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Traffic Safety

HN Online Guide

Policies and design guidelines that facilitate bike and foot travel can save lives and reduce injuries. More than 50 percent of all fatal vehicle crashes occur on wide, high-volume, high-speed arterials.13 Increasing crosswalk visibility, narrowing arterials, adding shade trees and landscaping, slowing traffic and adding other “traffic-calming” features makes walking safer — a key determinant in people’s activity levels.14

Transportation facilities and networks serve a variety of users, including:

  • Auto drivers
  • Transit riders
  • Residents who no longer drive or are too young to drive
  • People with disabilities that prevent them from driving
  • Residents who choose not to drive
  • Residents who cannot afford to own and operate a vehicle

More than one-third of U.S. residents are younger than age 16 or older than age 65. Many of these individuals may not be able to legally drive or face increasing challenges in their ability to operate a vehicle.15 From 1969 to 2001, the percentage of students walking and bicycling to school declined dramatically from 41 percent to 13 percent, while the percentage of children being driven or driving themselves to school nearly tripled, from 20 percent to 55 percent.16

By 2020, California is projected to lead the nation in the number of residents age 65 years and older.17 Providing transportation options to serve all modes of travel supports mobility for people throughout their lifespan, makes transportation less dangerous and contributes to positive health outcomes.

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