Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)
"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 21stCentury 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, system wide, multi-modal 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, DC in May 2000 to explore the independent planning processes and to identify data, tools, partners and other resources that are currently available or need to be developed for implementing the safety requirement. The meeting identified several issues, as well as some areas of agreement, associated with safety integration:
The Washington meeting also identified several key steps for promoting safety integration and a Steering Committee was formed to provide guidance and follow up. One of the recommended initiatives was to encourage a series of forums at the state level bringing representatives of the various interests together to discuss strategies for sharing resources and working collaboratively. Florida was one of six states that agreed to accept the challenge.
The National Steering Committee recognized the importance of establishing goals and objectives from both the national and state perspectives to ensure the forums produced measurable results. The Florida Planning Committee met on March 29, 2001 to discuss the forum's purpose, agenda, logistics and participants. Attendees included representatives of the Florida Department of Transportation, the Metropolitan Planning Organization Advisory Council, the Florida Highway Patrol and Motor Carriers Division, the Federal Highway Administration (Federal and Florida Division), the Federal Transit Administration and TRB.
The Steering Committee established national objectives for the forums:
The Florida Forum was held on July 24-25, 2001. Nearly 90 people attended.
The Florida Forum began with a panel of officials who welcomed the participants, provided background to set the stage for the meeting and suggested a set of challenges and objectives to be accomplished. The speakers were Ken Morefield, Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy, Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT); Jill Hochman, Director of the Office of Intermodal and Statewide Planning, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA); James St. John, Florida Division Administrator; FHWA, Derek Scott, Community Planner in the Southeastern Regional Office, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA); and Lt. Col. David Binder, Office of Motor Carrier Compliance, FDOT.
Morefield welcomed the participants and painted a grim picture of the Florida safety record by stating that the death toll rate has been higher than the national average for 20 years. Figure 1 demonstrates this point.
He said that Florida should be putting safety first on the agenda and charged the participants with the responsibility to review and assess current processes at all levels, to identify best practices for dissemination and implementation and to increase their awareness of what safety means in the context of individual responsibilities.
Hochman reviewed the TEA-21 planning requirement and history of the state forum process. The state forums appear to be producing a set of common issues and challenges that inhibit safety integration efforts. They include data, leadership, knowledge, expertise, tools, resources and politics. Hochman suggested potential roles for planning agencies:
She challenged the forum participants to accomplish a set of specific objectives:
How do we effectively communicate safety data and issues to public officials so they will provide the resources we need to improve safety?
St. John endorsed the challenges provided by Morefield and Hochman and emphasized the need for better communications between DOT/FHWA employees and the highway safety community members more oriented toward education, awareness and enforcement strategies. He explained that DOT/FHWA employees feel it is inaccurate to measure safety performance based on factors that are outside the FHWA and FDOT control, such as aggressive and impaired driving. However, he encouraged the audience to put provincial attitudes aside and use this meeting to think "outside the box," work hard and take home at least one or two ideas to try. Derek Scott warned the group that failure to present a real or perceived safe environment in the transit system would eliminate the customers. He also pointed out that pedestrians serve as the customer base for transit systems implying that personal security is part of the larger safety issue for transit systems. Scott discussed the issue of scarce resources. He said that the primary challenge lies in determining priorities, i.e. the issue isn't knowing what to do, it's knowing what to dofirst.
David Binder concluded the introductory panel of the forum. He focused on partnerships and outreach noting that OMMC is involved in the state's safety management system, the trucking association and other organizations that address safety issues.
Safety integration requires at the very least that planners and safety partners understand each other's requirements, limitations and potential. The various planning process were presented to establish common understanding among the participants.
Bob Romig, Director of the Office of Policy Planning for FDOT, provided an overview of FDOT's approach to safety in the planning process. The 2020 Florida Transportation Plan (FTP) lists safety as its first goal.This document covers the entire state, not just FDOT. The specific safety objectives included in the FTP are as follows:
Figure 2 graphically depicts FDOT's goals, objectives and strategies that impact safety.
Howard Glassman, Executive Director, Metropolitan Planning Organization Advisory Council (MPOAC), provided an overview of the MPO organizational structure and functions within Florida. He explained that MPOAC is a statewide forum for policy discussion between metropolitan planning organizations. There are two parts to the organization: one represents elected officials while the other represents the MPO staffs. FDOT and FHWA participate in their deliberations.
Federal law created the MPOs to provide coordinated planning functions for urbanized areas. Florida's 25 MPOs represent 92 percent of the state's population and that proportion is growing.
