Benefits of the “Road Diet”

Posted on November 28, 2012


By Seth Chalmers

One potential way to reduce accidents for pedestrians and vehicles is the “road diet.” A road or lane diet reduces the travel lanes on a highway or road, and increases space for sidewalks or bike lanes.

In a lane diet study conducted in Somerton, Arizona, the engineering team observed the effects of reducing a five-lane road to three lanes in the city’s downtown area. The three-lane road was comprised of two traveling lanes and a center turning lane. Decreasing the number of lanes lessened risks for pedestrians crossing the street in a busy area. Additionally, the center turning lane helped to reduce congestion and potential accidents by removing a stopped or slowed car from a travel lane.

In Somerton’s busy, historic downtown area, providing more room for pedestrians and parking allowed visitors and residents to better enjoy the city. With just two travel lanes, overall vehicle speed was reduced, promoting safety for both pedestrians and drivers.

About the Author

Seth Chalmers is President of Chalmers Engineering Services, Inc., in Tempe, Arizona. He has helmed a variety of projects to improve transit and safety in the state of Arizona, including the road diet study in Somerton, Arizona.

Posted in: Seth Chalmers