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Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-15-006    Date:  September/October 2015
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-15-006
Issue No: Vol. 79 No. 2
Date: September/October 2015


Along The Road

Along the Road is the place to look for information about current and upcoming activities, developments, trends, and items of general interest to the highway community. This information comes from U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) sources unless otherwise indicated. Your suggestions and input are welcome. Let’s meet along the road.

Management and Administration

Secretary Foxx Signs Memorandum Of Cooperation with India

In April 2015, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx traveled to Delhi, India, to sign a memorandum of cooperation on transportation with India’s Minister Nitin Gadkari, who oversees the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and Ministry of Shipping. The memorandum establishes a transportation partnership between USDOT and the Indian Ministries of Railways, Road Transport and Highways, Shipping, and Urban Development.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been working with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways on road safety programs, including drunk driving countermeasures andmotorcycle safety.The memorandum also will deepen the level of cooperation between the two countries to include new activities relating to the development of sustainable and smart cities--communities that are prepared for population growth and a more volatile climate, and that provide high-quality public transportation systems that connect their residents to jobs and other opportunities.

Cooperation on the transportation elements of smart cities will be coordinated through an interministerial working group and include areas such as intelligent transportation systems, multimodal planning, livability, safety, and infrastructure financing.In addition, both countries agree to cooperate on standards of vehicle fuel efficiency and promote dedicated freight corridors to facilitate the movement of goods from India’s ports to its major cities.

While in India, Secretary Foxx also met with representatives from U.S. and Indian transportation companies to discuss the development of advanced technologies and to help resolve market access issues that will facilitate trade between the two countries.

NHTSA Forms New Safety Teams

USDOT recently released two internal reports from NHTSA that outline the changes the agency has adopted to strengthen its workforce dedicated to investigating vehicle defects. In June 2015, Secretary Foxx announced the formation of a three-person Safety Systems Team of outside experts who will spend 1 year advising NHTSA on implementing the changes outlined in the reports.

NHTSA’s Safety Systems Team will guide and validate strategy, tactics, and actions to enhance the agency’s effectiveness. The team includes Joseph Kolly, director of the Office of Research and Engineering at the National Transportation Safety Board, who is detailed to NHTSA for the remainder of 2015. He is joined by J.VictorLebacqz, former associate administrator for aeronautics research at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and James P. Bagian, director of the Center for Healthcare Engineering and Patient Safety at the University of Michigan. Bagian is a professor at the University of Michigan’s medical and engineering schools and is a former NASA astronaut and veteran of two space shuttle missions.

NHTSA also launched an internal Risk Control Innovations Program that will bring together NHTSA staff involved in vehicle safety, behavioral safety, and enforcement to address emerging highway safety risks that cut across the agency. The program’s multidisciplinary teams will develop individualized solutions to problems that fall outside the agency’s specialized programs.

For more information, visit www.nhtsa.gov/About+NHTSA/Press+Releases/nhtsa-forming-new-safety-teams.


Policy and Legislation

New Requirement May Prevent Nearly 1,800 Crashes Annually

NHTSA recentlyfinalized a rulerequiring electronic stability control systems on heavy trucks and large buses (FMVSS No. 136). Electronic stability control works instantly and automatically to maintain directional control in situations where the driver’s own steering and braking cannot be accomplished quickly enough to prevent a crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended a requirement for electronic stability control on heavy-duty vehicles since 2011. The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21stCentury Act, enacted in 2012, directed NHTSA to consider a requirement for electronic stability control in motorcoaches, which are covered in the new rule. A rule requiring light-duty vehicles to include the technology took effect in 2012.

Photo. A large commercial truck driving on a snowy road.
Heavy-duty trucks like this one will be required to have electronic stability control technology within the next 2 years to improve safety and reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities.

NHTSA estimates that the rule for heavy trucks and large buses could prevent as many as 1,759 crashes, 649injuries, and 49 fatalities each year. Further, this technology is estimated to prevent up to 56 percent of untripped, rollover crashes--that is, rollover crashes not caused by striking an obstacle or leaving the road.

The final rule, announced in June 2015, requires electronic stability control systems on heavy trucks and large buses exceeding 26,000 pounds (11,800 kilograms) in gross weight. Most heavy trucks must be in compliance with the rule within 2 years. The requirement will take effect in 3 years for buses larger than 33,000 pounds (15,000 kilograms) and 4 years for those weighing between 26,000 and 33,000 pounds (11,800 and 15,000 kilograms).


Technical News

MPOs Selected for Pilot of Technology To Count Bicyclists and Pedestrians

As part of Secretary Foxx’s Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets, the Federal Highway Administration selected 10 metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) to participate in a pilot program for technology to count bicyclist and pedestrian activity. Award recipients will receive funds to purchase automatic counters that will collect counts at various locations within an MPO planning area during a 1-year period.

