PRESS RELEASE: Better Urban Design Can Reduce Traffic Fatalities for Drivers and Pedestrians in Thailand
- More than 1.2 million people are killed in traffic crashes worldwide, with almost half occurring in cities
- In 2015, more than 640 people were killed or seriously injured on roads in Bangkok
- Traffic fatalities are expected to become the fifth leading cause of death by 2030
- By introducing proven design elements into city streets, many traffic fatalities can be prevented
BANGKOK (JULY 26, 2016)—Available for the first time in Thai, a report launching today in Bangkok offers practical guidance on how to design safer streets that reduce traffic fatalities and improve people’s lives. World Resources Institute’s Ross Center for Sustainable Cities guide, Cities Safer by Design, includes more than 30 specific urban design recommendations for urban planners and policymakers with examples from around the world.
The Thai version of the report was launched today at the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) at a Bloomberg Philanthropies event to address critical road safety issues. Bloomberg Philanthropies is a longstanding supporter of WRI’s work on sustainable cities, and the report has been published in Thai as part of their Initiative for Global Road Safety.
Globally, 1.24 million people are killed in traffic crashes, making traffic fatalities the eighth leading cause of death, especially in developing countries. Children, elderly and poor people are particularly vulnerable. In Bangkok alone, more than 640 people were killed or seriously injured on roads in 2015, of which 80 percent were vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.
Cities Safer by Design emphasizes two ways to improve traffic safety in cities. First, by building and retrofitting urban environments to reduce the need for individual vehicle trips; and second, by reducing vehicle speeds in areas where cars, pedestrians and cyclists mix. The report focuses on improving infrastructure for pedestrians, bicycling and mass transport.
The report includes examples from specific cities. Tokyo, a dense, but transit-oriented city, has a traffic fatality rate of 1.3 per 100,000 residents compared to Atlanta, Georgia, which has 9.7 per 100,000 residents. Many cities in low- and middle-income countries have higher accident rates, or lack adequate data reporting. In addition, the report provides on-the-ground examples from Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Istanbul, New York, Paris and more.
The report includes illustrated recommendations for specific design elements proven to improve traffic safety, including:
- Urban design that includes smaller block sizes, frequent street connections, narrower streets, and access to destinations in compact urban environments that alleviate the need for vehicle travel;
- Traffic calming measures such as speed humps, chicanes, curb extensions, raised pedestrian crossings and other elements;
- Arterials and intersections that reduce conflicts between road users by providing clear crossings, medians and refuge islands;
- Pedestrian facilities ranging from pedestrian-only areas to basic, consistent sidewalks;
- Bicycling networks that feature protected bicycle lanes and special attention to design at intersections; and
- Safety improvements around mass transport stations and corridors.
Claudia Adriazola-Steil, Director, Health and Road Safety, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities
“Bangkok, a vibrant, historic, beautiful city is on the right path to address traffic fatalities and serious injuries. Cities Safer by Design in Thai is a tool that aims to support the efforts from Bangkok and other cities in Thailand to protect lives, while becoming poles of economic growth and providing joy to people.”
Ben Welle, Senior Associate, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities
“With the right urban design, we can make cities more livable with safer streets for everyone. It’s often children, the elderly and the poor who are most at risk for being the victims of traffic crashes. As cities around the world rapidly expand, there’s an urgent need to design communities that are compact and connected, with calm traffic and streets that promote walking, cycling and access to transit.”
Apiwat Ratanawaraha, Assistant Professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Chulalongkorn University
"Bangkok is currently investing heavily in new mass transit systems, and transit-oriented development is rapidly taking shape throughout the city. It is now even more imperative that we plan, design and build our city to ensure accessibility and safety for pedestrians and bicyclists. Cities Safer by Design will be a critical reference for our efforts towards such goals.”