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Transportation Safety Planning: A NEW CONCEPT

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Transportation Safety Planning: a NEW CONCEPT


October 23-24, 2002


Arizona Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
Governor's Office of Highway Safety
Maricopa Association of Governments
Pima Association of Governments


Each statewide and metropolitan planning process shall provide for consideration of projects and strategies that will increase the safety and security of the transportation system for motorized and non-motorized users


In 1998, Congress passed the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century or TEA-21. For the first time, this legislation requires state departments of transportation (DOTs)and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) to incorporate safety and security as priority factors in their respective transportation planning processes and activities. Prior to TEA-21, safety was sometimes a prominent factor in project development and design, but this legislation calls for safety consciousness in a more comprehensive, systemwide, multimodal context. It implies collaboration with the highway safety and motor carrier safety communities, transit operators, local jurisdictions and others.

To initiate discussion on the TEA-21 safety-planning factor, approximately 40 experienced professionals convened in Washington, C in May 2000 to explore the independent planning processes and to identify data, tools, partners and other resources that are currently available or in need of development for implementing the safety requirement. The meeting identified several issues associated with safety integration:

The Washington meeting also identified several key steps for promoting safety conscious planning (TSP) and an informal ad hoc working group was formed to provide guidance and follow up. One of the recommended initiatives was to encourage a series of forums bringing representatives of the various interests together to discuss strategies for sharing resources and working collaboratively. Transportation planners from the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and other partners met October 23-24 to continue a dialogue begun during a March 2002 planning meeting. The purpose of the March meeting was to articulate objectives and outline an agenda, participant list, logistics and process for a statewide Arizona Forum.


The planning group articulated the following objectives for the Forum:


More than one third of the invited guests attended the Forum. (Appendix A lists the Forum participants.)


The Forum began with welcoming and thoughtful comments from Victor Mendez, Director of ADOT and Robert Hollis, Divison Administrator, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Roger Petzold, FHWA, discussed progress in safety planning since TEA-21 was passed. These presentations were following by a thorough analysis of the transportation planning processes from a variety of perspectives and in-depth discussion of specific safety issues, such as school zones, older person safety and mobility, red light running and others. Breakout discussion groups followed the presentations to develop and report on recommendations and action steps to advance safety in planning. The groups also evaluated the Forum and made recommendations for future meetings on the issue. (The agenda can be found in Appendix B.)

Welcome, Purpose and Overview

I challenge you to create action steps and recommendations that, when implemented, will protect and assist our customers.

Victor Mendez

Dale Buskirk welcomed the participants to the meeting and introduced Victor Mendez, Director, ADOT, who framed the issue and articulated the importance of safety from not only a transportation perspective but also a human point of view. The number of fatalities and injuries resulting from traffic incidents in 2001 was 42,116 and 3 million respectively. In the same year, there were 4.2 million property damage only crashes, which resulted in losses of untold millions of dollars. One of every four children born today will die in a crash and 115 die each and every day on the roadways.

Mendez reported the safety priorities of three federal agencies; FHWA, the Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to demonstrate that different perspectives result in different solutions that focus attention and resources. In each case, the priorities are supported by thorough analysis and documentation, yet they differ from one agency to the next.

  • Roadway departures
  • Intersections
  • Pedestrians
  • Driver fatigue
  • Vehicle safety
  • Enforcement
  • Hazardous materials
  • Safety belts and child safety seats
  • Drunk driving

Mendez compared road safety issues to the recent sniper incidents in the Washington, DC area to demonstrate the public's lack of sensitivity to highway and traffic incidents, deaths and injuries. He urged a better understanding of the desensitization toward safety and issued a challenge to use the Forum to improve safety in Arizona.

Our vision is that safety be included as a planning factor and a performance measure in all DOT and MPO plans and operations. The bottom line is we can do this but we need to do it together.

Bob Hollis

Bob Hollis announced that Mary Peters, FHWA Administrator is a strong advocate for transportation safety, and she has set an ambitious course over the next three - five years to save lives. FHWA is taking a multifaceted approach and intends to recruit and join partners from other transportation communities: highway safety, MPOs, DOTs and the US DOT sister agencies - NHTSA, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and FMCSA.

