Trees Make Streets Safer

New Urban News
Philip Langdon
Ithaca, NY (September 2006)- 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 empiracal 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 issues of the Journal of the American Planning Association.

Related Resources

New Urban News full article. (PDF)
Eric Dumbaugh, Assistant Professor of Transportation, Texas A&M
Safe Streets, Livable Streets (Journal of the American Planning Association)
Eric Dumbaugh, Assistant Professor of Transportation, Texas A&M
Design of Safe Urban Roadsides (Transportation Research Record)
Dan Burden, Senior Urban Designer, Glatting Jackson and Walkable Communities, Inc.
22 Benefits of Urban Street Trees. (PDF)
Kathleen Wolf, PhD, University of Washington
Highway Fatalities and Trees. Her work suggests that road design standards assume a higher level of risk than is accurate in urban contexts, resulting in fewer trees than could safely be incorporated along roadways.
Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute