Local Innovative, Life-Saving Roadway Safety


Recipients from 12 states awarded for efforts to reduce crashes,
injuries and fatalities

WASHINGTON, DC (November 15, 2005) - The Roadway Safety Foundation (RSF) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today recognized 15 local programs from 12 states across the country for excellence and innovation in operations, planning and roadway design to reduce fatalities and injuries on our nation’s highways.

“The roster of award winners represents the most dynamic and creative highway safety programs, and sets a standard for others to follow,” said Greg Cohen, Director of the Roadway Safety Foundation. “These projects help prevent traffic crashes and fatalities, and assist in fighting the national epidemic of nearly 43,000 road deaths and 3 million injuries that occur on our nation’s roadways every year.”

Roadway Safety Award recipients were evaluated on three criteria - innovation, effectiveness, and efficient use of resources. Program categories included infrastructure improvements, operational improvements and program planning, development and evaluation. The award recipients were selected from 61 entries received.

“Safety is the Federal Highway Administration’s top priority, and we know that this year’s award winners share that belief,” said Federal Highway Administrator J. Richard Capka. “By combining good roadway engineering, law enforcement, education and emergency services, our state partners are helping us to save lives.”

This year’s honorees include:

Destination Safe Coalition of Kansas and Missouri: Destination Safe is a coalition of local, regional, state and federal stakeholders in Missouri and Kansas working together to improve transportation safety in the greater Kansas City region. The Coalition, which meets bi-monthly, has put together the Kansas City Regional Transportation Safety Blueprint which outlines six high priority safety areas including unbelted motorists, aggressive drivers, youth and young adults, impaired drivers, pedestrians and transportation safety data.

Florida Department of Transportation’s (FL DOT) Crash Data Management System (CDMS): The FL DOT’s District 7 CDMS is a portable, Geographic Information System (GIS)-based tool that can target engineering and safety concerns in the district. Because it is portable, it can assist other engineering and law enforcement agencies to assess regional and local crash related issues, roadway characteristics and other such safety concerns.

Florida Department of Transportation’s (FL DOT) Qwick Kurb: The FL DOT’s District 7 office formed a three-member team to rapidly deploy the Qwick Kurb technology to directionalize or close full median openings in lieu of conventional roadway construction, something not previously done in their District. The technology has been used at eight full median opening project locations and prevented an estimated eight crashes at a net savings of approximately $1 million.

Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) and Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS) Local Roads Safety Initiatives: The Iowa DOT and Iowa DPS joined forces to help address safety concerns on local roads. The result is a three-pronged program that: 1) provides free crash data and training to local governments; 2) provides free traffic safety studies for high risk locations, and 3) provides safety grants up to $500,000 for local governments. Over 250 local government safety projects have been funded to date with a mean crash reduction of 21 percent and a benefit to cost ratio of greater than 6 to 1.

Minnesota Department of Transportation (MN DOT) and Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s (MN DPS) Speed Management Program: After realizing a 93 percent increase in fatalities on four-lane divided expressway roads where speed limits were raised to 65 mph and a 70 percent increase in fatalities on rural freeways that were raised to 70 mph, the MN DOT and MN DPS teamed up to launch an extensive speed control project that involved a combination of engineering, enforcement and public education. The result has been reductions in the numbers of speeders as well as the number of crashes and fatalities.

Missouri Department of Transportation’s (MoDOT) System-wide Installation of Median Cable Barrier: In 2003 the MoDOT began installing median cable barriers on all its major interstates with the highest volumes and most narrow medians. The cable barriers have performed successfully and are saving lives by catching over 95 percent of vehicles entering the median. For example, there were 24 cross-median fatalities on I-70 in Missouri in 2002. The installation of the system-wide cable barrier has virtually eliminated these types of fatalities bringing the total of cross-median fatalities on I-70 to only two in 2006.

Ohio Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) Integration of Safety into the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Planning Process: In 2005 ODOT began working with all 17 of their local MPOs (which represent Ohio’s 19 urbanized areas) to develop annual safety work plans based on crash analysis and public input. The program is significant because about 57 percent of all crashes including fatal crashes, and 45 percent of incapacitating injuries occur within Ohio’s cities each year. The partnerships helped Ohio achieve a seven percent reduction in crashes and fatalities from 2005 to 2006, resulting in 89 fewer deaths and 24,000 fewer crashes.

South Carolina Department of Transportation’s (SC DOT) Let ‘Em Work, Let ‘Em Live! Obey the Law Work Zone Safety Campaign: Between 2001 and 2002 South Carolina realized an increase in work zone crashes of nearly 30 percent. During that same time injuries increased by 23.7 percent clearly demonstrating a need for a focused, ongoing approach to reducing work zone incidents. In response, the SC DOT implemented an extensive work zone safety program from 2002 to 2005 that included a statewide public education campaign, worker training and stepped up enforcement, among other tactics. The result was a 39.2 percent reduction in crashes, a 44.1 percent reduction in injuries and a 50 percent reduction in fatalities.