Since safety is a TEA-21 planning factor, DOT and MPO planners are required to consider safety at every step in the transportation planning process. It requires that planners, designers, engineers, and others break out of their silos of expertise and work collaboratively. For example, these communities might assist sister agencies campaigns to increase the use of safety belts. Hollis said that with everyone working together, the goal is to reduce crashes within the three FHWA priority areas by 10 percent.

: An Overview

In the past, safety considerations have taken place at the design stage. TEA-21 requires safety considerations in the planning process with systemwide and multimodal perspectives.

Roger Petzold

Roger Petzold discussed the implementation of past, current and future national initiatives to support of SCP. The concept operates ffectively in an environment where all planning agencies:

Common Challenges

Petzold described the experiences in other state-sponsored safety conscious planning forums. The issues appear to be somewhat consistent across jurisdictions.

Current Planning Processes

One of the forum purposes is to share information on the various planning processes to create a better understanding of potential opportunities for collaboration and information sharing. John Pein of ADOT and Roger Herzog of MAG addressed transportation planning from the state and local perspectives. Others addressed the public transit (Jim Dickey, RPTA), motor carriers (Max Lebleu, FMCSA) and rail (Joe Neblett, Jr. ADOT) planning processes.

Statewide Planning

ADOT is in the process of updating the long-range plan titled Move Arizona ( The plan is a strategy designed with public involvement and addressing all transportation modes. It directs transportation improvements and other activities. It is a collaborative effort involving many ADOT partners: MPOs, councils of government, the Arizona Transit Agency, the Intertribal Council, the relevant federal agencies and other interested stakeholders.

Three distinct phases are envisioned for accomplishing the work:

  1. The ADOT planning staff is reviewing and analyzing 130 plans from across the state to identify common themes to provide guidance for determining the strategic direction, a mission statement, goals and objectives.
  2. Phase II will educate the public through eight regional public forums, develop statewide recognition of the plan, evaluate the plan, policies, strategies and projects for acceptability, begin setting priorities and recruit support for the plan.
  3. Technical analysis, policy and project evaluation and plan development make up the third and final phase.

Unlike past planning efforts, Move Arizona will contain performance standards for regular measurement and evaluation. ADOT has formed Input Teams to guide and inform the plan's development. For example, one of the teams is responsible for providing crash and other forms of data. Another is known as the Continuity Team and is composed of senior staff in ADOT, the MPOs and the COGs. Its purpose is to ensure that the performance perspective is integrated into all divisions and all phases of the planning process, i.e., planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of the state's roadways.

In draft form, the long-range plan has five goals: access and mobility, safety, economic competitiveness, stewardship and environmental sensitivity. Performance will be measured by examining and evaluating factors associated with the transportation system: reliability, connectivity, economic competitiveness, resource conservation and context sensitive solutions.

Objectives for achieving the safety goals include:

MPO Planning

A representative of the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) presented the MPO planning perspective. As in some other urban areas, MAG has experienced enormous growth in recent years. The population's changing characteristics will have an effect on future transportation facilities and services.


The region grew by 45 percent during the 1990's to reach 1.3M people. The population is expected to reach 4M by 2010 and 8M by 2040.


Today, 28 percent of the region's inhabitants are of minority background and the proportion will increase to 40 percent by 2040.


The "graying of America" will have an especially large effect on southern regions of the country, including Arizona. Today 16 percent of the population in the MAG region is over 60 years of age. By 2040, the percentage of older citizens will reach 66 percent.

MPOs must address a variety of issues in the planning process including:

MAG addresses safety in partnership with the Transportation Safety Stakeholders, a group formed in November 2001. It is comprised of three safety teams or working groups: roadways, pedestrian/bicycle/transit and education/enforcement/emergency management. The group's accomplishments are impressive:


Safety is defined somewhat differently from a transit perspective. Fatalities are typically low and generally pedestrian related. School buses are particularly safe, but there are training issues that must be addressed. For example, children are trained to cross in back of a school bus, but the safest method when dealing with transit buses is to cross in front.


