That Art On Your Street Makes It Safer

Researchers found that using art to redesign streets cut by half the rate of traffic crashes involving pedestrians and cyclists.

The sankofa mural being painted in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Matt Eich. Courtesy of Bloomberg Philanthropies)

This art is saving lives — and not figuratively, according to one study.

Researchers tracked the effect of street murals painted onto intersections across the country and found they were markedly safer. In this episode of the podcast, Next City Executive Director Lucas Grindley talks with David Andersson from Bloomberg Philanthropies about the “Asphalt Art Initiative” and research released earlier this year that found the project cut in half the rate of car crashes involving pedestrians and cyclists. Anderson says the stat “really proved what we were hoping to do.” Now the program is expanding.

We also meet public artist George Bates who worked on one of these projects in Trenton, Jersey, and Max Hepp-Buchanan, the director of riverfront and downtown placemaking at Venture Richmond. He helped convene a Richmond, Viriginia, neighborhood to create a mural of a sankofa symbol, plus other interventions.

“Place making is really about the process and less so about the product,” said Hepp-Buchanan. “And if you have a good process that's inclusive you're probably going to end up with a good product.”

Listen to this episode below or subscribe to Next City’s podcast on Apple, Spotify or Goodpods.

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