A package of safety measures for central Wellington streets, including changing the shape of buses, could reduce the risks to pedestrians, a traffic planning and engineering expert has told an inquest today.
Venessa Ann Green, 40, suffered critical injuries when she ran in front of a bus on Willis St in central Wellington on June 28, 2011.
She died in Wellington Hospital the next day.
Canterbury University engineering Professor Alan Nicholson gave evidence at Ms Green's inquest, which was held at the Wellington District Court in front of Coroner Garry Evans today.
He said there were a number of safety measures that could be undertaken along the city's so-called Golden Mile.
Those included improving the boundary between the footpath and road, making buses more easily seen and heard, reducing the speed limit, removing obstacles that might obscure a pedestrian's view of the road and increasing pedestrian crossings.
"Another option which should be investigated, but which might well be difficult to achieve because it would involve substantial change to bus body design, is ensuring that buses operating along the Golden Mile have a shape that is less aggressive ... less likely to cause severe injury ... if they collide with a pedestrian."
Shifting bus routes should be a "last resort" because that would take bus users away from the central city and shops, Prof Nicholson said.
"I've suggested a package approach because it would be hard to say any one of them is a silver bullet.
"They could be synergies which would mean if you adopted these then it might work," Prof Nicholson said.
Earlier today Ms Green's brother, Aaron, told the inquest that immediately after the accident, his family visited the site and were appalled by what they saw.
"In our opinion it was very poorly designed, with minimal regard for the safety of members of the public."
Among the family's concerns were low tree foliage, trolley buses close to the footpath, footpath seats facing away from the road, a telephone box nearby and related road signage, he said.
"It is impossible for us to determine whether or not these factors were relevant in Venessa's accident, but as a family, we are concerned that safety recommendations were not acted upon in due course."
Mr Green also told the inquest that his sister was a "generous, warm and kind" person.
She was a massage therapist who travelled overseas with a number of running and cycling teams, as well as being an accomplished athlete in her own right, competing for the country in the World Duathlon Championship in the 1990s.
She was finishing her Masters paper in Health Science when she was killed, Mr Green said.
The inquest continues.