FHWA selected MPOs in California, Florida, Indiana, New York, Ohio, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin. FHWA and the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center will provide technical support for each MPO in setting up the counters; uploading, downloading, and analyzing the data; and using the data to improve the planning process in their communities. The pilot program aims to kick-start the development of best practices in counting bicyclists and pedestrians. It aligns with one focus of the Mayors’ Challenge: to collect more and better data on pedestrian and bicycling activity to support planning and investment decisions and target safety improvements.

Recipients will provide insights on their experiences and report initial data by December 2015. The projects will be completed in spring 2016.

For more information on the Mayors’ Challenge, visit www.transportation.gov/mayors-challenge.

Public Information and Information Exchange

New USDOT Program Bolsters Economic Development

Seven cities will foster sustainable economic development related to planned transportation projects, thanks to a USDOT technical assistance program, the Ladders of Opportunity Transportation Empowerment Program (LadderSTEP). Choices regarding transportation infrastructure at the Federal, State, and local levels can revitalize communities, create pathways to work,and connect communities to a better quality of life. LadderSTEP is part of a broader initiative called Ladders of Opportunity that examines those choices.

Logo. The Logo for the Ladders of Opportunity program includes an icon of people on a curved ladder and the words “Work, Connect, Revitalize” above a small logo for the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The LadderSTEPpilot program will provide Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Baton Rouge, LA; Charlotte, NC; Indianapolis, IN; Phoenix, AZ; and Richmond, VA, with technical assistance to help promote thoughtful planning and economic growth. The program is partnering with a number of national organizations, including the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Urban Land Institute, to provide the technical assistance.

The Ladders of Opportunity program seeks to help more people reach opportunities by ensuring that the U.S. transportation system provides reliable, safe, and affordable ways to reach jobs, education, and other essential services. LadderSTEPis one part of USDOT’s efforts to create those opportunities. Other initiatives in this program include the Safer People, Safer Streets program and resources to encourage local hiring, which ensures that disadvantaged populations have a chance to enter the transportation workforce.

For more information, visit www.transportation.gov/ladders/tep.

Guide Aims to Help Communities Create Safer Streets

FHWA recently published A Resident’s Guide for Creating Safer Communities for Walking and Biking (FHWA-SA-14-099) to help residents learn about issues that affect walking and biking conditions in their communities. The guide is intended to assist residents, parents, community association members, and others with getting involved in making communities safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Photo. A woman on a bicycle wearing a helmet adjusts the helmet of a boy on a bicycle.
FHWA’s new guide helps residents improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists in their communities.

Communities need and want streets that are safe, accessible, and comfortable for all users, whether traveling by car, foot, bike, or mass transit. Streets that are pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly offer many benefits, including reduced collisions, increased travel choices, and improved access and opportunities for all users, including those with disabilities. FHWA designed the guide for use by all individuals looking for ways to improve the safety and comfort of neighborhood streets, whether they are just beginning to learn about traffic safety or are already part of an established safety or advocacy group in thecommunity.

The guide provides examples from other communities working to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety. It includes ideas and resources to help residents learn about issues that affect walking and bicycling conditions, find ways to address or prevent these problems, and promote safety for all road users. Resource sheets at the end of the guide contain checklists, tip sheets, worksheets, and sample materials that can be adapted to meet the needs of any community. The guide also provides an introduction to common safety issues and includes references to other resources and materials for those interested in more indepth information.

For more information, visit http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/ped_cmnity/ped_walkguide.

FHWA Releases Final Report for EDC-2

As part of its Every Day Counts (EDC) initiative, FHWA partners with State departments of transportation and other stakeholders to speed up innovation in project delivery and roadway safety and sustainability. The second round of the initiative, the 2013–2014 cycle, included 13 innovations selected for deployment to improve the work of highway planning, design, construction, and operation.

The Wisconsin DOT installed high-friction surface treatments, an EDC-2 innovation, on the ramp from I–94 to I–43 at the Marquette Interchange, shown here, in Milwaukee in 2011. Only 9 crashes occurred in the 3 years following installation, a dramatic decline from the 219 crashes that occurred in the 3 years prior to installation.
The Wisconsin DOT installed high-friction surface treatments, an EDC-2 innovation, on the ramp from I–94 to I–43 at the Marquette Interchange, shown here, in Milwaukee in 2011. Only 9 crashes occurred in the 3 years following installation, a dramatic decline from the 219 crashes that occurred in the 3 years prior to installation.

FHWA recently released Every Day Counts: Building a Culture of Innovation for the 21st Century–EDC-2 Final Report, which presents the results of the 2-year effort to accelerate use of the selected technologies and methodologies. An example is the use of high-friction surface treatments, which are pavement overlay systems that provide exceptional, long-lasting skid resistance at high-crash locations such as horizontal curves and intersection approaches. By the end of the EDC-2 cycle, 37 States; Washington, DC; and Puerto Rico were using high-friction surface treatments, up from just 14 States at the beginning of EDC-2.

For the full report, visit www.fhwa.dot.gov/everydaycounts/reports/edc-2-finalreport.

