High-density Area, Urban Renovation and Road Safety

High-density Area, Urban Renovation and Road Safety


M Millot, CETE Méditerranée, France


A programme of urban renovation was launched in high-density areas. It was the opportunity to determinate characteristics of road safety in this type of residential areas and the way to include road safety in urban design and road layout.


A programme of urban renovation has been launched in France for several years. It deals with high-density areas, which are located in suburbs, often enclosed between highways or wide arterial streets. Population of these residential areas is often touched by poverty and unemployment. A report concludes that it was necessary to better know road safety problems in this type of areas: what is the influence of the characteristics of population? Of their behaviour? Of their mobility? What kind of link there is between public space layout (road network, urban shape...) and road safety ?

If the first aim of the programme of urban renovation is to improve conditions of living, the tools often deal with urban planning, housing type, road layout or road management. Previous research has shown that these properties have an influence on road safety (Millot, 2004). The renovation of these areas therefore is the opportunity to deal with road safety.

This study is based on the analysis of four high-density areas in several French towns (Grenoble, Metz, Nantes and Toulouse). These areas were included in the programme of urban renovation. The projects of urban renovation were drawn but were not yet applied. It enables to take into account road safety problems in the projects.

The study consists in (i) analysing road safety problems in these four areas (ii) identifying characteristics of the areas which have an influence on road safety and (iii) integrating these problems in the urban renovation projects.

The analysis of road safety problems is based on the method developped by the Centre for the Study of Urban Planning, Transport and Public Facilities (CERTU) and the French National Institute for Transport and Safety Research (INRETS). This method uses the accident scenarios (Fleury and Brenac, 2001).

This study confirms the influence of road layout and urban design on road safety. But the way of life and the kind of mobility have also to be taken into account. For example, in these areas, walking is an important mean of transport. Poverty, a low rate of motorisation and the youth of the population may explain this kind of mobility. This mobility linked to a road layout based on motor vehicles traffic includes a great involving of pedestrians in road accidents. The location of these areas enclosed between highways is not favourable to the safety of the walking.
Urban renovation projects have to integrate road safety in order to cure existing problems but also to prevent new road safety problems. For example, when a new road is created, some questions may enable urban planners to integrate road safety. For example, they have to take care of the link between the new road and existing road network.


FLEURY D., BRENAC T. (2001) Accident prototypical scenarios, a tool for road safety research and diagnostic studies. Accident Analysis and Prevention, vol. 33, n°2, p. 267-276.
MILLOT M. (2004) The influence of urban planning on road safety. European Transport Conference, 4-6 October 2004


Association for European Transport