Street Design and Regulation

Better street design can dramatically improve safety for everyone. Vision Zero requires that New York City redesign its streets and intersections to improve safety — drawing upon worldwide best practices in roadway improvement and regulation strategies. The City needs more of these projects to protect families from every walk of life in neighborhoods across all five boroughs. These improvements are happening already – and they are working. At locations where the Department of Transportation (DOT) has made major engineering changes since 2005, fatalities have decreased by 34%, twice the rate of improvement at other locations. Many projects combine several tools or approaches, including changes to signals, street geometry and markings and regulations that govern actions like turning and parking. These projects simplify driving, walking and bicycling, increase predictability, improve visibility and reduce conflicts.

Where DOT has made changes, fatalities are down 34%.

DOT will meet Mayor de Blasio’s goal of carrying out safety improvements at 50 corridors and intersections per year. DOT is also working to expand its safety toolbox. DOT will apply new traffic signal strategies to reduce speeding and intersection conflicts, install new signals where they can allow speed control via coordinated arterial signal timing, add to street lighting at key intersections and improve the visibility of traffic signals. An accelerated speed bump program will allow DOT to respond to individual neighborhood or community requests, meet a recently passed law requiring 50 new speed bumps per year at school locations and implement eight neighborhood slow zones per year. In addition, DOT will also augment its efforts to maintain street markings – because clearer markings improve safety. Additionally, DOT will launch a global best practices study in an effort to bring new tools to bear in the City’s effort to become the safest big city in the world.

Jackson Avenue from 11th Street to the Pulaski Bridge, Long Island City, Queens


A combination of new high visibility crosswalks, reduced crossing distances, turn restrictions, leading pedestrian intervals, extended medians and clearer lane designations eliminated 63% of all injury crashes at one intersection.

Macombs Road from University Avenue to Jerome Avenue, the Bronx


On Macombs Road, redesign led to 41% fewer crashes with injuries.

First and Second Avenues, Manhattan


Elements of Safety Improvements

  • Designate lanes: clarify who belongs where on the street through better markings
  • Clear merges and transitions: improve alignments and clearly mark merges to simplify driving
  • Add crosswalks: clarify where pedestrians are crossing through markings
  • Open up intersections to improve visibility: remove visual barriers such as parking that can cause traffic crashes and injuries near intersections
  • Widen the parking lane: keep cars and trucks loading and unloading out of the travel lanes when double parked
  • Add bike paths and lanes: clearly designate the bicycle right-of-way
  • Create new left turn lanes: relieve pressure on drivers to turn too quickly or too soon by creating dedicated space for turning
  • Left turn phases: separate turning traffic from oncoming traffic and pedestrians
  • Eliminate unsafe turn movements: shift left and right turns to other intersections with better conditions for visibility and traffic
  • Leading pedestrian intervals: give pedestrians a head start at the light
  • Leading bus interval: give buses a head start at the light
  • Install speed bumps: on residential streets, speed bumps remind traffic to travel at low speed
  • Time traffic signals for “green waves”: keep drivers traveling together at a consistent speed of travel
  • Reduce night-time speeding with signal timing: cut down on opportunities for speeding outside of rush hour
  • Add signals and controls: eliminate confusion for all users
  • Increase street lighting level: improve visibility at night in highcrash areas
  • Pedestrian safety islands: shorten crossing distance and add visual cues for drivers
  • Extend curbs to bring pedestrians into the line of sight for drivers: shorten crossing distances and extend curbs at intersections for better visibility
  • Lower speed limits: lower speed limits to send the message that drivers are entering school zones or other areas with heavy pedestrian traffic
  • Accessibility improvements: accessible pedestrian signals and curb cuts