Safety Compass Newsletter
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Highway Safety Solutions for Saving Lives
A Publication of the Federal Highway Administration Safety Program, Winter 2009, Volume 3, Issue 3
In This Issue
Secretary LaHood Keynote Speaker at the 2009 Roadway Safety Awards Ceremony
On Nov 5, Secretary LaHood joined Joe Toole, Associate Administrator for Safety and Greg Cohen, Executive Director of the Roadway Safety Foundation in honoring the 2009 Roadway Safety Awards recipients.
In his remarks, Secretary LaHood stated, “I’ve said from Day 1 that safety is our highest priority at DOT, and with good reason: Even though traffic fatalities are on the decline, last year, roughly 37,000 people were killed in traffic crashes on the nation’s roads. That’s not acceptable, and we need to get everybody on board at the federal, state, and local level – and public and private – to address this. It will take all of our best talents in engineering, education, enforcement and emergency response to address these issues and end this tragedy. This award ceremony is a good opportunity to shine a light on the nation’s most innovative road safety projects and programs that eliminate or sharply reduce highway deaths across the United States.”
Joe Toole, who served as the Master of Ceremonies, stated in his introductory remarks, “Since 1998, the FHWA has joined with the Roadway Safety Foundation to hold this event every other year to honor some of the most innovative and effective safetyinitiatives in this country. But even more importantly, this ceremony also gives us an opportunity to honor and thank those who have made a difference. The efforts of our awardees clearly demonstrate that it is possible to turn the tide of needless deaths on our highways. It is possible to make a difference. These awards represent some incredible examples of innovation, creativity, persistence and dedication. We are in the presence of a great many devoted people representing agencies and organizations committed to saving lives on our roadways and for that we are truly thankful. It is no wonder that we are continuing to move our nation towards zero deaths.” For more information on the award winners, visit http://www.roadwaysafetyawards.org/.
Congratulations to all of our Award Winners this program year!
Program Planning, Development & Evaluation
And congratulations to our Honorable Mention recipients.
Program Planning, Development and Evaluation
“Towards Zero Deaths: A National Strategy for Highway Safety”
Everyone in the highway safety community agrees with the need to reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries, and many organizations have reflected this by adopting aggressive safety goals such as cutting fatalities in half or moving towards zero deaths. However, even though there is strong support, there is currently no national comprehensive roadmap to get us there. In an effort to develop such a roadmap, the US DOT initiated an effort to solicit input towards developing a National Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP). The objective of a National SHSP is to develop a set of emphasis areas and strategies to enable the nation to achieve an aggressive national safety goal. The ultimate goal will be to develop a plan that is data driven and will support the development and implementation of other federal, state and local agency strategic highway safety plans as well as strategic safety planning efforts of national associations, academia, and private industry. Even more important than the plan itself, is the process through which it is developed. Because the plan must be both comprehensive and cross-cutting, it needs input and involvement from a broad base of stakeholders. A workshop to initiate a series of discussions with the nation’s key safety advocates on this topic took place in Savannah, GA on September 2-3, 2009. An outline of a plan is expected by the Spring of 2010.
Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in Russia, Nov. 19-20, 2009
From Secretary LaHood’s Blog: “The first-ever Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety, which I attended in Moscow last week, hopes to see similar investments begin in earnest around the world. The conference was organized in part by the World Health Organization so that world leaders will see the scale of road accidents--1.3 million lives lost annually, predicted to rise to 2 million by 2020--and step up efforts to combat this problem just as they would any killer disease that ravaged their countries. The message I brought to the summit is that the rest of the world needs to start talking about the dangers of distracted driving. Despite the dramatic rise of cell phones and texting around the globe, there just hasn't been much discussion about this hazard. Road safety advocates want the United Nations to label the next 10 years a decade of action on road safety with a commitment to cut the forecast level of fatalities by 50%. That would save a potential 5 million lives. Look, we know from experience that making roads safe won't break the bank. But continued inattention to this problem just might. The cost to many countries of these road losses is equivalent to nearly 4% of GDP. As John Dawson, chair of the International Road Assessment Program, noted: "Because of a reduction in health care costs associated with safer roads, road safety is an investment that can repay five to ten times over." Road safety, it just makes sense--in America and around the world.” For more information, visit http://www.who.int/roadsafety/events/2009/19_10_09/en/index.html
U.S. Department of Transportation Creates Safety Council
A newly formed Safety Council has been created to tackle critical transportation safety issues facing the Department’s 10 operating administrations. Now is the time to identify and address the top safety issues that cut across our agencies,” said Secretary LaHood. “The Council will take our commitment to safety, which is our highest priority, to the next level.”
