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Safety Compass Newsletter
A Publication of the Federal Highway Administration Office of Safety
Summer 2023: Volume 17, Issue 2
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In this issue:
Safety-Driven Changes and Improvements
Message from the Associate Administrator for Safety, Cheryl Walker
Cheryl Walker, Associate Administrator for Safety.
Become an Ally-in-Action to Save Lives
The Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities in 2022 was released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in April. Although the data are not final, we were encouraged to see a projected decrease in fatalities of 0.3 percent nationally. The fourth quarter of 2022 represents the third straight quarterly decline in fatalities after seven consecutive quarters representing year-to-year increases beginning in the third quarter of 2020. At the State level, 27 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico are projected to see decreases in fatalities.
Regrettably, we are still facing a national crisis. We lost 42,795 cherished lives in motor vehicle crashes in 2022. We stand firm in our conviction that one life lost is too many, which is why every day we reassert our commitment to zero roadway deaths. The Safe System Approach (SSA) has taught us that the responsibility for this goal must be shared by all of us. We also know that doing the same things will not bring us different outcomes. We all need to take a fresh look at our transportation decision making, policies, processes, and procedures to make sure safety is truly the priority.
Now more than ever, people want safe roadways for their families and friends and streets that support economic development and community health. Our practices need to change in response to these changing priorities. Fortunately, we have tools to use throughout the project development process, from safety analysis during project planning and scoping to deploying proven safety countermeasures. We need to use those tools to gain maximum safety benefits.
At the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), we work to amplify the safety messages and strategies that will reduce lives lost in fatal crashes. This newsletter highlights just a few efforts underway to support making roadways safer for all road users.
FHWA is joined by many other road safety stakeholders who are advancing safety through the U.S. DOT’s National Roadway Safety Strategy (NRSS) Call-to-Action and other activities. Please consider how you can support the NRSS by becoming one of our Allies in Action or how you can redouble your efforts to expand adoption of a Safe System Approach and a Zero Fatalities vision. Together, we can transform how we as a Nation think about road safety. Together, we can save lives.
The New Speed Safety Camera Program Planning and Operations Guide is Now Available!
By Abdul Zineddin and Jeff King, FHWA Office of Safety
Speeding has become a growing problem in the United States. Speeding, which is defined as exceeding the posted speed limit or traveling too fast for conditions, was a contributing factor in almost 29 percent of all fatalities in 2021. In 2021, there were 42,939 fatalities on our Nation's roadways, of which 12,330 were speeding-related—that was an increase of 7.9 percent from 2020.
USDOT issued its National Roadway Safety Strategy (NRSS), with the strong belief that the Safe System Approach is how we are going to achieve zero deaths on our roadway network. Safe Speeds is a core principle of the Safe System Approach since humans are less likely to survive high-speed crashes.
In our efforts to reduce speeding-related crashes, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) worked jointly with the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) to release the new Speed Safety Camera Program Planning and Operations Guide. This is an update and replaces the Speed Enforcement Camera Systems Operational Guidelines, published in 2008.
This update adds emphasis on speed safety cameras (previously known as automated speed enforcement, photo enforcement or photo radar) as a component of a comprehensive speed management program, integrating equity and transparency throughout program planning, operations, and evaluation.
As noted in FHWA’s Proven Safety Countermeasures, speed safety cameras have been shown to reduce crashes from 20 to 54 percent in various applications using fixed, mobile or point to point applications. New York City found the use of fixed units in school zones reduced speeding up to 63 percent during school hours.
Equitable and context-sensitive deployment of speed safety cameras for the reduction of serious and fatal crashes involving all road users is crucial to a successful program. Agencies that explore or are implementing the use of speed safety cameras must consider equity, civil rights, and civil liberties concerns during all stages of the program.
A prime example of this comes in site selection during the planning phase, when implementors of speed safety camera programs must consider whether speed safety cameras are being disproportionately installed in some areas and not in others. With proper implementation, speed safety cameras have the potential to offer fair and equitable enforcement of speed limits regardless of driver age, race, gender, or socio-economic status.
