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Database Provider

Author

Vox

Grades

6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subject

Engineering

Regional Focus

North America, United States

Format

YouTube Video

Road Diets: Designing a Safer Street

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Synopsis
  • This video explains the benefits of road diets, which convert four lane roads into two lane roads with a middle lane for lefthand turns. These two lane roads reduce car accidents, cause drivers to drive at slower speeds, and provide space for bike lanes and sidewalks. 
  • Students will learn that road diets are most effective at reducing crashes in places where the traffic volume is less than 15,000 vehicles per day. 
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • This thought-provoking video will help students to think differently about road design in the United States.
  • The video description contains links to a variety of reports on the value of road diets.

Additional Prerequisites

  • The video begins with an advertisement.
  • The video does not mention the potential environmental benefits of road diets. Road diets reduce emissions from the transportation sector by shifting travelers to other modes of transportation, including walking, biking, and public transit.

Differentiation

  • Science classes could come up with a list of the environmental benefits of road diets (e.g., potential for more green space, some people may choose to bike or walk instead of drive, etc.).
  • Math and statistics classes could look at the graph at 2:28 and discuss how the 6 mph reduction in speed impacts the likelihood of death in a car accident.
  • Other resources on this topic include this Not Just Bikes video that shows the problems with street-road hybrids, this Vox video on how highways make traffic worse, and this Grist video on what makes cities walkable.
Scientist Notes
Road diet is an important strategy for reducing road accidents in most urban and suburban locations. This resource is insightful and recommended for teaching.
Standards

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • MS-ETS1-1 Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
      • MS-ETS1-3 Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
      • HS-ETS1-3 Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
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