MPOs provide a decision-making forum for state, regional, and local government officials who use a systems approach to transportation planning. Their primary functions are to address:
MPOs are required to produce 20-year long-range transportation plans, five-year transportation improvement programs and project priorities for highway, traffic management, transit, bikeway and pedestrian expenditures. They are committed to implement transportation projects that reflect neighborhood, environmental and social values. They accomplish the goal by conducting community impact assessments and promoting equal opportunity and environmental justice. They encourage early regulatory agency participation in the MPO process in areas such as environmental streamlining to reduce uncertainty in latter stages of project development and improve the likelihood of securing permits.
MPOs attempt to maintain support of their local and regional coalitions through all phases of project development to ensure that their projects maintain priority status and the continued support of newly elected officials.
In the recent past, FL MPOs have:
FDOT commissioned the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) to examine the MPO long-range transportation plans (LRTPs) and identify safety considerations.The CUTR analysis found little systematic consideration of safety in the LRTPs, but that does not necessarily mean that safety isn't considered somewhere else in the process. Typically safety is a factor included in MPO goals and objectives, the project prioritization process, measures of effectiveness and consideration of hurricane evacuation and bicycle/pedestrian safety. However, only two of the MPOs mentioned primary crash locations as a consideration of planned improvements.
Ed Mierzejewski, the CUTR analyst, concluded that, while there has been progress since TEA-21 especially in project selection and prioritization, most MPOs do not systematically address safety in the planning process. He recommended that the MPOs use accident data to identify needs and that they relate goals, objectives and effectiveness measures to the evaluation of alternatives.
Bob Kamm, Executive Director, Brevard Metropolitan Planning Organization, and Marlie Sanderson, Director of Transportation Planning/MPO Staff Director for the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council (Gainesville), educated the participants on the general planning process and identified specific safety countermeasure programs to showcase in their respective areas.
Brevard County includes the area from Titusville to Melbourne around the Kennedy Space Center. It has a population of 500,000, the eighth largest MPO in Florida. The MPO is an independent office under the Brevard County Commissioners and has a staff of seven. Gainesville is a leading edge health care and research community surrounded by pristine natural resources. It is also home of the University of Florida.
Planning Steps: The MPOs assess current conditions by conducting analyses of crash data and currently operating traffic safety programs in the area. The next step is the development of countermeasures guided by the 3Es of safety - engineering, enforcement and education. Implementation follows once there is policy level support, resource commitments and inter-agency coordination. The final step is to assess effectiveness.
Engineering factors are guided by the annual summary of transportation system performance required by the Brevard Congestion Management System. Roadway segments are monitored according to VMT, hours of delay, transit operations, level of service and other indicators.
Project evaluation factors include current congestion, future congestion, current volume, hurricane evacuation, regional connectivity, prior funding commitments and safety. The specific safety factors are determined by identifying all segments with more than 2.5 crashes per million VMT, and/or more than 15 crashes per mile. Crash rate thresholds are arbitrarily selected so that about 20 percent of segments are in only one category about 10 percent of segments are in both categories.
Crash data is available through the Brevard County Traffic Engineering Department. The traffic engineering staff compiles all crashes in Brevard (12,000 per year) in both incorporated and unincorporated areas. Both the long and short forms are analyzed as well as both state and local roads. The MPO pays 25 percent of the salary for a data entry clerk and has access to the database for evaluation as needed.
In the project selection process, seven factors are weighted and the corridors are scored and ranked. The safety factor represents 10 percent of the total score. The rankings provide technical support for MPO project priority determination. In the long-range transportation plan, safety is one of several factors used to evaluate future needs and inform a ranking procedure similar to the one used to select project priorities.
In 2002, the MPO plans to focus on high crash corridors, i.e., the 10 highest crash segments, formulate countermeasures (3 E's) to address patterns and work through the local Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) to implement countermeasures. The projects may be funded and assigned to the MPO, FDOT or locals for implementation. The MPO will monitor over the years to assess changes and improvements
Education and Enforcement programs include the Brevard MPO Bicycle Safety Program, which has grown into a district-wide, comprehensive K-6 traffic safety curriculum.
What began as a narrowly focused effort to respond to a specific class of accidents grew into a broader program concerning all aspects of the "journey to school" trip.