Colorado Seat Belt Campaign Goes Viral

As part of a May 2015 effort to enforce seat belt use, the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Click It or Ticket program ran an unusual billboard campaign. The billboards first appeared with ambiguous, unattributed phrases, such as “Brain Damage,” “Life or Death,” and “Fatal Accident,” printed on a blank background. A week later, CDOT revealed the mystery behind the messages, updating the billboards with images of seat belts crossing out the words “Damage,” “Death,” and “Fatal.” The revised signage, which included notification of the enforcement campaign, a reminder to drivers to buckle up, and CDOT’s logo, underscored the message that seat belts can help prevent the negative outcomes associated with vehicle crashes.

Photo. The “before” image from Colorado’s seat belt campaign shows a black billboard with the words “Brain Damage.”
Photo. The “after” image from Colorado’s seat belt campaign shows the same billboard as the “before” image, but with the words “Brain Damage” crossed by a seat belt and the added line, “Buckle up. Seat belt enforcement is on.”
These before (top) and after (bottom) photos show the Colorado billboards displayed during the May 2015 seat belt enforcement campaign.

Even before the reveal, the creative campaign sparked conversations on social media, with the photos reaching more than 220,000 people and receiving 10,000 post interactions.In addition to the 15 billboards in Colorado Springs and Denver, CDOT launched a statewide radio campaign and included messages about seat belt use on gas pumps at 60 gas stations.

In 2014, 156 people who lost their lives in crashes in Colorado were not wearing aseat belt--more than half of the 308 passenger vehicle fatalities that occurred on the State’s roadways that year. In 2013, seat belts saved an estimated 12,584 lives nationwide. NHTSA estimates an additional 2,800 lives nationwide could have been saved if all unrestrained passenger vehicle occupants 5years old and older involved in fatal crashes had been properly restrained.


Recipients of Roadway Worker Memorial Scholarship Announced

The American Traffic Safety Services Foundation recently announced the recipients of three Roadway Worker Memorial Scholarships for 2015. The scholarships provide financial assistance for higher education, and applicants must be dependents of workers killed or permanently disabled in work zone crashes. This year, the foundation awarded scholarships to Lyndsay Morgan of Cape Coral, FL; Carl Moser of Middletown, MD; and Andrea Pair of Spiro, OK.

Lyndsay Morgan’s father, Steven, was killed in 2011 when he was struck by a motorist in a roadway work zone. Morgan attends Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, FL, and majors in communications. Carl Moser’s father, Richard, was killed after being struck by a pickup truck in 2007. Moser will study electrical and computer engineering at Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in Needham, MA. Andrea Pair’s father, Shannon, was struck and killed by a car in 1998. Pair will pursue a chemistry degree at Northeastern State University in Tahlequa, OK.

The foundation also is seeking help in identifying and encouraging individuals who are eligible to apply for the Roadway Worker Memorial Scholarship. The deadline for 2016 scholarship applications is February 15, 2016.

For more information, visit www.atssa.com or contact Lori Diaz, assistant manager of the foundation, at 540–368–1701 (ext. 150) or lori.diaz@atssa.com.

American Traffic Safety Services Foundation

Student Contest Winners Illustrate Seat Belt Use

At a ceremony in May 2015 at USDOT headquarters in Washington, DC, Secretary Foxx honored two elementary school students who won top honors in the 2015 “Be Ready. Be Buckled.” student art contest. Fourth grader Heather Li of Orlando, FL, and second grader Julia Ou of Livingston, NJ, each received framed replicas of their artwork, plus a monetary award.

Illustration. A child’s drawing of a commercial truck and a school bus passing on a highway, with an overhead sign with the message, “Safety belts save lives.” The words “Be Ready, Be Buckled” are on the side of the truck.
Second grader Julia Ou won the grand prize in the kindergarten through second grade group for her submission to FMCSA’s 2015 “Be Ready. Be Buckled.” art contest.

The annual art contest is organized by the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Belt Partnership, which includes the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, NHTSA, and 30 other government agencies and private organizations. It is open to students in kindergarten through sixth grade who also have a sponsor in the commercial truck and bus industries. The contest focuses on urging drivers of trucks, buses, and all other commercial motor vehicles to buckle up to saves lives and reduce injuries.

Illustration. A child’s drawing of a commercial bus on a mountain highway. On top of the bus is a sign saying, “Belt up for Life.” On the side of the bus are the words “Pull, Slip, Click. Buckle Up for Safety.” The words “Be Ready, Be Buckled!” are written in the roadway behind the bus.
Fourth grader Heather Li won the grand prize in the third through sixth grade category for the 2015 “Be Ready. Be Buckled.” art contest.

Contest judges select the artwork that best illustrates “the importance of commercial motor vehicle drivers buckling up” with the overarching message of “safety belts save lives.” In addition to the grand prize winners in each of two age categories, the submissions of 10 other students will be featured in a 2016 calendar.

Since 2007, overall safety belt use for drivers has steadily increased each year from 65 percent to a current high of 84 percent.

For more information, visit www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safetybelt.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration


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