RPTA Objectives

Safety and Security Issues

Motor Carrier Safety

A state/federal partnership provides for motor carrier safety throughout the nation. Safety is maintained primarily through roadside and facility-based truck inspections and trucking company compliance reviews. The inspections ensure the trucks are operationally safe and the drivers comply with federal and state requirements in terms of licensing, medical records, hours of service, etc. The compliance reviews determine whether companies have implemented the required procedures and record keeping regulations. The goal is to reduce fatal accidents involving heavy vehicles 50 percent by 2010. At end of 2001, the partnership had achieved a six percent reduction in truck-related fatalities.



While truck inspections and trucking company compliance reviews follow standard procedures, the agencies have access to funding that allows corridor analyses and high accident location identification. Where warranted by the accident analysis, they have the authority to deploy personnel to increase inspections and enforcement in specific, high-risk locations.


Seventeen railroad companies provide service in Arizona. Fifteen own their own tracks, while two lease tracks. Safety is very high on their list of priorities in part because, being privately owned, accident costs are direct out of pocket expenditures.

Railroads address safety through track improvements, safety education and grade crossings improvements. Companies require special training for all engineers and tend to implement severe consequences for carelessness or failure to comply with standards and regulations. Operation Lifesaver, a nonprofit organization, provides education on rail safety and grade crossings.

Safety Issues

Safety conscious planning requires that a variety of specific issues be addressed. The Arizona Forum agenda focused on data, school zones, older person safety and mobility, legislation, red light running, drunk driving, speeding and unlicensed drivers.

Safety Data

Arizona planners have five essential databases with which to work: ALISS (Accident Location Identification Survey System). FARS (Fatality Analysis Reporting System), RXR (railroad crossings, TraCS (traffic and criminal software) and CODES (crash outcome data evaluation system). These systems are used to identify high crash locations and conduct other analyses. Reed Henry (ADOT) pointed out, in Arizona like other states, the problem is not necessarily lack of data as much as the availability of data analyses and information that specifically supports the safety planning process.

School Zones

Schools are responsible for identifying safe routes to school and training parents and children to identify and use them. School zones are dangerous in part because of their multimodal nature - cars, buses, bikes, pedestrians and others. According to Jeannie McKenzie-Lavelle, City of Glendale, schools are "disasters waiting to happen," but simple solutions are available.

The City of Glendale uses a program based on education, enforcement, engineering and evaluation to change habits, attitudes and responsibilities of children, school personnel, parents, police officers and the public. The safety rules are:

Education and enforcement have resulted in cooperation among all entities. The program is being offered along with training to other school districts in the state. The implementers are also approaching the legislature to implement oversight of land use requirements with respect to school locations.

Older Person Safety and Mobility

Sarath Joshua, MAG, described current challenges and his agency's approach to serving the aging population's transportation needs.




MAG created an Elderly Mobility Stakeholders Group, conducted an Aging and Mobility Conference in March 2002 and developed a Regional Action Plan on Aging and Mobility (

Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety

Richard Nassi, City of Tucson, described a "3E" approach for pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements. The best solution is voluntary compliance with laws and regulations, especially the posted speed limits. By implementing education, engineering and enforcement programs, the public will become accustomed to regularly adhering to traffic laws. However, in lieu of widespread compliance, other solutions are also available.


Mr. Nassi described a number of engineering improvements, most of which were related to signal technology and techniques, that not only effectively warn pedestrians and bicyclists, but also the motoring public.


One promising safety technology is automated enforcement of compliance with red lights and other traffic signals. Although many cities are reluctant to install them because of the potential citizen backlash, Pima County is achieving 95 percent compliance in signalized intersections with automated enforcement.


