Safe-D: Safety through Disruption

02-027 Final Research Report: Street Noise Relationship to Bicycling Road User Safety

02-027 Final Research Report: Street Noise Relationship to Bicycling Road User Safety
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Abstract

Vulnerable road users, such as bicyclists, experience road noise directly. This study explored the relationship between bicycle crash risk and street-level road noise as measured in Austin, Texas and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, in addition to other factors. Construction and validation of a method to measure noise directly using consumer-accessible tools supports additional studies as well as potential public crowdsourcing applications for urban planning. Results from the two case sites were mixed. Street noise, as measured on our chosen routes, was not a consistent predictor of bicycle crash risk. However, our model explained over 87% of the variation in crash risk in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area route, considering infrastructure, nearby bicycle commute mode share, and street noise. Findings from the two routes using our modeling approaches are not exhaustive, but rather an initial exploration of these relationships to support further work on the role of street noise in planning for safety.