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40% of San Francisco’s traffic deaths are from left turns. These desig

Drivers turning left are answerable for a disturbingly excessive proportion of pedestrian accidents and deaths within the metropolis of San Francisco. Fixing the issue may very well be a matter of design.

Greater than 300 folks are injured by left-turning drivers yearly in San Francisco. In 2019, 40% of traffic deaths occurred when drivers making left turns hit pedestrians – principally folks utilizing crosswalks who weren’t seen by drivers till it was too late. Now, town is dramatically rethinking its intersections to make these harmful left turns a factor of the previous.

[Photo: SFMTA]

The scope of the issue turned evident again in 2018, when the San Francisco Division of Public Well being analyzed 5 years’ value of left-turn crash information. The company then teamed up with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Company (SFMTA) to higher perceive why so many deaths have been taking place in left flip conditions. What they discovered was a mixture of design points and customary driver behaviors that unnecessarily put pedestrians in danger. To handle each of these issues, SFMTA launched the Safer Intersections Project to check out new approaches to intersection design, in addition to a $2 million grant-funded public training marketing campaign aimed toward decreasing unsafe driving. The trouble is an element of town’s Vision Zero plan, which goals to eradicate traffic-related deaths.

“Unsafe left turns are not distinctive to San Francisco,” says Uyen Ngo, undertaking supervisor and Imaginative and prescient Zero training and outreach coordinator on the SFMTA. “We imagine the design interventions and training marketing campaign work are relevant to different cities.”

[Photo: SFMTA]

On the design facet, the company discovered that half of the rationale left turns are so harmful is that drivers are usually going too quick and turning at too tight of an angle to correctly see whether or not a pedestrian could be crossing the road. This has lethal penalties, notably for older folks, who make up 31% of pedestrians killed in left flip conditions.

[Photo: SFMTA]

The intersection retrofits are aimed toward altering the way in which drivers navigate throughout left turns, and embrace the position of vertical posts partly inside intersections, six-foot rubber pace bumps that reach the centerline of journey lanes, and huge painted zones that present drives the place to not drive. These bodily components power drivers to decelerate and make extra of a right-angle flip via the intersection versus a quick swooping curve. By making it more durable to show shortly, drivers have extra time to see folks crossing the highway.

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[Photo: SFMTA]

The design interventions have been put in at seven intersections within the metropolis final fall. After a yr of monitoring, SFMTA has found that the altered intersections have had vital impacts on the pace and security of left turns. The interventions lowered the typical pace at which drivers make left turns by 17%, and introduced a 71% discount in drivers taking turns quicker than 15 miles per hour. Extra information shall be collected to see whether or not these interventions end in lowered collisions, accidents ,and deaths.

The interventions are targeted totally on intersections with traffic alerts. Although signaled intersections make up solely 13% of town’s intersections, they are the place two-thirds of all left flip collisions happen.

[Image: SFMTA]

For almost all of intersections within the metropolis that don’t have these design retrofits, the company is making an attempt to alter the way in which folks make left turns when driving. Working with behavioral researchers on the Behavioral Insights Team, SFMTA developed particular language to make use of as a way to nudge folks into altering their driving habits. Via a monthslong marketing campaign of digital, broadcast, and out of doors promoting in a number of languages, the company blanketed town with messaging emphasizing the truth that 40% of traffic deaths contain drivers making left turns. Via surveys, the company discovered that there’s a better consciousness amongst residents that rushing is a number one trigger of traffic collisions in San Francisco, and a lower within the quantity of individuals who imagine it’s acceptable to drive a couple of miles over the pace restrict.

San Francisco’s improved left turns are greater than an experiment. These sorts of road engineering modifications have been applied in different cities, together with Washington, D.C.; New York; and Portland, Oregon; and research in these cities have proven comparable reductions in pace throughout turns. SFMTA is now within the course of of figuring out the place else these interventions may be put in place throughout town. Its Imaginative and prescient Zero plan requires interventions to be put in in 35 further intersections.

“The advice is to prioritize these remedies at areas with present excessive left-turn speeds, conducive road geometry, and plenty of folks strolling and biking,”

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