School Access Committees have been recruited and organized to address access confusion created by four modes converging at schools (bike, pedestrian, auto, bus). These inter-agency teams consist of staff from the school, the school board members, traffic engineering, law enforcement, the MPO staff and parents. This action evolved to include training for school crossing guards. The MPO organized the first countywide training program and developed a curriculum that is now used statewide as part of mandatory guard training.
After a high-profile accident, the MPO started the School Bus Stop Evaluation Program to review school bus stop safety (location and accessibility). They contracted with CUTR to produce a bus stop evaluation manual and set up an inter-agency team to evaluate bus stop locations on all high-speed roads.
The 1998 Bicycle Helmet Law required all cyclists under the age of 16 to wear a helmet. The County Commission was concerned that lax enforcement and income limitations would inhibit compliance, so they implemented the Headsmart program in cooperation with FDOT's Safety Office, the Brain Injury Foundation, Patrick Air Force Base, a local hospital, the local CTST and Brevard County schools. They purchased thousands of helmets for law enforcement officers to distribute to low-income children, worked through the Chiefs of Police Association to develop a consistent enforcement approach and added helmet education to the in-school curriculum.
Kamm offered the following suggestions to MPOs interested in safety integration:
The Gainesville MPO is part of a coordinated regional transportation system (RTS). Regional coordinating councils are an attempt to promote partnerships, cooperation and coordination among the various political jurisdictions. Figure 4 shows graphically the interrelated nature of the RTS. For example, the RTS partners with the University of Florida in promoting the use of transit by the students. An annual transit fee is included in the prepaid student fees. The practice results in two to six million student-riders per year.
The MPO 20-year plan is titled "Livable Community Reinvestment Plan" and serves as a long-term policy plan supporting a balanced transportation system that offers viable choices for all modes. The innovative planning approach is designed to test three different land use scenarios know as walkable downtown centers, highly developed mixed use centers where citizens reside, work, shop and enjoy entertainment and a high level of transit service.
Some of the specific projects Sanderson discussed were:
Ed Rice, State Safety Engineer, FDOT, presented a comprehensive overview of the state's safety program. He began by reminding the participants that the primary purpose of safety planning and programs is to prevent crashes and that most incidents are predictable and preventable.
Florida safety data is drawn from a number of sources including, FDOT (state system), the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's fatality database (FARS), local police departments and engineers and railroad companies. However, in Florida the "long form" or more comprehensive report on crashes is only required in the event of an injury or fatality. Therefore, the majority of crashes, if reported at all, are reported on the "short form" where much of the data necessary for analysis are missing. In the end, local programming is usually dependent on the crash statistics maintained by local enforcement agencies.
Rice reviewed the various safety programs in detail. (An outline of the process and priorities is included in Appendix C.) The presentation linked the DOT and highway safety funding sources, requirements and priorities in a single presentation.
The Safety Management System (SMS) requirement mandated in 1991 by ISTEA was codified in Floridaand the committee continues to meet regularly. The committee is representative of all public roads and includes the "4Es" or the elements of a multi-disciplinary team - engineering, enforcement, education and emergency services. Many of the programs and projects are identified, developed, implemented and evaluated at the local level through CTSTs. (CTSTs are discussed below.)
Lennon Moore, District Planning Manager and Tony Nosse, District Safety Manager represented the FDOT Districts. Moore explained that the District role is to provide policy direction, e.g. safety, preservation and capacity, technical assistance, funding, monitoring and reporting on all state funded projects in their jurisdictions. She said the Districts review projects for standards compliance and produce reports for the Executive Board, a body that overseas all state transportation issues and activities.
Nosse explained that the District safety personnel are responsible for working directly with the CTSTs. They provide technical assistance, oversight and help the CTSTs promote their projects for inclusion in the work plan. In many cases, the CTSTs have engineering subcommittees and part of the District Safety person's job is to encourage and provide incentives for the locals to work closely with engineers to include infrastructure assessments in their crash evaluation procedures and considerations. One of the challenges is to develop cost-benefit analyses on safety projects. As Nosse said, "How do you count the number of crashes that don't happen?"
The CTSTs, begun in the 1990's, are locally based programs representing the community perspective. Their approach is multi-disciplinary, e.g. the "4-E's," and they use local data to identify problems and develop programs to address them.
CTSTs have no statutory authority, formal rules or procedures or designated funding sources. The format is unique to Florida. There are now 52 teams in 50 counties. (See Figure 5) They meet regularly, elect officers and submit safety projects to FDOT Districts for funding consideration. The CTST Coalition represents them at the state level.