The Tucson Department of Transportation has developed and implemented a traffic and pedestrian safety program to educate the public on safe walking and bicycling practices. It is a multimedia presentation with a dummy, a coloring book and other materials. A local traffic reporter supports the effort by discussing traffic safety during rush hour traffic reports. The very popular program has been awarded an FHWA award for excellence in design and adult education. The program is available on the Institute for Transportation Engineers (ITE) web site (


Alberto Gutier, Governor's Representative for Highway Safety and lobbyist for the Governor's Office as well as the Governor's Office Highway Safety (GOHS), described lobbying as the art of compromise. He illustrated the concept by noting that the most effective countermeasure for reducing injury and death in the event of a crash is a safety belt. States with standard safety belt laws generally have higher use rates than those with secondary laws. A secondary law requires that a motorist be stopped for another "primary" traffic infraction before a citation for failure to wear a safety belt can be issued. Gutier said the "compromise" is not there for passing a standard law in Arizona; nevertheless, the use rate is 75 percent, which is the national average, with a secondary law.

Recent Legislation

Potential 2003 legislation


A panel discussion addressed a number of enforcement issues and programs. An officer described a red light running targeted intersection program in Phoenix that involves signage, enforcement and education. The program has resulted in a 22 percent reduction in crashes at the targeted intersections. In January 2002, red light cameras were installed at selected intersections resulting in a 51 percent crash reduction at those intersections.

Impaired driving laws in Arizona were described as the toughest in the nation. To raise public concern and awareness on the issue, GOHS plans a daily news release from mid-December through early January listing crashes and resulting deaths and injuries.

Certain Arizona motorcyclists are an especially difficult problem. These riders were described as "taunting enforcement" with unsafe, as well as uncivil behavior. The law enforcement community uses helicopters to video the behavior and ground patrols to follow up with citations and arrests in the more serious cases. The program has been made more effective by supportive media efforts.

Gutier and the panelists urged closer collaboration among all safety communities to create synergism and more effectively utilize limited resources. The Forum was viewed as an important first step for encouraging communication and collaboration.

Recommendations, Action Steps and Observations on the Forum

The participants divided into four groups to facilitate idea sharing. They discussed the information presented and developed conclusions, recommendations and action steps for presentation before the entire audience.

Recommendations and Action Steps

The discussion groups were challenged to identify and articulate action steps for consideration, especially in the long-range transportation plan currently under development. The groups were also invited to comment on the Forum experience and offer observations and recommendations with respect to the overall meeting.



Collaboration and Coordination

Marketing and Communication


Several recommended action steps focused on education as a partial and necessary solution to traffic safety problems.

Older Person Safety and Mobility


Observations on the Forum

The breakout groups were asked to provide observations on the Forum itself and make recommendations regarding the experience.



The Forum provided an opportunity to communicate and coordinate; to cross-pollinate among the silos of expertise and to meet nontraditional partners. The Forum also was helpful in identifying and addressing the lack of uniformity in planning and operations among the various jurisdictions. There was widespread and often repeated agreement that more workshops of this nature should be held.

