Trees Make Streets Safer, Not Deadlier

A transportation researcher at Texas A&M has set about to prune the view against fixed hazardous objects -- a.k.a. street trees.

"Proposals for planting rows of trees along the roads - a traditional technique for shaping pleasing public spaces - are often opposed by transportation engineers, who contend that a wide travel corridor, free of obstacles, is needed to protect the lives of errant motorists.

Increasingly, however, the engineers' beliefs about safety are being subjected to empirical study and are being found incorrect. Eric Dumbaugh, an assistant professor of transportation at Texas A&M, threw down the gauntlet with a long, carefully argued article, "Safe Streets, Livable Streets," in the Summer 2005 issue of the Journal of the American Planning Association. A follow-up article by Dumbaugh, in the 2006 edition of Transportation Research Record, will present further evidence that safe urban roadsides are not what the traffic-engineering establishment thinks they are."

Thanks to Renee Brutvan

Full Story: Research: trees make streets safer, not deadlier



Let's see where this leads.

I'm not sure the studies discussed are as definitive as, say, Dr. Zegeer's crosswalk study, but they are compelling enough for this traffic engineer to say maybe there is something to it. Is anyone aware of any conflicting studies on the effects of trees and roadside hardware on urban streets and highways?

In any event, it's always good to look at your assumptions once in a while.

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