What does a Road Diet look like?

A collaboration between city planner, urban designer, and author Jeff Speck (jeffspeck.com), and 3D artist Spencer Boomhower (cupolamedia.com), recently produced the above video, which does a fantastic job of demonstrating some of the most common and most effective road-diet redesigns. Source: https://vimeo.com/136672997. A classic Road Diet typically involves converting an existing four-lane, undivided roadway segment to a three-lane segment consisting of two through lanes and a center, two-way left-turn lane. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the resulting benefits include a crash reduction of 19 to 47 percent, reduced vehicle speed differential, improved mobility and access by all road users, and integration of the roadway into surrounding uses that results in an enhanced quality of life. A key feature of a Road Diet is that it allows reclaimed space to be allocated for other uses, such as turn lanes, bus lanes, pedestrian refuge islands, bike lanes, sidewalks, bus shelters, parking or landscaping. Why consider a Road Diet? Four-lane undivided highways experience relatively high crash frequencies — especially as traffic volumes and turning movements increase over time — resulting in conflicts between high-speed through traffic, left-turning vehicles and other road users. Reducing the number of travel lanes reduces the number of conflict points creating a safer road for all users, allows the same amount of vehicle traffic and can allow a road to provide additional transportation modes by adding bicycle lanes and provides buffering to protect pedestrians. (Images from FHWA’s Road Diet Informational Guide.) As more communities desire “complete streets” and more livable spaces, they look to agencies to find opportunities to better integrate pedestrian and bicycle facilities and transit options along their corridors. When a Road Diet is planned in conjunction with reconstruction or simple overlay projects, the safety and operational benefits are achieved essentially for the cost of restriping. A Road Diet is a low-cost solution that addresses safety concerns and benefits all road users — a win-win for quality of life. Learn more about Road Diets by checking out the FHWA’s Road Diet Informational Guide.