States and Local Governments Honored on Capitol Hill for Innovative, Lifesaving Roadway Safety Programs

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 16, 2015) — Today on Capitol Hill, the Roadway Safety Foundation (RSF) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) honored 10 exemplary highway safety projects and programs from across the country with National Roadway Safety Awards.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death with more than 33,000 fatalities and 2.3 million injuries each year. These prestigious award winners are credited for the development of innovative, lifesaving safety programs to help lessen the toll of highway fatalities and injuries on our Nation’s roadways through excellence and innovation in operations, planning, and design improvements.

“The roadway safety innovations that we recognize here today address key obstacles facing our country as we look to modernize our transportation infrastructure,” said U.S. Transportation Deputy Secretary Victor Mendez. “I commend all of today’s winners for their efforts to enhance safety and save lives on our nation’s roadways.”

The National Roadway Safety Award recipients were evaluated on three criteria: 1) Effectiveness, 2) Innovation, and 3) Efficient Use of Resources. There were two award categories: 1) Infrastructure and Operational Improvements and 2) Program Planning, Development, and Evaluation.

"The innovative highway safety projects honored today are vital because deficiencies in the roadway environment contribute to nearly one-third of all traffic deaths," said Roadway Safety Foundation Executive Director Gregory M. Cohen. "The National Roadway Safety Awards are an opportunity to recognize the unsung heroes who plan, engineer and implement creative measures to help save lives on a daily basis and rarely receive credit for doing so."

The following are the 2015 National Roadway Safety Award Honorees:

  •   Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department, Clark County, Ark.: In recognition for improving interstate safety with pavement surface treatments to reduce deaths and injuries in wet weather conditions. In four years, the improved pavement texture lowered wet weather crashes from 70 to five, a 93 percent reduction on a 4-mile segment of Arkansas’ Interstate 30.

  •   Florida Department of Transportation, Tampa Bay, Fla.: In recognition for its vehicle-mounted Advanced Lighting Measurement System, which has revolutionized how the state collects road lighting data and allowed the agency to collect 250 miles of roadway lighting data in just a few months, rather than a few years. This data can identify areas of risk when comparing low-light conditions to the number of crashes in a particular area.

  •   Florida Department of Transportation, Statewide, Headquartered in Tallahassee, Fla.: In recognition for its “Safe Mobility for Life Coalition,” an alliance of agencies, universities, and interest groups that identifies both engineering and behavioral solutions to improve the safety, access, and mobility for Florida’s aging population. The coalition addresses infrastructure modifications, increased visibility, pedestrian-friendly intersections, advanced signing, human factors, education and training.

  •   Michigan Department of Transportation, Statewide, Headquartered in Lansing, Mich.: In recognition for its statewide non-freeway rumble strip initiative to install rumble strips on all non-freeway high-speed and rural roads from 2008-2010. This initiative is credited with reducing total target crashes by 47 percent and fatal crashes by 51 percent, as shown by a comparison of crash data from the three years post installation to that from the three years prior to rumble strips installation.

  •   Montana Department of Transportation, Statewide, Headquartered in Helena, Mont.: In recognition for its roadway departure study and safety information management system developed to analyze areas of concern contributing to Montana’s 70 percent rate of fatal crashes due to lane departure. The tool can be used for more in-depth safety reviews and increase safety in Montana’s planning, maintenance and operation procedures.

  •   Orange County Public Works Department, Orange County, Fla.: In recognition for its Texas-Americana road safety small-area study to evaluate a cluster of intersections and roadways with high crash rates. The road safety audit revealed infrastructure issues and behavioral needs resulting in a bicycle helmet promotion and giveaway where children were fitted for free helmets, a community forum to present the findings to the public and the identification of low-cost maintenance activities such as sidewalk repair and vegetation management to improve the safety of the area.

  •   Texas Department of Transportation, San Antonio, Texas: In recognition for the “San Antonio TransGuide Wrong-Way Driver Project” in partnership with the City of San Antonio Police Department to prevent wrong-way crashes. Working with Texas A&M Transportation Institute, the partners identified a 15-mile segment as the highest occurrence for wrong-way crashes on US 281. To address this issue, the agencies installed illuminated warning signs and used radar-based sensors that detect the direction, speed and location of wrong-way drivers to issue real-time alerts to law enforcement. The project decreased the number of wrong-way events by 31 percent.

  •   Virginia Department of Transportation, Reston, Va.: In recognition for the agency’s “Road Diets in Reston” projects, which were designed to increase safety by reducing the number of lanes on a 2-mile segment of both Lawyers Road and Soapstone Road. The two roads each carry 10,000 vehicles per day and were prone to excessive speeding. After project completion, crashes decreased by 69 percent on Lawyers Road and 67 percent on Soapstone Drive.

  •   Virginia Department of Transportation, Richmond, Va.: In recognition for the deployment of highway safety improvement projects using Virginia-specific Safety Performance Functions (SPF). Safety performance functions are developed by engineers who use a tool that can determine the expected performance level of a roadway. Those expected levels are then compared to the observed performance of the roadway to identify the Potential for Safety Improvement (PSI). Locations with the greatest PSI generally have the highest priority for treatment, facilitating the deployment of safety projects in locations where they will do the most good.

  •   Washington State Department of Transportation, Olympia, Wash.: In recognition for its “2014 County Safety Program,” which requires counties to develop data-driven local road safety plans before they can apply for Highway Safety Improvement Program funding. The agency provided the counties with training and a summary of data that prioritized crash types, roadway characteristics and conditions in comparison to other counties. Nearly 80 percent of Washington’s 39 counties submitted safety plans, resulting in increased local engagement and funding for high-priority locations around the State.

    This year’s Blue Ribbon Panel Judges included: Gregory M. Cohen, executive director, Roadway Safety Foundation; King W. Gee, director of engineering and technical services, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials; Mike Griffith, director, Office of Safety Technologies, FHWA Office of Safety, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA); Peter Kissinger, president & CEO, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety; Bernardo Kleiner, senior program officer and transportation safety specialist, Transportation Research Board; Jennifer Smith, director, Image and Brands, Michelin; Marie B. Walsh, PhD, director, Louisiana Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP); Terecia Wilson, senior fellow, Clemson University Institute for Global Road Safety and Security.

For complete details on each of the winners, and for more information on the national awards program, visit