EU Megacities – Growth and Road Safety

Last week, we looked at US megacities and their growth and road safety research. This week, we’ll review two European megacities, London and Paris.


Rapid Growth in Megacities

Although Germany is the largest European country, it doesn’t have any megacities. A megacity is classified as a city with a population over 10 million people.  While the United Kingdom and France are the second and third largest countries by population, both countries have metropolitan areas which are considered megacities.

Growth in megacities has been on the rise, as they are the centers of economic development. In 1950, there were 83 cities around the globe with a population over one million. That number grew to 468 by 2007 and marked the first time that more people lived in cities than in rural areas.

Based on these growth trends, the population is expected to double every 45 years. According to the United Nations, the urban population of about 3.2 billion will increase to five billion by 2030 and three out of five people will live in a city.


London and Paris – EU Megacities

As of 2011, London had a population of 8.17 million; however the London “larger urban zone” (LUZ) has a population of 12.3 million. Paris has a population of 2.23 million, but the Paris LUZ has an estimated population of 11.5 million.

Research was conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and compiled into a report entitled, Road Safety in Two European Megacities: London and Paris. This report focuses on the crash patterns of both cities in comparison to the rest of the country.


EU Megacities Report for Road Safety

The report, released in December 2012, measured various demographics as well as crash statistics including:

  • For the full report, including the data and charts, you can view the report in its entirety.Crash type: fatal vs. non-fatal crashes, person type (driver, passenger, pedestrian, etc.), type of vehicles involved, number of vehicles
  • Demographics: age, gender, education, income, etc.
  • External conditions: weather, lighting conditions, road surface
  • Location: roadway road type, alignment
  • Driver variables: purpose of journey, speed, alcohol consumption
  • Timing: day of week, time of day


EU Megacities Report for Road Safety – Conclusions

This report measured various criteria and based on the results, researchers found the following of crashes that occurred in EU megacities in comparison to the country.


London, United Kingdom

There are proportionally more crashes in London than the rest of the UK. It was found that there were more crashes of greater severity on weekdays, particularly those commuting to work.

There were also more severe crashes on undivided highways, one-way streets and with buses and pedestrians. On the other hand, there were fewer crashes at roundabouts, divided highways and people in vehicles.

It was also found that there were fewer multi-vehicle crashes and fewer during wet, icy or slick road conditions. More crashes and more fatal crashes occurred as a single vehicle, in clear weather and dry roads. There were fewer crashes involving drivers under 21 and over 65, while more crashes with male drivers and those aged 26-45 years old.


Paris, France

As with London, there are proportionally more crashes in Paris than the rest of France. The research indicates that there are more fatal crashes involving motorcycles, scooters and pedestrians. On the other hand, there are fewer fatal crashes involving bicycles and vehicles.

There were also fewer fatal crashes involving drivers who are younger than 25 or older than 75. Young drivers were less likely to be involved in a fatal crash in which they were responsible for. Oddly enough, it was also found that there were fewer fatal crashes when alcohol was consumed by the driver or pedestrian.

This report also compared EU megacities and US megacities and the differences/similarities between the two continents. Research of this type is important since population growth is on the rise and traffic within large cities is changing based on number of residents and the shift to multimodal transportation.

In order to understand the needs and current use of a transportation network, various traffic studies can be completed including average daily traffic, turning movement counts, origin-destination studies and others. Miovision provides in-house and outsourced solutions that can complete up to nine different traffic studies using our automated system.