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Oakwood 'Road Diet' Reduces Accidents By Nearly 70 Percent

Renderings of Oakwood's Shroyer Road construction plans.
City of Oakwood
Renderings of Oakwood's Shroyer Road construction plans.

In 2016, Oakwood decided to put part of the city on a diet, but nobody had to give up any doughnuts. This was what transportation planners refer to as a road diet. By reducing the number of lanes on Shroyer Road, the city hoped to lower the number of traffic accidents. With new data from the Ohio Department of Transportation, city officials are now saying the plan worked. 

The mile-long stretch of roadway in Oakwood includes 16 intersections and, up until 2017, there were two lanes going in each direction. That meant turns could be difficult, and cars could also speed around slower drivers.

“It was essentially a four lane highway,” said Chief Alan Hill, Oakwood’s Public Safety Director. “It was literally a racetrack.” 

After a vehicle struck a child on the road in 2015, the city decided to implement a road diet, a technique that can make a roadway safer and add more room for pedestrians and cyclists. Oakwood reduced the number of lanes on Shroyer Road to only one in each direction, and added medians, two bike lanes, and a designated left turn lane. 

Data from the state’s crash database, comparing the three years prior to the project (2014-2016) to the three years post-construction (2017-2019), show a 66 percent reduction in crashes on the same segment of Shroyer Road. Vehicle speeds, which were measured before and after the project, decreased by 6 to 11 miles per hour. There have been no accidents involving pedestrians from 2017-2019. 

“The number of injury crashes was reduced by 87 percent in relation to what they were statistically before. That's a huge, significant public safety concern and improvement when you're able to have that significant change in your traffic data,” Hill said. “The road diet has produced exactly what it was designed to do, which is a safer roadway for the residents and anybody traveling through our community.”