With the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Congress lifted ineligibilities for automated enforcement. Therefore, Federal funding may be used to support the use of speed safety cameras as a Proven Safety Countermeasure to manage speeds and prevent crashes. This includes using Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funds under a new BIL provision for "specified safety projects," which includes projects that facilitate enforcement of traffic safety laws. To be eligible for HSIP funding, a speed safety camera project must be consistent with all HSIP requirements, meaning that the project must be consistent with the State’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan, be identified through the State’s data-driven process, and contribute to a reduction in fatalities and serious injuries.
To learn more about speed management visit FHWA’s Speed Management Safety web page.
Maintaining Minimum Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity
By Cathy Satterfield, FHWA Office of Safety Retired, and Paul LaFleur, FHWA Office of Safety
Rule Aims to Reduce Crashes in Dark and Low-Light Conditions
Almost one year ago, FHWA published a new final rule on Maintaining Minimum Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity. The rule provides new minimum standards for pavement marking retroreflectivity, or the light reflected off of materials used in pavement markings to make them more visible in the dark.
Total estimated fatalities during nighttime increased by 11 percent from 2020 to 2021.The nighttime fatality rate is also about three times the daytime fatality rate. This new rule will help reduce nighttime crashes by making pavement markings more visible and easier to see at night or in dark conditions and supports FHWA’s mission to reduce roadway fatalities and serious injuries. It also helps prepare infrastructure for more autonomous vehicle technologies that use retroreflectivity to navigate roadways.
When signs and markings are initially installed, they generally have very good retroreflectivity. However, retroreflectivity begins to degrade quickly due to traffic wear, UV rays, and winter maintenance, such as snow plowing. This rulemaking sets parameters for the minimum levels of retroreflectivity that are acceptable before the markings need to be refurbished or replaced.
The final rule requires implementation and continued use of a method that is designed to maintain retroreflectivity of longitudinal pavement markings at or above minimum levels by September 6, 2026, 4 years from the effective date of this rule. This rulemaking effort was included as revision 3 to the 2009 edition of the MUTCD and will be included in the 11th edition of the MUTCD, which is currently in development.
Agencies will need to have a method in place to maintain the reflectivity of pavement markings at or above the minimum levels stated in the MUTCD. The rule requires State and local agencies to implement a method for maintaining pavement marketing retroreflectivity within 4 years, and these improvements are eligible for Federal-aid funding.
The rule recommends implementation methods that are available in a separate document, Methods for Maintaining Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity. Three videos, currently under development, will also describe specific measuring methods so that the retroreflective values can be tracked. More information on these videos is available in the announcements section.
For more information, please contact Paul LaFleur at email@example.com.
HSIP – Telling Our Story
By Rick Drumm, P.E., FHWA Office of Safety
A suite of factsheets that help tell the story of the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) have recently been published. These new fact sheets share information compiled from the States’ submitted 2021 HSIP annual reports. Along with overarching perspectives on the program, the fact sheets focus on some key issues. The following individual fact sheets are now available:
- HSIP Saves Lives (general info)
- Using Data to Drive HSIP Investments
- HSIP Calms Intersections
- HSIP Funds Proven Safety Countermeasures
- HSIP Reaches Rural Roads
- HSIP Supports Safer Railway-Highway Crossings
The information in these fact sheets help tell the story of the HSIP – funds invested, project types constructed, countermeasures implemented, and results. Along with data, most of the fact sheets also include an HSIP in Action story that relates the experience of a State or Local agency in implementing safety improvements on their roads.
These fact sheets are excellent summaries that illustrate the big picture behind the Highway Safety Improvement Program. Agencies and practitioners can use this information to communicate fact-based information to management, learn about different successful initiatives, and see where the safety program is going from a national perspective.
For more information on the HSIP, please contact Rick Drumm, firstname.lastname@example.org.
EDC-7’s Nighttime Visibility for Safety Initiative
By Joe Cheung, P.E., FHWA Office of Safety, and Tori Brinkly, P.E., FHWA Resource Center Safety & Design Team
The statistics make it clear: Nighttime visibility is a problem on our roadways.
