U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration


eSubscribe Envelope

FHWA Home / Safety / Road Diets (Roadway Reconfiguration)

Road Diets (Roadway Reconfiguration)

Upcoming Webinar – Did You Know a Road Can Go on a Diet?

As one of the initiatives included in the Every Day Counts (EDC) program, a Road Diet is a low-cost measure that improves safety, calms traffic, and takes into account the needs of all roadway users. FHWA is currently focusing on increasing awareness of Road Diets and their benefits through training, technical assistance, and outreach.
Please join us on Thursday, July 28, 2016, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET, to learn more about determining candidate roads for Road Diets, feasibility/evaluation criteria, design aspects, and other unique considerations.

Webinar Details:

  • Date/Time:  Thursday, July 28, 2016, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET
  • Agenda:
    • Overview of Road Diets, including the general factors to consider for feasibility and potential evaluations that can be completed.
    • Presentations from two transportation agencies experienced in Road Diet evaluations and implementations, including a number of case study examples.
    • Question and answer session.
  • Speakers:
    • Keith Knapp, Iowa Local Technical Assistance Program, Iowa State University
    • Ann Chanecka & Diahn Swartz, City of Tucson, Arizona, Department of Transportation
    • Humberto Castillero, Florida Department of Transportation

Register soon, as space is limited. Registration is required to participate. To register, please visit: https://collaboration.fhwa.dot.gov/dot/fhwa/WC/Lists/Seminars/DispForm.aspx?ID=997


FHWA is offering State DOT’s FREE Road Diet related Technical Assistance. This assistance includes any activities that advance Road Diets within your state. As examples, technical assistance requests may include:

  • Reviewing State's Draft Road Diet policy or guidance documents;
  • Development of a Road Diet presentation aimed at either leadership or the general public;
  • Animations demonstrating how Road Diets improve safety;
  • Providing design guidance about unusual Road Diet configurations;
  • Providing examples of other Road Diets around the country that are similar to the requestor's Road Diet; and
  • Providing guidance about Road Diet implementation including selecting candidate locations, capacity constraints, public outreach response, evaluation metrics, EMS, slow moving vehicles, cost, or funding.

Lastly, FHWA is also offering FREE Road Diet workshops. Find out more about them here.

Road Diet on Edgewater Drive, Orlando, Florida, before and after reconfiguration
Road Diet on Edgewater Dr., Orlando, FL

A roadway reconfiguration known as a Road Diet offers several high-value improvements at a low cost when applied to traditional four-lane undivided highways. In addition to low cost, the primary benefits of a Road Diet include enhanced safety, mobility and access for all road users and a "complete streets" environment to accommodate a variety of transportation modes.

A classic Road Diet typically involves converting an existing four-lane, undivided roadway segment to a three-lane segment consisting of two through lanes and a center, two-way left-turn lane.

The resulting benefits include a crash reduction of 19 to 47 percent, reduced vehicle speed differential, improved mobility and access by all road users, and integration of the roadway into surrounding uses that results in an enhanced quality of life. A key feature of a Road Diet is that it allows reclaimed space to be allocated for other uses, such as turn lanes, bus lanes, pedestrian refuge islands, bike lanes, sidewalks, bus shelters, parking or landscaping.

Why consider a Road Diet? Four-lane undivided highways experience relatively high crash frequencies — especially as traffic volumes and turning movements increase over time — resulting in conflicts between high-speed through traffic, left-turning vehicles and other road users. FHWA has deemed Road Diets a proven safety countermeasure and promotes them as a safety-focused design alternative to a traditional four-lane, undivided roadway. Road Diet-related crash modification factors are also available for use in safety countermeasure benefit-cost analysis.

As more communities desire "complete streets" and more livable spaces, they look to agencies to find opportunities to better integrate pedestrian and bicycle facilities and transit options along their corridors. When a Road Diet is planned in conjunction with reconstruction or simple overlay projects, the safety and operational benefits are achieved essentially for the cost of restriping. A Road Diet is a low-cost solution that addresses safety concerns and benefits all road users — a win-win for quality of life.

Road Diets stand the test of time, having been implemented by transportation agencies for more than three decades. One of the first installations of a Road Diet was in 1979 in Billings, Montana. Road Diets increased in popularity in the 1990s. Cities, including Charlotte, Chicago, New York, Palo Alto, San Francisco and Seattle, have also opted for the positive impact Road Diets bring to their communities.

FHWA developed a Road Diet Informational Guide to help communities understand the safety and operational benefits and determine if Road Diets may be helpful in their location.

Page last modified on July 25, 2016
Safe Roads for a Safer Future - Investment in roadway safety saves lives
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000