College Campus Traffic Safety Study Published

January 21, 2015

College campuses are multimodal settings with very high levels of walking and biking in conjunction with high levels of vehicular traffic, which increases risks for bicyclists and pedestrians. In a UC Transportation Center(link is external)-funded study entitled "Crashes on and Near College Campuses: A Comparative Analysis of Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety(link is external)," recently published by the Journal of the American Planning Association (Volume 80, Issue 3, pages 198-217), researchers examine crash data (both police reported and self-reported) and urban form data from three U.S. campuses to understand the spatial and temporal distribution of crashes on the campuses and their immediate periphery.

The researchers studied the crash locations to determine their characteristics, generate a typology of campus danger zones, and recommend design and policy changes that could improve pedestrian and cycling safety. They identified three particular types of danger zones for pedestrians and cyclists: campus activity hubs, campus access hubs, and through traffic hubs. Injuries tended to be more serious for those crashes taking place on campus peripheries.

The intermingling of motorized and non-motorized modes creates significant opportunities for crashes. The researchers suggest that planners should be aware of the existing underreporting and give special attention to the three types of danger zones. In addition to creating campus master plans for walking and biking, campuses should conduct safety audits and surveys to identify hotspots and consider specific design improvements for each of the three danger zones to lessen modal conflict.

Researchers from three California campuses collaborated on the study:  Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris (UCLA), Aditya Medury (UC Berkeley SafeTREC), Camille Fink (UCLA), Offer Grembek (UC Berkeley SafeTREC), Kevan Shafizadeh (California State University, Sacramento), Norman Wong (UCLA), and Phyllis Orrick (UC Berkeley SafeTREC).