- The nighttime fatality rate is three times the daytime rate.
- Some 76 percent of pedestrian fatalities occur at night.
Enhancing visibility between drivers and other road users will save many lives on our roads. A key countermeasure in this initiative is lighting. Considerations including lighting design and application for pedestrians, bicyclists, and at intersections complemented with placement of traffic control devices are key to solving this problem.
The EDC-7 Summit was held February 14-16, 2023, and the theme of day one was improving safety for all users, with one of the featured innovations being Nighttime Visibility for Safety. Over 1,000 participants attended the breakout session on February 14th, and several joined the mini-discussions and office hours held during the rest of the summit. If you missed the breakout session, you can still view it on-demand at the summit website.
Keep an eye out for more presentations on this initiative at the Center for Local Aid Support webinar and the Arkansas Transportation Research Conference, both held in May, and the Colorado Safety Summit and ITE Annual Meeting in August.
Stay up-to-date on the EDC-7 initiative Nighttime Visibility for Safety by subscribing to the Nighttime Visibility for Safety e-News to receive updates on webinars, case studies, videos and more!For more information, please contact Tori Brinkly at email@example.com, Joseph Cheung at firstname.lastname@example.org, or George Merritt at email@example.com.
A Look Back at 2023’s National Work Zone Awareness Week
By Martha Kapitanov, FHWA Office of Operations
The annual National Work Zone Awareness Week spotlights critical safety issues in our nation’s work zones. From 2020 to 2021, work zone fatalities increased by 10.8 percent1 and 108 workers2 were killed in road construction sites. The overall trend of commercial motor vehicle-involved fatal work zone crashes in the past 10 years has also been increasing. The USDOT National Roadways Safety Strategy includes work zone safety for all road users and highway workers and encourages all stakeholders to work together in reducing fatalities and serious injuries in our Nation.
Work Zone Awareness Week
This year, the Missouri Department of Transportation hosted the 2023 National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) kickoff event on April 18 with the theme "You play a role in work zone safety. Work with us." The NWZAW kickoff event was held at the new I–70 westbound bridge over the Missouri River near Rocheport.
Everyone plays a role in work zone safety, so NWZAW featured events to engage everyone in working to reduce deaths and serious injuries on our roadways. These events included:
- Work Zone Safety Training Day – Stakeholders were encouraged to pause during the workday for safety demonstrations, discussions about safety policies and other prevention steps.
- National Kickoff Event – You can review the recording on MoDOT’s webpage.
- Go Orange Day – FHWA and its NWZAW partners wore orange on April 19 as a show of support for highway workers.
- Social Media Storm – FHWA and its NWZAW partners stormed social media with the hashtag #orange4safety during the 2023 National Work Zone Awareness Week.
- Moment of Silence – This moment of silence started in 2022 to remember the people whose lives were lost in a work zone incident.
Strategies for Improving Work Zone Safety
Innovative strategies and technologies can improve work zone safety. In 2021 speeding was a factor in 32 percent of fatal work zone crashes, so slowing traffic down will save lives. One strategy for improving work zone safety by slowing traffic is speed safety cameras.
Safety speed cameras (SSC)—also referred to as automated speed enforcement—are now being deployed by many States to help reduce speeds and increase work zone safety. Legislation in 10 States has authorized SSC in work zones.
The use of SSC supports the Safe System Approach and Proven Safety Countermeasures initiative, while allowing agencies to supplement more traditional methods of enforcement, engineering measures, and education to alter the social norms of speeding.
