Recently, we’ve discussed the importance of complete streets and how safe transportation options can improve population health. As it turns out, promoting active transportation also makes great financial sense for our communities as well.
As this helpful infographic shows, those who commuted primarily by car were much less likely to stop along the way for goods and services than are those who walk or take public transportation. This benefits local businesses near transit shops because increased foot traffic generally results in increased sales. Further, those who commuted by foot or bike spent far less on transportation than those who drove.
After analyzing the results, the researchers settled on this takeaway:
“Given the promising movement toward active transportation and use of transit, implications for policy and practice include giving strong consideration, support, and funding to programs that feature mode shift and safety, rather than automobile-dominant commute and travel patterns.”
We talked about the importance of complete streets, which promote safety of all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and public transit riders. This week, researchers from the University of Michigan and Brigham Young University released some interesting findings that could provide a simple way to improve pedestrian safety.
The study, published in the latest Journal of Consumer Research, finds that if a road sign depicts figures in a more active state, then motorists react significantly faster. Here’s a good overview from the study’s author:
“A sign that evokes more perceived movement increases the observer’s perception of risk, which in turn brings about earlier attention and earlier stopping,” said study co-author Ryan Elder a professor in BYU’s Marriott School of Management. “If you want to grab attention, you need signs that are more dynamic. … If the figures look like they’re walking, then your brain doesn’t worry about them shooting out into the road. But if they’re running, then you can imagine them being in front of your car in a hurry.”
The study found that a driver of a car going 60 miles per hour could react 50 milliseconds faster to more dynamic warning signs. This would result in stopping 4.4 feet shorter.