New guidelines seek to increase injury prevention around towns and cities

October 2, 2012

Topic: injury prevention

Cyclists need to be wary of streetcars and train tracks

A new report released by the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy and two other organizations discussed how to design or modify buildings and surrounding communities to encourage people to engage in physical activity while promoting injury prevention.

Currently, injury is the leading cause of death observed among Americans between the ages of 1 and 44. They can occur at home, work, school, while driving or playing. This is why it's important for architects to take the potential for injury into consideration when designing environments that allow people to be more physically active.

"Communities across the U.S. have begun to change their built environments to increase physical activity and reduce obesity," said Keshia Pollack, Ph.D., coauthor of the report. "Now, the designers and architects involved in these projects have an additional resource to help them further incorporate injury prevention into their work."

For instance, designers can think creatively of ways to accommodate people with disabilities, large families with strollers, bicyclists and runners when planning common areas, such as paths and trails. Also, bike lanes are another good example of a way that multiple groups of people can utilize the same space while decreasing the risk of injury because they keep bikes and cars somewhat separated. In addition, places like rooftop gardens and playgrounds can include structures that aim to prevent falls. 

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