The following are additional resources that offer strategic information on improving safety:
- Smart Work Zones – Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse
- Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Safety in Work Zones – FHWA Work Zone (dot.gov)
- Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety – Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse
- Worker Safety – FHWA Work Zone (dot.gov)
- National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse
- Online Courses – National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse
For more information, please contact Martha Kapitanov at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 FARS 2020 final file and 2021 annual report file, NHTSA. FARS data shown here are from the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. [ Return to Note 1 ]
2 2020 and 2021 census of fatal occupational injuries, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, in cooperation with States, New York City, the District of Columbia, and Federal agencies. [ Return to Note 2 ]
Advancing Equity in Roadway Safety
By Anthony Boutros, FHWA Equity in Roadway Safety Program Manager
To address the national roadway fatality crisis, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is encouraging transportation agencies to adopt the Safe System Approach. The Safe System Approach (SSA) is a human-centered approach that anticipates human mistakes and accommodates human vulnerabilities by designing and operating the roadway system so it is safe for everyone—particularly for people who are disproportionately impacted by crash fatalities and serious injuries. To reach zero deaths and serious injuries, the SSA should be applied equitably to address these disparities.
Disparities in Roadway Fatalities and Serious Injuries
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines health disparities as preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence, or in opportunities to achieve optimal health experienced by socially disadvantaged racial, ethnic, and other population groups and communities.
Transportation is a key determinant in influencing a person’s health, including access to public and active transportation, safe and health-promoting green spaces for exercise and recreation, and connectivity to economic and social opportunities. Transportation infrastructure can play a key role in reducing health disparities.
Transportation infrastructure can connect people to opportunities such as safe housing, nutritious food, physical activity, education, and job opportunities. Some transportation infrastructure decisions, however, have exposed some groups to disproportionate burdens—including disparate fatal and serious injury crashes.
The disparities in transportation burdens and benefits are, in large part, a result of historic and present-day disinvestment in underserved communities and underrepresentation of disadvantaged communities in planning, project development, construc¬tion, operations, and maintenance for the transportation system.
FHWA is working to address disparities and expand opportunities to improve the health and wellbeing of all people. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which includes a generational investment in transportation infrastructure, integrated equity into multiple new programs, including the Reconnecting Communities Pilot (RCP) program and the Safe Streets and Roads for All grant program.
Equity ensures the specific needs of underserved communities are considered and addressed. Incorporating equity into roadway safety should involve working with underserved communities to:
- Collect and analyze data to identify communities experiencing disparities in roadway fatalities and serious injuries.
- Engage community representatives to understand their transportation safety needs and build trust.
- Implement improvements in safety planning, funding, design, operations, and asset management processes to eliminate disparities in traffic fatalities and serious injuries.
- Evaluate impacts by monitoring outcomes and working to continuously improve safety outcomes with communities.
FHWA is working to provide resources that can assist in applying Equity into Roadway Safety processes:
- Equity in Roadway Safety Website
- Equity in Roadway Safety Webinar Series
- Integrating Equity into the Safe System Approach Presentation
- Noteworthy Practices:
- California: Integrating the Safe System Approach and Equity into California’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan
- Minnesota: MnDOT’s SPACE Tool: Using Equity Data to Inform Active Transportation Safety
- San Francisco: Equity Approaches for Vision Zero
- Virginia: "E is for Everybody": Using Equity to Prioritize Pedestrian Safety Projects and Make the Case for Greater State Funding
For more information, please contact Anthony Boutros at email@example.com.
Reaching Zero Together – The Vision Zero Community Pairing Program
Chimai Ngo, FHWA Office of Safety, and Renee Blackburn, Volpe
Partnerships in the vision zero community pairing program. (Source: FHWA)
Vision Zero is a paradigm shift, a fundamental change in how organizations approach and address safety. The real change, however, comes when the approach becomes action, and safety is front and center in every decision.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), with assistance from the Volpe Center, hosts the Vision Zero Community Pairing Program to provide a platform for communities that adopted Vision Zero to assist one another in implementing change. Through this program, participating communities share knowledge, assess strategies and actions, and forge beneficial learning relationships.
The Community Pairing Program features two types of partnerships. The first type is a mentor-mentee partnership in which an earlier adopter community is paired with a more recent adopter community. In this partnership, a mentee community receives a learning opportunity from a mentor community. Through this process, the mentor community also benefits from the opportunity to reflect and evaluate its safety activities. The second type is a peer partnership in which both communities are in similar stages of implementing their Vision Zero programs. They share experiences, policies, and practices, and are a sounding board for each other to address their safety concerns and goals.