Before taking office, Secretary LaHood saw that many important safety initiatives were being pursued in the Department’s agencies without a formal process for sharing data, best practices and strategies. Secretary LaHood created the Safety Council to serve that broad-based safety leadership role and help break down organizational stovepipes, enabling an even stronger safety culture.
The goals of the Safety Council are to further enhance the safety focus throughout all agencies of the department and improve the impact of the department’s safety programs.
The Council, chaired by Transportation Deputy Secretary John Porcari, is comprised of the Administrators of the Department’s ten agencies: the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration, the Federal Transit Administration, the Maritime Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the Research and Innovative Technology Administration and the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. The head of safety for each Administration also sits on the Council. Joe Toole, Associate Administrator for Safety, represents FHWA.
Deputy Secretary Porcari said the Council will be action oriented, data driven, emphasize open dialogue about common issues and provide a forum for fresh ideas and new perspectives.
“The Council will enhance the Department’s safety culture which should then resonate out into industry,” said Deputy Secretary Porcari.
Addressing Critical Safety Issues—Life-Saving Crash Countermeasures
|The SCDOT and the Roadway Safety Foundation (RSF) launched a new safety campaign in August entitled Recognize, React, and Recover: Using Rumble Strips to Prevent Run-off-Road Crashes.|
In a press release announcing the kick-off event for this campaign, Bob Lee, Division Administrator of the SC Division said: “During the last 5 years, (2004–2008), 54 percent of all the fatalities reported in South Carolina involved a roadway departure crash. A total of 2,794 people died in these crashes.These numbers are why FHWA selected South Carolina to be an ‘opportunity’ State to reduce roadway departure crashes. Your State has received specialized training to help in this regard, and this designation is also one of the reasons that South Carolina received funding for this project.”
Another example of crash countermeasures is median barriers which reduce the occurrence of cross-median crashes. Michigan is investing $42 million over the next 3 years to install cable median barriers around the State. Recently, “Median Man” was introduced to Michigan motorists via public service announcements that are running in association with the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. “Median Man” is a fictional super hero designed to alert Michigan motorists to the lifesaving benefits of hundreds of miles of new cable guardrail being installed across the State.
These are just two examples of States implementing cost effective, fatality-reducing countermeasures. As you drive around your State, you may very well see other places where these safety improvements have been installed, and you should be proud of the role FHWA has played in helping make this happen.
To read more about these and other crash countermeasures, visit www.safety.fhwa.dot.gov as well as our most recent edition of our newsletter The Safety Compass. If you would like to subscribe to The Safety Compass, simply go to our Web site and eSubscribe to Newsletters (see the upper right corner to subscribe and it will take you to this page http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/esubscribe.cfm).
The family car pulled into the driveway just before midnight. Everyone was tired, but everyone made it home safely.
The first double crossover diamond (DCD) (also known as the diverging diamond) was opened to traffic in Springfield, Missouri, on June 21, 2009. (See picture below) A variation on the conventional diamond interchange, this DCD is the first innovative design of its kind in the U.S.
The geometric design channelizes vehicular traffic on the grade separated crossroad from the right side of the road to the left side and back at the ramp terminals. According to research by the FHWA, the DCD design increases the capacity up to 30%, with the greatest capacity gains realized when left-turn volumes are high and opposing traffic on the crossroad is unbalanced.
Safety is expected to improve for the following reasons:
Another advantage is that construction and right of way costs are reduced by 30 to 50 percent in the DCD design. These savings are realized because exclusive left-turn lanes required to store turning vehicles on or under the bridge are eliminated. In many situations, the DCD also permits use of the existing overpass. Such was the case in the Springfield MO DCD project. Savings in construction time and user-costs are also an advantage of the DCD design. The Springfield DCD project was completed in just six months, but would have lasted over two years if the bridge had been reconstructed.
FHWA has published several research articles on the DCD and presented this concept in workshops nationwide. In addition, FHWA collaborated closely with Missouri DOT by modeling and analyzing their first proposed Kansas City site in the Turner-Fairbank driver simulator laboratory. (Publication No. FHWA-HRT-07-048). MoDOT engineers drove the simulated model and used that experience to make several adjustments to geometric design, signals, signs, and pavement markings. They also gained confidence in the feasibility of this creative and atypical treatment.
