By Whitney Miller
The Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC) published this month a paper titled Costs and Benefits of a Road Diet Conversion, in the Journal of Case Studies on Transport Policy. Led by Robert Noland, the director of VTC, as well as BPRC’s Charles Brown, the report examines the costs and benefits of a road diet on Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, an arterial road that runs through the center of the city. The article proposes reducing the width of the road from two lanes in each direction to one lane in each direction, with a middle turning lane. The costs could include increases in travel time from the capacity reduction, which was determined through a micro-simulation modeling of the street. However, the authors argue that the safety benefits outweigh these costs. Evidence suggests that a road diet conversions of urban arterial roads can reduce crashes by 19%. The determination of the benefits outweighing the costs was made by evaluating the value of statistical lives saved versus the cost of travel time. This included various different scenarios and includes robustness checks. The results found that over a 20 year period, the benefits exceed the costs.
Click here to read the full journal article.