In 2022, FHWA kicked off the Vision Zero Community Pairing Program with a one-year pilot. FHWA adapted select elements from a model in North Carolina, which the University of Carolina at Chapel Hill has been implementing for the past several years. This model focuses on collaborative Vision Zero planning and work among communities in North Carolina.
The FHWA pilot included three community pairs:
- Richmond, VA, and Tampa, FL: mentor/mentee
- Portland, OR, and Minneapolis, MN: peers
- Metro (Portland area metropolitan planning organization (MPO)), OR, and Broward County MPO, FL: mentor/mentee
Work Plan and Meetings
Each pair developed a work plan to guide the communities to move forward on Vision Zero together. The plan included the communities’ goals, areas in which the communities wished to help one another, or areas that the mentee communities wished to explore with the help from the mentor community. Each pair met virtually at least monthly to discuss, share, learn, and bounce ideas off one another. The pair also had opportunities to communicate via different methods as often as necessary. FHWA provided facilitation support throughout and mid and end of year check-ins.
May forum presentation. (Source: Oregon Metro and City of Portland)
Every quarter, the pilot communities met virtually to share their efforts. Each virtual meeting was dedicated to a topic that had been selected based on the group’s input. At first, the format focused on presentations and problem solving, but it soon shifted to become more interactive and encouraged sharing and learning among participants.
During the first quarterly forum in February 2022, participants from Richmond presented on their quick-build projects. In May, Metro and Portland participants presented on their joint efforts to address safety on urban arterials in Portland. In August, Tampa and Alameda participants started the forum with short talks about their respective communities’ Vision Zero staffing recruitment and retention practices. During the final quarterly forum in November, the Minneapolis participant kicked off the meeting with a short discussion of the city’s community engagement and outreach efforts. Following the presentation or discussion in each forum, other participants shared their experiences, challenges, and ways to overcome the challenges. For example, the discussion themes in the August forum included interdepartmental coordination, dedicating staff to Vision Zero, recruiting and retaining staff. The discussion themes in the November forum included prioritizing engagement efforts, finding bandwidth for engagement, evaluating engagement efforts, and coordinating with non-transportation sectors.
Site visit agenda. (Source: City of Richmond, VA)
One of the key components of the pilot program was site visits. Pairs were encouraged to plan FHWA-funded site visits to their respective communities, if possible, at key times like special events, meetings, or project milestones. Site visits provided another layer of interaction and allowed the pairs to see how Vision Zero implementation is happening in place, in real time. Because of the pandemic, only one pair was able to take advantage of this opportunity. The Richmond participant traveled to Tampa and Tampa participants traveled to Richmond in April and May, respectively, to learn and gain feedback from one another’s Vision Zero implementation efforts. A summary of these visits is available.
At the end of the pilot, participants shared their feedback, including the following:
- Collaborating and sharing stories with another community helped communities prioritize their activities.
- Working on issues that paired communities had in common was helpful.
- Having time to talk about issues as they came up throughout the one-year pilot, rather than packing everything into a time limited meeting or peer exchange was valuable.
- Helping a new VZ community feel comfortable and confident through mentorship was motivational.
- Being a mentor helped one MPO reflect on the role of an MPO in Vision Zero in terms of what an MPO can do to be most supportive to member cities and counties.
- Being a mentor raised a Vision Zero program’s level of stature and credibility.
- Keeping participants on track through monthly one-on-one meetings was helpful.
- Participating in the quarterly webinars gave ideas for topics to touch on in the one-on-one meetings.
- Visiting in-person was instrumental in fostering the relationship between the two communities. Participants benefited from collaborating with various local agencies and organizations, and in-person meetings prompted questions that may not have come up virtually.
- Participants planned to continue meeting beyond the pilot.
Participants also shared their suggestions for improvements:
- Pair communities based on a limited number of topics that both communities are interested in. For example, updating Vision Zero action plans, a particular legislative agenda, and specific infrastructure implementation.
- Consider sharing news from FHWA, such as updates on national-level efforts and funding opportunities, and suggestions on participants’ role at the State level to support national-level efforts.
