Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Trees for Traffic Control!

Some recent studies indicate that trees may be an effective -- and cheap -- means of traffic control according to a new article in Next American City.
Most of us like trees. These incredible organisms clean our air and water, provide valuable habitat for wildlife, increase our property values, and make us feel happier through their beauty. They also seem to make urban roads safer. Most of us don’t think of trees as infrastructure, but in an urban context they are just that. Research indicates that they can play a powerful role in traffic calming, especially through their impact on three vehicle-related risks: speeding, road rage, and pedestrian/bicyclist injury.
The article explains the evidence and how trees work to control traffic.

. . . A few well positioned trees with "traffic-calming" roadway design may be a more cost effective and less socially disruptive solution to avoid pedestrian-vehicle accidents than the blocked streets, ramps, and overhead bridges proposed by NYSDOT for the Arterial.  Less can be more... at least that is what the latest research seems to suggest.

10/5/11 Update:
One of my astute readers provided me with this bit of research on this topic I thought I'd share:

Perceptual Countermeasures: Experimental Research, Godley, Fildes,
Triggs and Brown, 1999, Monash University Accident Research Center,
Melbourne, Victoria (Australia)

Thanks, Dave.

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