Appendix A: Participant List
First Name Last Name Organization Phone E-mail
Diane Adams City of Glendale (623) 930-3507  
Jacquelyn M. Allgood ADOT (602) 709-0295
Aida Berkovitz NHTSA (415) 744-3089
Stuart Boggs RPTA
Len Bower AZ Dept.of Admin.
Debra Brisk ADOT (602) 712-7550
Jennifer Brown FHWA (602) 379-3645
Dale Buskirk ADOT (602) 712-8143
Paul Casertano Pima AOG (520) 792-1093
Ms. Chang University of Arizona    
Teri Collins RPTA (602) 261-8958
Bill Cox Navajo County (928) 524-4100  
Ferrin Crosby Apache County (928) 337-7528
Jim Dickey RPTA
Sylvia Grijalva FHWA
Alberto Gutier GOHiS (602) 255-3216
Rosendo Gutierrez ADOT (602) 712-6927
Reed Henry ADOT
Susan B. Herbel, Ph.D. FHWA (407) 829-6424
Roger Herzog Maricopa AOG (602) 254-6300
Robert E. Hollis FHWA (602) 379-3725
Christopher Jordan, P.E. Kimley-Horn (602) 906-1104
Sarath Joshua, P.E., Ph.D. Maricopa AOG (602) 254-6300
Michele Kogl, P.E. Maricopa DOT (602) 506-7300
Max Lebleu FMCSA/USDOT (602) 379-6851
Bill Leister Central Arizona AOG (520) 689-5004
Ali Makarachi City of Phoenix (602) 495-5740
Don Mauller ADOT
Jeannie McKenzie-Lavelle City of Glendale (623) 930-2951
Victor Mendez ADOT (602) 712-7227
Ms. Mitra University of Arizona    
Dennis Mittelstedt FHWA (602) 379-3645
Richard Nassi City of Tucson DOT (520) 791-4259
Scott Nodes City of Peoria (623) 773-7224
Steve Owen ADOT/ATRC (602) 712-6910
John Pein ADOT
Roger G. Petzold FHWA (202) 366-4074
Lucy Ranus St. Joseph's Hospital (602) 406-3868
Donna Russo MADD Arizona (602) 234-1754
Mr. Felipe Sanchez San Carlos Apache    
Tomi St. Mars, R.N. Desert Samaritan (602) 408-4894
Nicolaas Swart, P.E. Maricopa DOT (602) 506-0599
Larry T. Talley Mesa Transp. Division (480) 644-5073
Bill Vachon FHWA (602) 379-3645
Leticia Vargas Phoenix Transp. Dept. (602) 534-9529
Michael Vinson Gila Indian River Com.    
Mike Willet, P.E. Yavapai CO Public Works (928) 777-7521
Jim Williams ADOT (602) 712-7132
Matt Zoll Pima County DOT (520) 740-6746  

Appendix B: Agenda

Arizona's Forum

"A New Concept"

October 23-24, 2002

Embassy Suites Phoenix - North

2577 West Greenway Road

Phoenix, AZ 85023-4222

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. Registration

1:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Welcome / Forum Purpose and Overview

Moderator: Dale Buskirk, Arizona Department of Transportation

Welcome: Victor Mendez, Director, Arizona Department of Transportation

Introductory Comments: Robert E. Hollis, Division Administrator, Federal Highway Administration

Overview: Roger Petzold, Team Leader, Office of Intermodal and Statewide Planning, Federal Highway Administration

1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Overview of the Current Processes

Statewide: John Pein, Transportation Planning, Arizona Department of Transportation

Metropolitan: Roger Herzog, Senior Project Manager, Maricopa Association of Governments

Public Transportation: Jim Dickey, Deputy Executive Director, Operations and Planning, Regional Public Transportation Authority

Motor Carrier: Max LeBleu, Safety Program Manager, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Rail Safety: Joe Neblett Jr., Arizona Dept of Transportation

3:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. Afternoon Break

3:15 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Plenary Session - "Experiences with previous SCP Forums"

Speaker: Roger Petzold, Federal Highway Administration

4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Presentations on the Issues - Part I

Safety Data Needs: Reed Henry, ADOT

Safety in School Zones: Jeannie McKenzie-Lavelle, City of Glendale

Elderly Transportation Safety Challenges: Sarath Joshua, MAG

5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Reception

Thursday, October 24, 2002

7:30 a.m. - 8:00 a.m. Continental Breakfast

8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. Presentations on the Issues - Part I

Panel Discussion: Alberto Gutier - Governor's Representative for Highway Safety, moderator

Jack Love, Arizona Department of Public Safety

Jackie Allgood, ADOT Legislative Liaison

Joe Yahner - Phoenix Police Department, Traffic Unit

Legislative Update and Improvement of Statutes

Newly Emerging Safety Issues:

Red Light Running

Drunk driving


Unlicensed and Uninsured drivers

Auto, Pedestrian and Bicycle Interface: Richard Nassi, City of Tucson DOT

9:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m. Morning Break / Proceed to Breakout Rooms

10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. Development of Conclusions/Recommendations/Next Steps

11:00 a.m.-11:45 p.m. Presentations from Breakout Groups

11:45 p.m.-12:00 p.m. Closing Remarks

12:00 p.m. Adjourn

Updated: 3/27/2012
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