- Consider fewer formal meetings and have more opportunities for ad-hoc meetings with communities.
2023 Vision Zero Community Pairing Program
The Vision Zero Community Pairing Program advanced from a pilot to a permanent program in 2023. It was also expanded from one to two years per cohort. Six community pairs kicked off their partnerships in January 2023:
- Daly City, CA, and Deerfield Beach, FL: mentor/mentee
- Richmond, VA and Trenton, NJ: mentor/mentee
- New York City, NY; Greensboro, NC; and Alameda, CA: mentor/two mentees
- Bellevue, WA, and Houston, TX: peers
- Boston, MA, and Hoboken, NJ: peers
- DRCOG (Denver Regional Council of Governments), CO, and Metro (MPO), OR: peers
The program format follows that of the pilot, but incorporates improvements based on the pilot participants’ suggestions. Pairs were matched based on several factors, including Vision Zero adoption stage and also topic interests. To make the most out of the partnerships, the partners will focus on fewer topics that are critical to the communities’ efforts to reach their goals of zero road fatalities and serious injuries.
As in the pilot, each pair must develop a work plan to communicate goals and emphasis areas throughout the two-year period. To encourage collaboration, the program also has an MS Teams channel and a SharePoint site. An individual Teams channel for each pair allows the pair to easily share information with each other. The SharePoint site also allows the FHWA project team to share information on the program requirements and contacts, upcoming program or external events, and other pertinent information, like the Vision Zero Community of Practice. The program continues the quarterly forums with an addition of a quick presentation on news and announcements from FHWA as suggested by the pilot participants. FHWA continues to offer in-person site visits and encourages participants to make these visits during the first year of the program.
To date, the 2023 program has held a kickoff meeting and individual meetings with all pairs. Each pair has worked together to create a work plan that guides them through the two-year period. Participants held the first quarterly forum in April 2023. Its focus was on communicating Vision Zero with the public. The forum started with a short presentation from FHWA and a short discussion by a participant from Daly City on the City’s Vision Zero outreach campaign. The group used the rest of the forum as a facilitated discussion where participants addressed the pre-submitted questions and discussed successes, challenges, and areas for growth. In terms of site visits, several pairs have initiated planning for their trips.
The 2023 program has started on many positive notes, with the pairs already helping one another to make big shifts in their respective approaches to addressing safety.For more information about the visit the FHWA’s Vision Zero Community Pairing Program page or contact Chimai Ngo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The City of Portland, Oregon, Lives Out Its Safety Culture
By Chimai Ngo, FHWA Office of Safety, and Kevin Elliott, ARA
What does it look like when a transportation agency has a culture of roadway safety?
One of the bike friendly speed cushions Portland is evaluating. (Source: PBOT)
Culture affects choices, so it follows that agencies with a robust safety culture would make different choices than those without one.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) in Portland, Oregon is choosing to make its roads safer for all travelers in real ways. PBOT traffic engineer Scott Batson has led many of these efforts.
"We have prioritized non-vehicular travel and safe travel for all users on our local roads," said Batson. "That means changing our policies and physically changing our road system to make that happen."
For instance, in 2015, PBOT committed to a goal of limiting automobile traffic on neighborhood greenways—residential streets shared by all users but prioritized for biking and walking comfort and safety—to 1,000 vehicles per day.
"Mitigation is considered at 1,500 automobiles per day and required at 2,000 per day," Batson said. "If traffic exceeds our thresholds, we re-route the roadways and restrict vehicle access to the greenways."
A street was closed and a small park expanded, with bike access preserved, for a bikeway project. (Source: PBOT)
Test of a mini-roundabout. (Source: PBOT)
A refuge island with a Z-crossing that directs the pedestrian to focus on oncoming traffic before they enter the roadway from the island. (Source: PBOT)
Like many cities, Portland installs traffic calming measures like speed bumps to maintain safe speeds. However, these solutions are customized for specific users.
PBOT works with community members to explain and demonstrate the safety benefits of interventions.
"Sometimes we make an improvement temporary at first, as a pilot project, so people can try it out," said Batson. "Then we adjust based on feedback and people become comfortable with the improvements."
