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Economic impact on local businesses of road safety improvements in Seattle: implications for Vision Zero projects
  1. Daniel R Osterhage1,2,
  2. Jessica Acolin1,
  3. Paul A Fishman1,
  4. Andrew L Dannenberg2,3
  1. 1 Department of Health Systems and Population Health, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
  2. 2 Department of Urban Design and Planning, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
  3. 3 Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Andrew L Dannenberg, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA; adannenberg2{at}gmail.com

Abstract

Background Local transportation agencies implementing Vision Zero road safety improvement projects often face opposition from business owners concerned about the potential negative impact on their sales. Few studies have documented the economic impact of these projects.

Methods We examined baseline and up to 3 years of postimprovement taxable sales data for retail, food and service-based businesses adjacent to seven road safety projects begun between 2006 and 2014 in Seattle. We used hierarchical linear models to test whether the change in annual taxable sales differed between the 7 intervention sites and 18 nearby matched comparison sites that had no road safety improvements within the study time frame.

Results Average annual taxable sales at baseline were comparable at the 7 intervention sites (US$44.7 million) and the 18 comparison sites (US$56.8 million). Regression analysis suggests that each additional year following baseline was associated with US$1.20 million more in taxable sales among intervention sites and US$1.14 million more among comparison sites. This difference is not statistically significant (p=0.64). Sensitivity analyses including a random slope, using a generalised linear model and an analysis of variance did not change conclusions.

Discussion Results suggest that road safety improvement projects such as those in Vision Zero plans are not associated with adverse economic impacts on adjacent businesses. The absence of negative economic impacts associated with pedestrian and bicycle road safety projects should reassure local business owners and may encourage them to work with transportation agencies to implement Vision Zero road safety projects designed to eliminate traffic-related injuries.

  • Interventions
  • Pedestrian
  • Economic Analysis
  • Motor vehicle - Non traffic
  • Bicycle

Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request.

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Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request.

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Footnotes

  • Contributors DRO conceived the study, collected and analysed the data, and wrote the 81 page master’s thesis report from which this manuscript is adapted. JA conducted the statistical analyses, assisted in interpreting the results and wrote the statistical methods and results sections of the manuscript. PAF provided guidance on the conduct of the study as a member of the thesis committee and contributed to writing the manuscript. ALD provided guidance on the conduct of the study as a member of the thesis committee, took primary responsibility for adapting the thesis report into this manuscript, and serves as guarantor for the overall content of the study. All authors reviewed and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.