One other DCD is under construction in Utah (I-15 & W Main St, American Fork County), three more are planned in Missouri, and several others are being planned around the country, including locations in Michigan, Ney York, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio and Oregon. FHWA congratulates MODOT for its introduction of the first DCD in the US.
|FHWA Contact:||Joe Bared
The Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Office of Safety Programs is launching a Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) Peer-to-Peer Program. The Peer-to-Peer Program will provide opportunities for transportation safety professionals to share solution-based experiences throughout the professional transportation safety community. The Peer-to-Peer Program seeks to establish a variety of venues for states to share ideas, technical assistance, noteworthy practices and solution-based experiences related to HSIP, Strategic Highway Safety Plans (SHSP), and related topics.
On November 4, 2009, FHWA safety specialists from the Office of Safety Programs, Resource Center, and Idaho Division Office helped facilitate a Peer Exchange/Workshop in Boise, ID designed to focus on updating the State's Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP). Nearly one hundred stakeholders attended the event served as a pilot for the HSIP P2P program. Guest speakers from Missouri DOT and the Washington Traffic Safety Commission were featured at the event. For questions on the Idaho P2P exchange, please contact Tamiko Burnell at (202)366-1200 or Tamiko.firstname.lastname@example.org
The formal HSIP P2P application process is currently being developed and will be released on the Office of Safety website (http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/) in the near future. If your State currently has an immediate need for a P2P exchange or general information about the P2P program, please contact Ben Gribbon, the project manager.
|FHWA Contact:||Ben Gribbon
The summer of 2009 has been quite busy for the Road Safety Audit (RSA) program. We held an RSA Forum in Florida in September 2009, and we have launched a new RSA video. The new RSA video focuses on the benefits of using a multidisciplinary approach to improve safety. It may be accessed online at http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/rsa/video2009/
There were 88 attendees at the Southeast RSA Forum and Workshop (i.e., training) from September 21-23, 2009 in Orlando, Florida. Seventeen speakers presented on various topics, including:
The Forum focused on common emphasis areas shared between States including current progress, success stories, and ways to advance the implementation of RSAs. This event was a joint effort between the FHWA, Florida DOT, Florida T2 Center and the Florida Community Traffic Safety Team Coalition.
The dynamic conversation circle on the Forum’s second day provided an informal environment for attendees to ask questions; discussion topics ranged across many areas, including funding, liability concerns associated with RSAs, using low cost safety improvements, and conducting RSAs during the planning and design stage.
|FHWA Contact:||Becky Crowe
The Motorcyclist Advisory Council to the Federal Highway Administration (MAC-FHWA) met on November 5th in Arlington, VA with 18 people in attendance. The MAC-FHWA advises the Secretary of the Department of Transportation, acting through the Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration, on infrastructure issues of concern to motorcyclists. Presentations were given on the findings from the pilot study of the Motorcycle Crash Causation study, the Motorcyclists survey, and motorcycle crash statistics. There were also discussions regarding the international scanning tour planned for motorcycle safety and the full Motorcycle Crash Causation study.
|FHWA Contact:||Keith Williams
To promote a safer transportation system, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has produced “A Primer on Safety Performance Measures for the Transportation Planning Process” to help State and local practitioners, transportation planners, and decision-makers identify, select, and use safety performance measures as a part of the transportation planning process. Benefits safety performance measures provide to the planning and decision-making process include: greater accountability, greater linkage between safety goals/objectives and policy formulation; better understanding of the impacts of alternative courses of action; improved communication about transportation safety; increased organizational focus on safety priorities; and information feedback.
The Primer draws from current literature, professional experience, and State department of transportation (DOT) and metropolitan planning organization (MPO) practices. Key elements of the Primer include: a definition of performance measures; a step-by-step description with flowcharts showing how safety performance measures can be identified and integrated into the transportation planning process; characteristics of effective performance measures; a checklist to assess an organization’s current status with respect to the use of safety performance measures in the transportation planning and decision-making process; and a list of references.
The document also includes seven case studies from States and MPOs highlighting the use of safety performance measures to enhance the planning processes. For example, the Minnesota DOT’s (MnDOT) performance-based investment plan enables the State to estimate the investments needed to meet established performance measure targets for traveler safety. MnDOT has created a vertically integrated structure ensuring policies made at headquarters are implemented in the districts. Safety performance measures that align with statewide goals are also used by the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) to set investment levels. SEMCOG uses a comprehensive regional approach to identify and prioritize projects and provides crash data to local agencies for high-risk location analysis and cost-benefit analysis. This approach ensures local safety analysis and project prioritization is aligned with the region’s and State’s long-range goals, objectives, and performance measures.
