July 15, 2021
Innovation of the Month:
Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures
Over the last few weeks, we’ve highlighted transportation agencies that have deployed the four pillars of the Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures (FoRRRwD) initiative. Today, we’ll share how the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) is using safety action plans to make rural roads safer across the State.
In 2013, after nearly 600 people died in Alabama as a result of a roadway departure, FHWA helped ALDOT create a safety action plan specifically for roadway departure crashes on the State system. ALDOT focused improvements at nearly 400 curves and added roadway departure countermeasures to resurfacing projects. As a result, they found that widening shoulders and installing rumble strips can reduce severe roadway departure crashes by 18-28 percent.
However, because nearly half of the rural roadway departure fatalities in Alabama happen on the local road system, ALDOT expanded their focus to address all public roads.Â One of the strategies that ALDOT used was to dedicate $4 million for local safety projects annually, either from the High Risk Rural Roads (HRRR) Program or the ALDOT Local Road Safety Initiative.
Elmore County piloted the first Local Road Safety Plan (LRSP) in Alabama and used a systemic approach to identify potential improvements. With the HRRR funding, several projects from their plan that implemented proven countermeasures have been completed. Based on the success of the Elmore County plan, ALDOT obtained a State Transportation Innovation Council (STIC) Incentive program award and leveraged Highway Safety Improvement program (HSIP) funds to assist 10 additional counties in developing LRSPs of their own.
In addition, ALDOT provides crash data to local agencies through the Critical Analysis Reporting Environment (CARE) platform. ALDOT has also used the FHWA Crash Tree Maker which uses crash data to help visualize safety issues and identify the types of locations at most risk of severe crashes. This data is crucial for agencies to apply the systemic approach.
Alabama has used safety action plans to address both State and local rural roads systemically to identify locations where proven countermeasures like signing, rumble strips and shoulder widening can make the greatest impact. This has put them on the path to reducing rural roadway departures. Alabama is moving FoRRRwD on all four pillars.
Leveraging Road Weather Data for Performance Management Dashboards and Reports
A fact sheet developed by the Weather Responsive Management Strategies (WRMS) team provides an overview of how agencies may leverage road weather data to develop and improve performance measures for enhanced storm management and performance management dashboards.
Performance management is an important application for WRMS that enables agencies to better guide investments and measure progress by utilizing historic and real-time data, as well as forecasted information. WRMS data management tools can use road weather data from mobile and connected vehicle technologies to enhance agencies’ existing performance measures and improve how agencies manage the performance of their road weather operations and maintenance activities.
The fact sheet also discusses considerations for data collection; development of road weather performance indices; data usage, application, and sharing; and provides resources for topics such as: performance measures in snow and ice control operations, snow removal performance metrics, and examples of State DOT dashboards where performance measures are displayed.
To learn more about how to leverage road weather data in your agency’s performance measures, contact David Johnson, FHWA Office of Operations.
Intersection Safety Outreach and Education Products Available
FHWA's Intersection Safety Program is pleased to share outreach and education products to assist State, local, and Tribal partners in advancing intersection safety efforts in their communities.
These three one-page documents will undoubtedly become sought after handouts at your next conference booth, training, or public meeting!
- High Friction Surface Treatment for Intersections
- Intersection Control Evaluation (ICE) Policies and Procedures
- Roundabout Rules — Slow Down, Look around, Be Ready to Yield
To learn more about these and other resources and how they could improve your agency’s safety efforts, please contact Jeff Shaw, FHWA Office of Safety.
Discover Home-Grown Innovations from Around the Country
Are you interested in homegrown innovations being used by your peers in other parts of the country? Check out the National STIC Network Showcase, a component of the EDC-6 Virtual Summit. This site features a convenient one-time registration that will allow you to continue accessing information throughout 2021.
The showcase prominently features several innovations focused on rural roadway safety. Learn about the Utah DOT's Rural Intersection Conflict Warning System (RICWS), which helped improve safety in rural areas where other options may be too cost prohibitive; and Puerto Rico's High Crash Location Report, which documents and defines these locations by functional classification, emphasis areas, and special cases such as festive periods, elderly drivers, pedestrians, and more.
Celebrate the ingenuity of your peers and read about these innovations—developed and deployed in-house at transportation agencies nationwide. Additionally, we invite you to watch the one-hour presentations on-demand that feature many of these and other innovations.
Every Day Counts, a State-based program of the Federal Highway Administration’s Center for Accelerating Innovation, works with State, local, and private sector partners to encourage the adoption of proven technologies and innovations to shorten and enhance project delivery.
U.S Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration
EDC News; July 15, 2021