‘Daylight’ Intersections to Improve Safety – Strong Towns
By Ben Abramson
Daylighting is the technical term for a common-sense solution to traffic safety: By removing visual obstructions in approaching intersections, users can better see and more safely cross each other’s paths. The city of Hoboken, New Jersey, which has famously eliminated pedestrian deaths in recent years, has credited daylighting as one of its primary tactics. Other cities executing daylighting projects include San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, while New York City voted this year to adopt a daylighting program in the face of persistent traffic violence.
The National Association of City Transportation Officials, which offers a guide for how and why to pursue daylighting projects, explains, “Intersection design should facilitate eye contact between street users, ensuring that motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit vehicles intuitively read intersections as shared spaces.”
Daylighting can be done cheaply and creatively with simple materials such as bollards, planters, and bike racks. This checklist from the City of Orlando lists more than 25 materials that can contribute to daylighting projects. Here are some examples of this practice done well across North America.