The Influence of a Bypass Road on Urban Development and Safety

The Influence of a Bypass Road on Urban Development and Safety


Wafa Elias, Shalom Hakkert, Penina Plaut, Yoram Shiftan, Technion, IL


This paper analyses the safety and accident impacts, as well as the economic effects, of the construction of a bypass road using a case study in Israel


One of the principal reasons for the construction of bypass roads in towns is the removal of through-traffic from the center of a town or city to the periphery, for purposes of improving the flow of traffic, shortening travel times, and reducing road accidents. Bypass roads, however, have also environmental and economic consequences. On the one hand, they reduce noise and pollution emissions along the previous route. On the other hand, such projects are often accompanied by tremendous fears on the part of local proprietors and businesses regarding the scope of their business revenues, the value of their properties, and the impact of the road on land uses.

This paper analyses the safety and accident impacts, as well as the economic effects, of the construction of a bypass road using a case study in Israel, the opening of Regional Road 85, and the analysis of data regarding its effects over the time frame 1945-2003. The town selected for focus is called Majd Al-Krum, a predominantly Arab town located in northern Israel. This town was selected for several reasons. First, the principal reason for constructing the bypass road was to remove the traffic from passing through the town in order to cut down the number of road accidents and improve safety. Second, during the period in question, Regional Road 85, the main artery in that area, which passes through the municipal boundaries of that town, was rerouted twice, in the years 1952 and 1996, with its position changed each time. These circumstances, along with the long time frame (about 60 years), make it a unique subject for analysis in a before/after framework. The specific variables to be analyzed in this paper are the incidence and severity of traffic accidents, changes in property values over time, and changes in land use including the spatial distribution of residential housing and business activities of various types. We employed two methods: first, a descriptive longitudinal analysis approach, second, we adopted the event study method taken from financial analysis to examine the changes in the real-estate value along the land in the vicinity of the bypass.

The findings of the analysis are that the two alterations in the routing of the road significantly affected the town in all areas examined: the number and severity of accidents, their spatial distribution within the town boundaries, land prices in different neighborhoods within the town, spatial distribution of residential housing and business activities, and land uses (including agriculture). Different sub-areas within the town were affected by the bypass road differently and in some cases in contradictory directions (e.g. road accidents and land prices). This implies that the equity/distributional effects of the bypass road need to be taken into consideration, in addition to efficiency considerations. It appears that the distributional effects are related to a number of factors, including the specific location of the road in relationship to the town space, its distance from the town center, local zoning plans and rules, planning policy, the socio-economic condition of the local residents, the traffic volumes and the local population growth rate. A notable finding is the positive effect upon the town from the two bypass construction projects on the development of local businesses and on the commercial activities alongside the previous traffic artery. However, traffic accidents within the town increased following the construction of the roads, possibly due to the increase in the standard of living and economic development.

This paper has five sections. The first section reviews the literature on the impact of
bypass roads on safety and accidents and on economic development. The second
section presents the research methodology used in this study. The third section analyses the safety and accident impacts of the two bypass roads. The fourth section analyses the economic development consequences. The fifth and final section includes comparison of the results for the two bypass road constructions and presents the conclusions from this research.


Association for European Transport