When Portland ran into concerns from the fire department about the impact of speed bumps on their response time, Batson worked with Portland Fire & Rescue to design two versions of fire-truck friendly speed bumps. That work has also led to a bike-friendly version currently being evaluated.
PBOT is also changing the configuration of multiple intersections to prioritize safety, installing mini-roundabouts to accommodate bicyclists, designing full roundabouts to eliminate severe left-turn crashes, and in 2022 building Portland’s first protected intersection.
"The roundabout is the safest intersection design in the world," Batson said. "They are a win-win. Vehicles maintain throughput but fatalities essentially disappear."
Batson exemplifies what a safety champion can do in a transportation agency with a healthy safety culture.
"Scott has led on developing context-specific speed bump design, collaborating with the fire department on traffic calming approaches, and designing roundabouts at key intersections," said Wendy Cawley, PBOT’s Interim Deputy Director and former City Traffic Engineer. "His safety-focused innovation and his collaboration across teams within transportation and with other parts of local and State government have really helped build a culture of safety in our traffic engineering team."
These safety choices are not temporary. Portland has codified safety into its Transportation System Plan, the 20-year long-range plan that sets policies and defines which projects will be eligible for Federal funding. Safety is also central to the bureau's four-year strategic plan.
Cawley credits Batson with advancing PBOT’s move toward safer streets.
"Scott has devoted most of his career to traffic calming at the City of Portland," Cawley said. "His consistent and methodical approach to design has resulted in a legacy of slower streets and more enjoyable journeys for people walking and rolling in Portland."For more information, please contact Chimai Ngo at email@example.com.
SS4A 2022 Awards
By Meg Miller and Jason Broehm, FHWA Office of Safety
Grants awarded. (Source: FHWA)
On February 1, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg announced $800 million in grant awards for 511 Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) projects. The Department also launched a data visualization tool that shows crash hotspots and can help target needed resources.
The SS4A awards fund improved safety planning for over half the Nation’s population and will fundamentally change how roadway safety is addressed in communities. Through SS4A, the Department is awarding grants for both planning and implementation projects. Action plan grants assist communities that do not currently have a roadway safety plan in place to reduce roadway fatalities, laying the groundwork for a comprehensive set of actions. Implementation grants provide funding for communities to implement strategies and projects that will reduce or eliminate transportation-related fatalities and serious injuries.
The Department is awarding 474 action plan grants and 37 implementation grants in this first round of the program.
Here are several examples of communities being funded through these awards:
- $12.9 million for Modoc County and Fort Bidwell Tribal Reservation, California, to improve safety along two corridors in rural, disadvantaged communities and Tribal areas by implementing community requests for bicycle lanes, pedestrian crosswalks, speed control, and mobility-assisted support infrastructure.
- $19.7 million for Hillsborough County, Florida, to implement low-cost and proven safety measures including sidewalks, bicycle lanes, and speed management to improve safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, and drivers at approximately 22 locations in the county.
- $10.4 million for Fayette County, Iowa, to address roadway departure crashes along approximately 50 miles of roadway through shoulder widening, rumble strips, and other low-cost treatments. Lane departure crashes account for nearly 60 percent of the fatalities and serious injuries in the area.
- $24.8 million for the City of Detroit, Michigan, to redesign existing or inadequate transportation infrastructure in high-crash areas, focusing on pedestrian/bicyclist safety and safer speeds for vehicle traffic.
- $4.4 million for the City of Charlotte, North Carolina, to help implement the city’s Vision Zero strategies to reduce risky roadway behavior through infrastructure improvements, with a focus on safer intersections and reducing pedestrian-involved crashes.
2023 National Roadway Safety Awards Call for Nominations
By Joe Heflin, FHWA, and Bruce Hamilton, Roadway Safety Foundation
Attendees at the 2021 National Roadway Safety Awards virtual ceremony, keynoted by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and emceed by former RSF Executive Director Greg Cohen and FHWA Associate Administrator for Safety Cheryl Walker. (Source: FHWA)
The Roadway Safety Foundation (RSF) is pleased to announce that it has again teamed up with the Federal Highway Administration Office of Safety to co-sponsor the 2023 National Roadway Safety Awards Program.
