Cities safer by design


The World Resources Institute has published the design guide, Cities Safer by Design.

In summary,

Many of the world’s cities can become safer, healthier places by changing the design of their streets and communities. Where public streets have been designed to serve primarily or even exclusively private motor vehicle traffic, they can be made immensely safer for all users if they are designed to effectively serve pedestrians, public transport users, bicyclists, and other public activity.

Over 1.2 million people,mostly pedestrians, die in traffic crashes globally


Cities Safer by Design focuses on improving infrastructure for pedestrians, bicycling, and mass transport in two main ways.

  1. building and retrofitting urban environments to reduce the need for individual vehicle trips
  2. reducing vehicle speeds in areas where cars, pedestrians and cyclists mix. 

Cities Safer by Design highlights the following design quality indicators to improve traffic safety:

  • 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.

Cities Safer by Design digital copy