, with the higher percentage associated with oversaturated signalized intersections.

Several recommendations for future research in the area of traffic management techniques were developed. Fundamentally, it is recommended that additional research be conducted on the effectiveness of alternative traffic management techniques. For neighborhood traffic management techniques, before-and-after data are needed to assess technique effectiveness in terms of volume reduction, speed reduction, and crash reduction. For corridor traffic management, further research efforts are necessary to verify the accuracy of the cut-through traffic prediction model developed for this research.

Keywords: Traffic Calming, Route Modification, Neighborhood Traffic Management, Corridor Traffic Management, Cut-Through Traffic, Livable Streets

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