Research & reports

Title: Safety effects of the London cycle superhighways on cycle collisions

Organisation: Imperial College London (Centre for Transport Studies)
Date uploaded: 8th March 2017
Date published/launched: November 2016

This paper evaluates the effects of the London Cycle Superhighways on cycle collisions. A total of 45 Cycle Superhighways segments and 375 control segments were observed for a period of eight years in London. Variables such as road characteristics, crash history and socio-economic in formation were included in the data set. Traffic characteristics including traffic volume, cycle volume and traffic speed were obtained from Department for Transport.

The researchers first estimated the safety effects on the Cycle Superhighways routes using Empirical Bayes methods. Then propensity score matching methods were also applied for comparison.

The introduction of Cycle Superhighways caused cycling traffic volumes to increase dramatically along the routes with no significant impacts on collision rates. The models found that the increase in traffic was associated with a rise in annual total cycle collisions of around 2.6 per km (38% in percentage). However, when the effects were re-estimated based on cycle collision rates rather than levels, the results also show that the Cycle Superhighways routes are not more dangerous or safer than the control roads.

Among the four Cycle Superhighways routes, Cycle Superhighway 3 performed best in protecting cyclists, with a large proportion of segregated lanes while the cyclists have to share the lanes with motorists on other routes. The paper recommended that consistent safety designs should be applied on all Cycle Superhighways routes for a safer cycling environment.

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