Walter Wobig, a Lieutenant with the Kissimmee Police Department and Chair of the CTST Coalition provided a pictorial example of how the CTSTs identify real and potential high crash locations. He showed one example of a low cost road improvement, e.g. changing a turn lane configuration to separate on-coming traffic that resulted in reducing accidents by 40 percent. Other safety issues that CTSTs are likely to address, depending on crash data and public sentiment, include motor cycles, railroads crossings, impaired driving, red light running, work zones, motor carriers (Share the Road campaigns), pedestrians (Walk America), bicyclists (Bike Florida) child safety seats, safety belts and school buses.
Ed Coven, Manager of the Public Transit Office, FDOT gave a tutorial on Florida's transit planning functions, programs and challenges. In 1984 the Florida legislature enacted legislation requiring FDOT to develop minimum safety standards for all state funded fixed guideway and bus transit systems. The statute requires these systems to develop a formal system safety program plan and prescribed a safety self-certification process for implementation and compliance. The primary FDOT responsibilities include:
Separate rules apply to fixed guideway and bus transit systems; the former are site specific while the latter have statewide application. Each is required to develop a system safety program plan, certify to implementation and compliance and certify to system safety for newly constructed systems and expansions to existing systems. FDOT's Office of Motor Carrier Compliance regulates non-public sector buses.
Public transportation has historically been a safe mode of transportation. However, with the exception of a limited number of regulations imposed by a few states, public transit operations are exempt from any type of operational safety standards. The State DOT's must pursue and promote mass transit safety and consider regulatory authority that would allow the adoption of safety standards for their public transit system.Plans are underway to accomplish the objective.
The FTA Bus Safety Initiative, which originated from NTSB recommendations, has developed four models for discussion:
Additional transit safety planning issues raised by Coven were:
Motor Carrier Safety
David Binder introduced the audience to Florida's motor carrier safety program by reviewing the OMMC mission statement. The Department employs 223 sworn state law enforcement officers with full police powers to enforce Florida Statutes and Chapter 49 CFR. They have 140 inspectors to manage 20 weigh stations where commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) are weighed, checked for proper licenses and measured to ensure compliance with dimension laws.
The Department will provide a safe transportation system that ensures the MOBILITY of people and goods; enhances economic PROSPERITY and PRESERVES the quality of our environment and communities.
In 2000, heavy truck related fatalities were at the lowest of the past few years (171). Binder said that heavy trucks account for 9 percent of the traffic stream but only 5.7 percent of traffic fatalities. OMMC implements a range of safety strategies to further improve safety. They include:
The main purpose of traffic law enforcement is to create voluntary compliance through stringent enforcement. By using increasing the amount of funds available for law enforcement personnel, we can deter violations and enhance safety.
The breakout group sessions began with brainstorming and defining the issues. Each of the four groups was allowed to attend two sessions of their choice. The topics included:
For the third and final breakout group session, the participants were asked to return to one of the first two groups to develop recommendations and action plans.
The breakout groups identified obstacles to implementing the recommended action steps. These challenges were consistent across all groups and topics.
The final event of the Florida Forum was a panel discussion representing FDOT, the MPOs and the safety community. Bob Romig reviewed the "common themes" that emerged from the presentation and breakout groups:
Ed Rice noted that the Forum was a timely event as the FL Secretary of Transportation had recently approached him with concerns about safety and said, "Let's do something different!" He also pointed out that, although he will assume responsibility for developing an action plan, the process will involve everybody. The district safety leaders will ultimately serve as the champions and implementers for the action plan.
