Cost-effectiveness of neighbourhood slow zones in New York City

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Abstract

Background

Neighbourhood slow zones (NSZs) are areas that attempt to slow traffic via speed limits coupled with other measures (eg, speed humps). They appear to reduce traffic crashes and encourage active transportation. We evaluate the cost-effectiveness of NSZs in New York City (NYC), which implemented them in 2011.

Methods

We examined the effectiveness of NSZs in NYC using data from the city’s Department of Transportation in an interrupted time series analysis. We then conducted a cost-effectiveness analysis using a Markov model. One-way sensitivity analyses and Monte Carlo analyses were conducted to test error in the model.

Results

After 2011, road casualties in NYC fell by 8.74% (95% CI 1.02% to 16.47%) in the NSZs but increased by 0.31% (95% CI −3.64% to 4.27%) in the control neighbourhoods. Because injury costs outweigh intervention costs, NSZs resulted in a net savings of US$15 (95% credible interval: US$2 to US$43) and a gain of 0.002 of a quality-adjusted life year (QALY, 95% credible interval: 0.001 to 0.006) over the lifetime of the average NSZ resident relative to no intervention. Based on the results of Monte Carlo analyses, there was a 97.7% chance that the NSZs fall under US$50 000 per QALY gained.

Conclusion

While additional causal models are needed, NSZs appeared to be an effective and cost-effective means of reducing road casualties. Our models also suggest that NSZs may save more money than they cost.

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