Every two years, this prestigious awards program honors public agencies and organizations in the transportation community that have developed innovative safety plans and/or implemented data-driven engineering or operational improvements that significantly reduce deaths and serious injuries. Criteria for determining winning projects include safety effectiveness, innovation/transformation, and cost-efficiency/economic strength. Awards are given in two categories:
- Infrastructure and operational improvements
- Program planning, development, and evaluation
Selected projects and programs are included in a noteworthy practices guide so they can be replicated nationwide. Award winners are also honored at a ceremony with senior officials from the U.S. Department of Transportation on Capitol Hill and receive assistance generating positive media coverage in their home communities. For more than two decades, this program has shined a spotlight on practitioners who are the unsung heroes of highway safety, and we are delighted to be able to keep the tradition going once again.
Know of a groundbreaking, innovative road safety project or program?
Note that only public agencies may serve as lead applicants for an award; however, nonprofits or private entities may cosponsor a submission provided it is in partnership with a public agency.
For more information, please contact Joe Heflin at firstname.lastname@example.org or Bruce Hamilton at email@example.com.
2023 Safe Streets and Roads for All NOFO is now Live!
New Video Series: Content Overview of New MUTCD Sections
Two new videos are being developed that give an overview of the contents of the new pavement markings section in the MUTCD. They will be posted under Implementation Tools on FHWAs Pavement Markings website. One is an executive-level overview (approx. 2.5 minutes), the other is a practitioner-level overview that will help decisionmakers consider which method(s) might work for them and their agencies (10 minutes).
Three additional videos go into the five specific methods for implementing the rule. These methods include the measured retroreflectivity method, calibrated pavement markings nighttime visual inspection method, consistent parameters nighttime visual inspection method, service life based on historical data method, and service life based on monitored markings method. FHWA anticipates these instructional videos will be available in early June under Implementation Tools on the same website.
For more information, contact Paul LaFleur at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming Conferences and Events
Tools to Conduct Equitable Safety Data Analysis. June 14, 2023. Part of FHWA’s Equity in Roadway Safety Webinar Series, this webinar introduces practitioners to the latest USDOT tools to equitably analyze data for roadway safety planning, project prioritization, and discretionary grant applications.
National Association of Counties (NACo) Annual Conference and Exposition. Austin, Texas. July 21–24, 2023. The NACo annual conference is a meeting of county-elected and appointed officials from across the country coming together to shape NACo's Federal policy agenda, share proven practices, and strengthen knowledge networks.
Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) Annual Meeting. New York City, New York. August 12–16, 2023. With traffic fatalities and dangerous driving at unprecedented levels, it’s critical to bring together highway safety, public health, law enforcement and business leaders from across the nation to address the ongoing roadway safety crisis. As a result, the theme of this year’s event is "Connecting Communities, Putting Vision Zero into Action."
ITE Annual Meeting. Portland, Oregon. August 13–16, 2023. With a theme of "Connecting People and Communities," transportation professionals attending this event will discover new tools for transportation system management as well as networking opportunities.
American Public Works Association (APWX) Public Works Expo (PWX). San Diego, California. August 27–30. The annual PWX multimodal learning experience is designed for professionals across the spectrum of public works. The expo includes a variety of traditional and interactive sessions, seminars, workshops, and networking opportunities.
The Safety Compass Newsletter
is a publication of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
FHWA publishes the Safety Compass newsletter 3 times a year. We can be reached at:
FHWA Office of Safety
1200 New Jersey Ave. SE
Washington, DC 20590
The Safety Compass is available online at the FHWA Office of Safety web site at: https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/newsletter/safetycompass/.
We welcome your comments and highway safety-related articles. The purpose of this newsletter is to increase highway safety awareness and information and to provide resources to help save lives.
We encourage readers to submit highway safety articles that might be of value to the highway safety community. Send your comments, questions, and articles for review electronically to Jennifer Warren at: email@example.com.