Transportation Safety Planning
Transportation Safety Planning
Florida Forum on Safety in the Planning Process
July 24-25, 2001
Renaissance Orlando Resort
6677 Sea Harbor Drive
Orlando, Florida 32821-8092
Phone (407) 351-5555
Toll Free (800) 327-6677
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. Registration
1:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Welcome / Forum Purpose and Overview
Moderator: Susan Herbel, TRB
Speaker: Ken Morefield , Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy, Florida Department of Transportation)
Speaker: Jill Hochman, Director of Statewide Planning and Intermodal Programs and James St. John, Florida Division Administrator
Speaker: Derek Scott, Community Planner
Speaker: James Gregg, Director
1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Overview of the Current the Planning Processes
Moderator: Susan Herbel, TRB
Speakers: Robert Romig , Director of Policy Planning, Florida Department of Transportation and Ed Rice , State Safety Engineer
Speaker: Howard Glassman , Executive Director of the Metropolitan Planning Organization Advisory Committee
Speaker: Ed Coven , FDOT Public Transportation Manager
Speaker: Lt. Col. David Binder , State Motor Carrier
3:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. Afternoon Break
3:15 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Panel Discussion --"Experiences with incorporating safety into the transportation planning process"
Moderator: Susan Herbel, TRB
Bob Kamm, Executive Director, Brevard Metropolitan Planning Organization
Marlie Sanderson, Executive Director, Gainesville MPO
Raphael DeArazoza, Florida Department of Transportation District 6 Planning Manager
5:15 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Informal Reception hosted by Transportation Research Board
Wednesday, July 25, 2001
7:30 a.m. - 8:00 a.m. Continental Breakfast
8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. Plenary Session-- "Center for Urban Transportation Research Study (CUTR) on
Safety in the Planning Process"
8:30 a.m. - 8:45 a.m. Plenary Session - Question and Answer Session
8:45 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. Overview of Planning Forum Breakout Sessions
Speaker: Susan Herbel, TRB
9:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. Participants proceed to Breakout Rooms
9:15 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. Session 1 of Breakout Groups
10:15 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Morning Break / Proceed to Breakout Rooms for Session 2
10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Session 2 of Breakout Groups
Forum participants select an alternate breakout group
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Working Lunch / Reports and Presentation from Breakout Groups
Moderator: Susan Herbel, TRB.
1:00 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. Proceed to Breakout Rooms for Session 3
1:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. Session 3: Development of Conclusions/ Recommendations/Next Steps
Participants select one of the breakout groups to develop conclusions, recommendations, and next steps.
3:15 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Afternoon Break
3:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. Presentations from Breakout Groups:
"Conclusion, Recommendations and Next Steps"
Moderator: Susan Herbel, TRB
4:45 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Closing Remarks
Speaker: Ken Morefield , FDOT
5:00 p.m. Adjourn
Transportation Safety Planning
See Appendix A for a forum participants' list.
See Appendix B for a copy of the formal agenda.
The Florida and national fatality rates for 1999 were 2.1 and 1.5 respectively.
The language in the FTP reads "Safe Transportation for residents, visitors and commerce."
Florida's term limits work against this goal and have added substantially to the MPOs workload because they now must continually educate and advise a new set of elected officials.
Where plans were not available, the MPOs were surveyed by telephone.
In 1988 the Bicycle Plan identified a crash problem among 6-16 year old cyclists. Current programs were found to be generally ineffective. Implementing countermeasures required comprehensive, inter-agency action. The MPO adopted the Bicycle Plan (policy, not a facilities, plan), established reducing juvenile bicycle crashes as a priority and authorized hiring of a Bicycle Coordinator. In the School Bike Education Program, the MPO and School District cooperatively implemented the FDOT 4th grade bicycle education curriculum in five pilot school Physical Education (PE) classes in 1989 with 402 funds. They eventually trained a sufficient number of PE teachers to institutionalize the program in all elementary schools. At present, the program is self-sufficient and requires minimal MPO involvement.
The RTC purchases four lanes of right-away and creates a linear park with off road ped/bike paths.
The outline in Appendix C may be viewed as a "first step" to document the strategies in a single focus; therefore, it may prove useful to other states.
339. 177 F.S.
The SSPPs are required to address management, vehicle/equipment standards, operational standards, driving requirements, maintenance, training and drug free workplace issues and programs.
"Exercising Safety Oversight." James "Mike" Johnson, Transit Safety Manager, FDOT.
MCCO partners with other state and local law enforcement agencies to target impaired drivers and those committing hazardous moving violations such as speeding, following too closely and aggressive driving.
It was widely noted by the participants that, although invited, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, which is responsible for collecting accident data, did not attend the forum.
For example, it was pointed out that VMT is an inappropriate measure for assessing the effectiveness of pedestrian and bicycle programs. Also, using fatalities or fatal accidents as a performance measure may apply only to statewide statistics.
Many comments were made during the breakout sessions about the influence of the federal requirements on safety and planning. The Florida participants feel strongly that the current federal requirements, especially for the 20 year plan, creates a bias for adding more lanes, which may prove detrimental to safety.
Developers and bike owners were specifically identified as the "opposition."
Pedestrians and bicyclists account for 20 percent of Florida's traffic fatalities. The State mandates that these factors be taken into account on all projects (335.065(1) F.S.). Both MPO and State planners include peds and bikes as an element in the transportation planning process.
State law requires that every time a road is built, safety data must be examined and addressed in the planning and design process.