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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Effects of Transportation Corridors' Roadside Design Features on User Behavior and Safety, and Their Contributions to Health, Environmental Quality, and Community Economic Vitality: a Literature Review


This literature review is the culmination of the first phase of a research study directed at reviewing, analyzing, and quantifying the impacts of transportation corridors’ design features on user behavior, safety, community and economic vitality, environmental quality, and public health. The research project aims to provide transportation agencies with information to facilitate more defensible measurement of the effects of corridor design features on the quality of life of the communities and rural environments through which they run. The research is directed at transportation corridors under the jurisdiction of state highway departments, and is concerned with controlled-access freeways, expressways, arterials, and “main street” highways. The focus is primarily on corridor roadsides, rather than vehicle roadbeds, because these are the interface zones between roadways and communities or the rural landscape. (See Table 4: Caltrans Terminology for definitions of “roadside” and “roadbed.”) Because of their potential contributions to quality of life issues, attention has also been paid to non-roadside design elements that contribute to traffic calming, walkability, and bikability, such as travel lane widths, crosswalks, and bicycle lanes. Funding and time constraints necessarily limit the scope of the research project such that transit-related roadside design elements, such as bus shelters, are not considered.

This literature review assesses the recent published research that has been identified as most relevant for this research project. The ultimate goal of the research project is to develop quantifiable performance measures derived from this review of the research, and then to test the performance measures via case study analysis of selected transportation corridors.

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