The Primer will be available electronically by the end of December 2009 on both the FHWA Office of Safety website (http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov) and the Transportation Safety Planning website (www.tsp.trb.org). Hard copies will be available through FHWA early in 2010.
|FHWA Contact:||Tamiko Burnell
Transportation professionals now have a new resource to help them identify, implement, and evaluate cost-effective roadway safety improvements. The Federal Highway Administration has established the Crash Modification Factors (CMF) Clearinghouse, a central, Web-based repository of Crash Modification Factors, or CMFs.
A CMF is an estimate of the change in crashes expected after implementation of a countermeasure. CMFs are often used by transportation professionals in their decision-making process to determine which countermeasures to implement. Previously, CMFs were located through various national and state sources The CMF Clearinghouse Web site – www.CMFClearinghouse.org – gives transportation professionals’ access to more than 1800 CMFs for over 400 countermeasures in one central location.
Using the CMF Clearinghouse. The CMF Clearinghouse is a comprehensive listing of all available CMFs, allowing users to use both a “quick search” and an “advanced search” to locate CMFs. Users can search by a variety of parameters, including but not limited to keyword, countermeasure, crash type, crash severity, and roadway type.
The CMF Clearinghouse will be updated on a regular basis to add recently developed and documented CMFs. New CMFs will be identified via a periodic review of published literature.
Sharing CMF Knowledge. Another purpose of the CMF Clearinghouse is to educate transportation professionals about the application of CMFs. The Web site includes a general overview of CMFs and a glossary of terms related to CMFs. Users can also read a listing of frequently asked questions that address issues such as the difference between CMFs and CRFs, and how to apply multiple CMFs. The Web site also includes a comprehensive resources section that includes links to CMF-related information on trainings, resources and publications.
The CMF Clearinghouse also encourages transportation professionals to submit their own CMF studies for inclusion into the clearinghouse. CMF studies submitted to the database will undergo a review process to determine whether or not they meet the minimum requirements for inclusion. The CMF Clearinghouse will be updated regularly with new research and user submissions.
|FHWA Contact:||Karen Yunk
The AASHTO Highway Safety Manual (HSM), an American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) resource will be released during the next few months. The HSM and the supporting implementation tools, SafetyAnalyst and the Interactive Highway Safety Design Model (IHSDM), will greatly advance State and local highway agencies’ ability to incorporate explicit, quantitative consideration for safety into their planning and project development decision making. This strategic initiative will support deployment of the HSM and related safety analytical tools to State and local agencies through proactive outreach, training and technical support; pilot exercises in selected State and local agencies; and guidance and support for addressing the data needs of these innovative safety analysis tools. Deployment will also need evaluation support that can define future modification and enhancements necessary for successful acceptance by State and local agencies. Input from the AASHTO Task Force for the Highway Safety Manual will help prioritize deployment activities.
|FHWA Contact:||Michael Griffith
The Updated version of 2009 Beta Release of Crash Prediction Module (CPM) to support the upcoming Highway Safety Manual Part C - Predictive Methods is now available for free downloading at www.ihsdm.org. Crash Prediction Module is one of the six existing modules available from FHWA’s 2008 Public Release of Interactive Highway Safety Design Model (IHSDM). This updated 2009 Beta Release of CPM, version 5.3.1, is intended to provide improvements in the areas of Highway Data, Output / Reporting and Defect Correction from the previous CPM Beta version 5.3.0 released on June 30, 2009. This updated CPM version provides a faithful implementation of the upcoming Highway Safety Manual (HSM), Part C – Predictive Methods for two-lane rural highways module (HSM - Chapter 10), multi-lane rural highways module (HSM - Chapter 11) and urban and sub-urban arterials module (HSM - Chapter 12). For more information of Highway Safety Manual, please go to: www.highwaysafetymanual.org.