South Carolina Department of Transportation’s (SC DOT) Crash Reduction by Improving Safety on Secondaries (CRISOS) Program: In 2003 the SCDOT’s CRISOS project began as a response to a significant safety problem on the state’s rural, secondary roads. The mileage death rate for the state’s secondary roads was over three times higher than for interstate highways in the state (3.42 versus .92 fatalities per vehicle mile traveled). The CRISOS project incorporates low cost, short-term engineering strategies with public education, emergency medical services and enforcement efforts to reduce traffic injuries and fatalities on state-maintained secondary routes with the highest crash severity rankings. Early preliminary results from six CRISOS-completed roads in 2006 showed a 47.6 percent decrease in fatalities and a 16.5 percent decrease in injuries from the five-year average from 1998-2002.

Utah Department of Transportation’s Student Neighborhood Access Program (SNAP): SNAP was designed to increase the safety of Utah’s school children by promoting and enabling the planning and implementation of safe walking and biking routes to school. The program brought together stakeholders of diverse backgrounds - engineering, public works, health, education, law enforcement, and the public - to establish a standard process by which schools across Utah can produce routing plans of consistent quality and content. SNAP is currently being used in at least 186 (37 percent) of Utah’s 500 elementary schools and is expected to be in 375 schools by September 2008 and in all 500 schools by 2010.

Honorable Mentions Include:

California Highway Patrol’s (CHP) Safety and Farm Labor Vehicle Education (SAFE) Program: The SAFE Program was created in 1999 to address the transportation of hundreds of thousands of farm workers who are hired for field labor within the state and specifically the Central Valley after a serious collision killed 13 passengers of a farm labor vehicle (FLV). In the past, accidents took the lives of too many innocent farm workers because of the poor condition of the vehicles in which they were transported. The SAFE Program employs a combination of increased education and enforcement designed to improve these conditions and save lives. The results speak for themselves. In 2000, for the first time since 1992, there were no farm worker fatalities resulting from FLV collisions and collisions dropped 73 percent. During inspection and enforcement operations officers examined over 3,000 FLVs and over 500 were taken out-of-service for being unsafe. In addition, over 90 radio and television interviews were given and more than 195 presentations were made to more than 38,000 people.

Mendocino County (CA) Department of Transportation’s Road System Traffic Safety Reviews: During the 1990s the Mendocino County Department of Transportation developed a program of annual Road System Traffic Safety Reviews to improve safety on its arterials and collectors by identifying accident patterns and installing improved signing and markings to mitigate them. Over two consecutive 3-year review cycles, the number of accidents on these roads fell by 42.1 percent compared to a 26.5 percent increase in accidents on the non-reviewed roads. The total cost to conduct the reviews and implement the recommended changes was $79,300. Calculated savings ranged from $12.58 million to $23.73 million yielding a cost-to-benefit ratio between 1:159 and 1:299.

Vermont Agency of Transportation’s (VAOT) Work Zone Working Group: Vermont’s Work Zone Working Group (WZWG) was created in April of 2002 to develop a plan for work zone uniformity, education and enforcement with the goal of training workers and motorists about proper behavior in areas where construction is taking place. Since its inception the group has trained thousands of construction workers as well as law enforcement and rescue squads and educated millions of drivers about work zone safety.

University of Wisconsin-Madison Traffic Operations and Safety Laboratory’s Road Weather Safety Audits: Road Safety Audits are a formal review of a roads crash potential and safety performance. The Road Weather Safety Audit (RWSA) is a logical extension of this audit with particular emphasis on highway safety from an adverse weather impact perspective. The institutionalization of the RWSA into the Wisconsin Department of Transportation has heightened awareness of weather issues that impact infrastructure and operations.

Illinois State Police’s Tazewell County Teen Initiative: Between March 2005 and July 2006 15 teenagers died in traffic crashes on Tazewell County, Illinois roadways sparking a cry for action. The Illinois State Police District 8, along with the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Tazewell County Sheriff and the Tazewell County Coroner teamed up to form the Tazewell County Teen Initiative — a multifaceted public awareness campaign targeted to schools, hospitals, emergency response teams, media and the private sector. Since the program was launched there have been no teen traffic fatalities in Tazewell County.

Blue Ribbon Panel Judges included: Philip Caruso, Deputy Director, Institute of Transportation Engineers; Greg Cohen, Executive Director of the Roadway Safety Foundation; Anthony Giancola, Executive Director of the National Association of County Engineers; Barbara Harsha, Executive Director of the Governors Highway Safety Association; and Ronald Lipps, Assistant Director of the Office of Traffic and Safety at the Maryland State Highway Administration.

Roadway safety programs are a critical part of the nation’s solutions to saving lives and preventing injuries on our nation’s highways. Of the 42,642 people killed in traffic crashes on U.S. roads in 2006, nearly 60 percent of the fatalities (24,801) involved a departure from the roadway and 20 percent (8,797) were at an intersection or intersection-related (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 2006 Annual Assessment of Motor Vehicle Crashes).

The Federal Highway Administration and the Roadway Safety Foundation present the bi-annual Roadway Safety Awards to programs and projects across the nation exhibiting excellence in roadway design, operations and planning. The RSF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable and educational organization solely dedicated to reducing the frequency and severity of motor vehicle crashes by improving the safety of America’s roadways. For additional information on RSF please visit www.roadwaysafety.org. For additional information on FHWA safety programs please visit http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov.

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ATTENTION EDITORS - Digital photographs of the award winners at the luncheon in Washington, DC are available by calling (202) 857-1228. Detailed information on the award winning programs can be found at www.roadwaysafetyawards.org.