While this updated 2009 Beta Release of CPM focusing on the safety predictive methods only, there is a separate version of 2008 Public Release (Version 5.0.2) IHSDM which is a “completed” suite of software analysis tools for evaluating safety and operational effects of geometric design decisions on two-lane rural highways. This 5.0.2 version of IHSDM includes six evaluation modules namely - Policy Review, Crash Prediction, Design Consistency, Intersection Review, Traffic Analysis, and a fully-functioning beta version of Driver/Vehicle Module.For more information of this 2008 IHSDM please go to: IHSDM WiKi: http://www.ihsdm.org/wiki/Welcome. On this website, you can also find additional information related to case studies / user applications, past webinar materials, and frequently asked questions.
Please be advised that the 2009 Beta Release of CPM and the existing 2008 Public Release of IHSDM should be installed and operated individually (i.e. do NOT install the 2009 CPM Beta Release “over” the 2008 Public Release). For existing registered IHSDM users, please use your IHSDM username and previously assigned password to access and download this updated CPM module. For new users, please look for “download registration” at www.ihsdm.org.
For free technical support of both of this updated 2009 Beta Release of CPM and the existing 2008 public release of IHSDM, please e-mail IHSDM.Support@fhwa.dot.gov or call 202-493-3407.
Currently, an IHSDM training course (#380071) for two-lane rural highways can be arranged via the National Highway Institute. For more information about the course, please visit http://www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/training/course_detail.aspx?num=FHWA-NHI-380071&cat=t&key=&num=380&loc=&sta=&tit=&typ=&lev=&ava=&str=&end=&drl
|FHWA Contact:||Clayton Chen
Adequately maintained traffic signs and pavement markings help improve highway safety, especially at night. The retroreflective properties of traffic signs cause the light from vehicle headlights to bounce back toward the vehicle and the driver's eyes, making the signs appear brighter and easier to see and read. Because the retroreflective properties of traffic control devices deteriorate over time, agencies need to manage the maintenance of their signs and pavement markings.
To help in this area, the Federal Highway Administration has developed a Sign Retroreflectivity Toolkit to provide information that will assist both small- and medium-sized agencies lacking traffic engineering staff to meet the new Federal requirements (set forth in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) for maintaining traffic sign retroreflectivity. This toolkit is comprised of two elements. One is a stand-alone computer-based package (called the “Toolkit”) on a compact disc and on the FHWA Safety Web site at http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/roadway_dept/night_visib/retrotoolkit/ , and it contains specific information, resources, and automated features. The second element is a hard copy print out of the computer-based package, known as the “Guidebook.”
These materials are designed to assist small- and medium-sized agencies (for example, Federal Land Management, or Tribal agencies) in making informed decisions before implementing a retroreflectivity maintenance program while considering resource limitations. The two elements include common features such as: simple step-by-step approach, inspection procedures and a budget estimating tool. The toolkit will be available at the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in January in Washington, DC.
|“Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest.” Mobilization||Dec 16-Jan 3||Nationwide|
|National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices Annual Meeting||Jan 6–8||Arlington, VA|
|89th Annual Transportation Research Board (TRB) Meeting||Jan 10–14||Washington, D.C.|
|U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting||Jan 20-22||Washington, D.C.|
|National Sheriff’s Association Winter Conference||Jan 20-24||Washington, D.C.|
|Maryland Annual Bike/Pedestrian Symposium||Feb 3||Annapolis, MD|
|American Traffic Safety Services Association's (ATSSA) 40th Annual Convention||Feb 14–18||San Antonio, TX|
|World of Asphalt Show and Conference||Feb 15–18||Cincinnati, OH|
|National Traffic Management and Work Zone Safety Power Workshops||Feb 17||Cincinnati, OH|
|National Association of Counties (NACo) Legislative Conference||Mar 6-10||Washington, D.C.|
|National Sleep Awareness Week||Mar 7-13||Nationwide|
|Fifth International Conference on Pedestrian and Evacuation Dynamics||Mar 8-10||Gaithersburg, MD|
|National Bike Summit||Mar 9-11||Washington, D.C.|
|Transportation Research Forum Annual Forum||Mar 11-13||Washington, D.C.|
|National League of Cities (NLC) Congressional City Conference||Mar 13-17||Washington, D.C.|
|American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Legislative Conference||Mar 14-16||Washington, D.C.|
|Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) 2010 Technical Conference||Mar 14–17||Savannah, GA|
|15th International Conference on Road Safety on Four Continents||Mar 22-24||Abu Dhabi|
A publication of the Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration
The Safety Compass newsletter is published for internet distribution quarterly by the:
FHWA Office of Safety
1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, Room E71-105
Washington, DC 20590
The Safety Compass can also be viewed at: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov