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Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-17-002     Date:  January/February 2017
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-17-002
Issue No: Vol. 80 No. 4
Date: January/February 2017

 

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 Announces Mayors’ Challenge Winners

In September 2016, local elected officials and their staff from communities across the country gathered at USDOT’s headquarters in Washington, DC, for the 2016 Summit for Safer People, Safer Streets. At the summit, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx recognized the winners of the Mayors’ Challenge Awards, which acknowledge some of the most impressive accomplishments communities have made toward improving pedestrian and bicycle safety during the challenge.

This event marks the culmination of the Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets, in which mayors, elected officials, and other local leaders from 245communities across the United States signed on to improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists. Communities accepted the challenge by forming local action teams to advance pedestrian and bicycle safety and accessibility and taking local action on one or more of seven challenge activities.

New York, NY; South Bend, IN; and Washington, DC, received the Secretary’s Award for Overall Success. Secretary Foxx also recognized Austin and Brownsville, TX, as winners in the Ladders of Opportunity category, and Myrtle Beach, SC, in the Engagement category. In addition, communities were recognized for each of the seven challenge activities, such as gathering and tracking biking and walking data, and improving safety laws and regulations.

For more information, visit www.transportation.gov/mayors-challenge/awards-and-results.

Deputy Administrator Celebrates TIM Training Milestone

Deputy Federal Highway Administrator David Kim recently led a ceremony marking the training of 200,000 emergency responders in traffic incident management (TIM). The life-saving training is part of a national effort to improve the safety of first responders and others on the scene of highway crashes. First responders who have completed the training represent all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

“This training is vital to the men and women who arrive at the scene of a highway crash who often risk their own lives bringing safety and care to others,” says Secretary Foxx. “Besides protecting emergency workers and ensuring crash victims receive immediate attention, these practices reduce the chance of secondary crashes and prevent traffic jams by keeping traffic moving for other drivers.”

FHWA Deputy Administrator David Kim speaks at a ceremony celebrating the training of 200,000 first responders in traffic incident management.
FHWA Deputy Administrator David Kim speaks at a ceremony celebrating the training of 200,000 first responders in traffic incident management

The delays caused by secondary crashes and other traffic incidents are responsible for about half of all traffic delays--which limits freight movement, increases worker commute times, and significantly decreases highway safety for everyone on the road.

FHWA’s responder training course, designed by and for responders, helps to build teams of well-trained police, firefighters, highway workers, emergency medical providers, and towing personnel. Together, they learn a common set of practices, including quick clearance techniques that improve communications and reduce the amount of time needed on scene.

For more information, visit www.fhwa.dot.gov/innovation/everydaycounts/edc-2/tim.cfm.

Technical News

USDOT Launches National Transit Map

Secretary Foxx recently announced the launch of the open data platform for the Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ first National Transit Map. Improving connectivity for U.S. workers and travelers requires accurate data about where transit stops are, how frequent transit service is, and where transit routes reach.

Many transit agencies actively publish local data, but previously there was no single source for transit service across the country. USDOT’s goal in compiling this transit database is to construct a national dataset for research, planning, and analytical purposes.

The database provides information from 270 transit agencies and includes almost 400,000 stops and stations on nearly 10,000 routes. The data may be useful to app developers, transportation practitioners, advocates, and transit users. Transit planners and advocates might use the information to identify gaps in service and work to better connect their communities. In addition, businesses may use it to determine new opportunities along transit routes.

For more information, visit www.rita.dot.gov/bts/ntm.

Connected Vehicle Pilot Enters Phase Two

USDOT awarded three cooperative agreements collectively worth more than $45 million to initiate the design-build-test phase of the Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program. Selected in 2015, the Connected Vehicle Pilot sites are New York City; Tampa, FL; and Wyoming.

In the first phase of the effort, each site prepared a comprehensive deployment concept to ensure a rapid and efficient rollout. For the second phase, the three sites begin a 20-month period of activity to design, build, and test the Nation’s most complex and extensive deployment of integrated wireless invehicle, mobile device, and roadside technologies.

Managed by the Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office, the Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program is a national effort to deploy, test, and operationalize cutting-edge mobile and roadside technologies and enable multiple connected vehicle applications. These technologies and applications have been brought together in innovative ways to have an immediate impact--saving lives, improving personal mobility, enhancing economic productivity, reducing environmental impacts, and transforming public agency operations.

For more information, visit www.its.dot.gov/pilots/index.htm.

Policy and Legislation

New Standards Set for Commercial Vehicles

Secretary Foxx and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy recently signed new environmental standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. The regulation sets standards for greenhouse gas emissions and fuel efficiency for vehicles in model years 2018 through 2027.

The commercial trucking industry hauls about 70 percent of all freight in the United States and is the Nation’s second largest segment of U.S. transportation in terms of emissions and energy use, after passenger cars and light trucks. The new standards promote cleaner and more fuel-efficient trucks, and are expected to lower carbon dioxide emissions by 1.2 billion U.S. tons (1.1billion metric tons), save vehicle owners $170 billion in fuel costs, and reduce oil consumption by up to 2 billion barrels over the lifetime of the vehicles sold under these standards. The additional cost of a new truck will be recouped within 2 to 4 years, saving truck owners more in the long term.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx recently signed new regulations for greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for commercial vehicles.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx recently signed new regulations for greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for commercial vehicles.

The performance-based standards provide multiple technological pathways to compliance, so that manufacturers can choose the technologies that are right for their products and customers. This enables manufacturers to comply with the standards while providing vehicles with different mixes of engine, transmission, aerodynamic, tire, and mass reduction technologies to meet customer needs.

For the first time, the rules cover trailers as well as tractors--ensuring that innovation will continue in aerodynamic features, next-generation tires, and other features so that trailers can contribute to fuel and emissions savings. The standards also apply to school and commuter buses; vehicles like snowplows, garbage trucks, and delivery vans; and heavy-duty pickup trucks and large passenger vans.

For more information, visit www3.epa.gov/otaq/climate/regs-heavy-duty.htm.

Public Information and Information Exchange

FMCSA Campaign Focuses on Commercial Vehicle Safety

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently launched a new public education campaign to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses on the Nation’s roadways. Our Roads, Our Responsibility aims to raise awareness among the public about operating safely around and sharing the road with large vehicles.

Illustration. Text at the top of the image says “Be Aware of Blind Spots” and the image shows the locations of a truck driver’s blind spots in adjacent travel lanes. The blind spots are 20 feet (6 meters) in front of the truck, 30 feet (9 meters) behind the truck, 1 lane to the truck’s left side, and 2 lanes to the truck’s right side. The image shows four cars marked “OK” outside of those blind spots. The logo at the bottom of the illustration has the words “Our Roads, Our Responsibility: Partnership for Road Safety” and includes icons showing a large commercial truck, a passenger vehicle, and a commercial bus.
FMCSA is using infographics and illustrations like this one, showing the large size of a truck driver’s blind spots, to educate other road users about safely sharing the road.

Understanding the safety challenges that commercial motor vehicles face, along with some simple adjustments in driving behavior, can help drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians avoid dangerous situations and improve safety. For example, large trucks and buses are more difficult to maneuver than average passenger vehicles because of larger blind spots, greater weights and lengths, and longer stopping distances.

The campaign uses consumer-friendly illustrations, radio spots, digital and outdoor ads, and tip sheets to highlight some of these safety challenges. The campaign’s Web site contains a variety of resources, including safety tips for pedestrians, bicyclists, passenger vehicle drivers, and commercial vehicle drivers.

Visit www.sharetheroadsafely.gov for more information.

FMCSA

Pocket Guide to Transportation Goes Mobile

Cover of the 2016 Pocket Guide to Transportation.The Bureau of Transportation Statistics has developed a smartphone app for the Pocket Guide to Transportation 2016. The annual publication is a popular, quick reference guide to significant transportation statistics. The app enables users to access all the informative graphics and tables from the guide without having to carry a physical copy.

The app will include all seven sections of the guide--Infrastructure, Moving People, Moving Goods, Performance, Economy, Safety, and Environment--plus a new Major Trends section. The resource is available from the Apple App Store® for iPhone® and iPad® and from the Google Play™ store for Android™ devices; use keyword “BTS Pocket Guide.”

The new app is part of an effort by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics to focus on the use of technology to deliver the most recent transportation statistics in new and innovative ways.

For more information, visit www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/publications/pocket_guide_to_transportation/index.html.

Helping Communities Develop Multimodal Networks

Cover of the report Achieving Multimodal Networks: Applying DesignFHWA recently published a resource for practitioners seeking to build multimodal transportation networks. Achieving Multimodal Networks: Applying Design Flexibility and Reducing Conflicts (FHWA-HEP-16-055) highlights how to apply design flexibility to address common roadway design challenges and barriers. The publication focuses on how to reduce multimodal conflicts and achieve connected networks so that walking and bicycling are safe, comfortable, and attractive options for people of all ages and abilities.

Multimodal transportation networks provide access to jobs, education, health care, and other essential services in urban, suburban, and rural areas throughout the United States. Interconnected pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure makes walking and bicycling a viable transportation choice for everyone, which contributes to the health, equity, and quality of life of communitymembers.

In many communities, accommodating and encouraging walking and bicycling requires retrofitting an existing transportation system with constrained rights-of-way to include new or enhanced pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. Greater awareness of the flexibility and versatility available in national guidance will help designers overcome many challenges related to both new and retrofit projects. The guide includes 24 design topics, organized into 2 themes: design flexibility and reducing modal conflicts.

The report is available at www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/publications/multimodal_networks/part00.cfm.

PBIC Renews and Adds Walk Friendly Communities

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) recently announced that 13 communities renewed their status as Walk Friendly Communities, including Austin, TX, which moved up from bronze to silver designation. In addition, the city of Sebastopol, CA, received bronze recognition for the first time.

Here, a pedestrian crosses a street in a crosswalk in Sebastopol, CA, which recently received designation from PBIC as a Walk Friendly Community.
Here, a pedestrian crosses a street in a crosswalk in Sebastopol, CA, which recently received designation from PBIC as a Walk Friendly Community.

Launched in 2010, the Walk Friendly Communities program recognizes cities and towns for success in working to improve a wide range of conditions related to walking, including safety, mobility, access, and comfort. Currently, 58 communities across the Nation hold bronze, silver, gold, or platinum designations. The recently renewed cities include Seattle, WA, which remains the only platinum-level community in the program. Ann Arbor, MI; Arlington, VA; Corvallis, OR; Chicago, IL; and Minneapolis, MN, renewed their gold-level designations.

In addition to Austin, Alexandria, VA, and Philadelphia, PA, renewed at the silver level, and Charlotte and Davidson, NC; Flagstaff, AZ; and Wilsonville, OR, renewed at the bronze level.

Applicants use a Web-based program that asks a comprehensive set of questions and provides communities with feedback and ideas for promoting pedestrian safety and activity. The questions deal with engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, evaluation, and planning.

For more information, visit www.walkfriendly.org/index.cfm.

PBIC

CDOT Thinks Outside the Box for Pedestrian Safety

In 2015, there were 1,330 pedestrian crashes and 59 pedestrian fatalities in Colorado. Seventy-two percent of the crashes occurred at nonintersection locations. To educate pedestrians and drivers on the importance of observing pedestrian laws, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) recently launched a campaign featuring Fred Estrian, the classic icon of a pedestrian used on walk signals, brought to life.

Video still. This screen capture from an animated short video shows the man in the pedestrian walk signal leaving the signal box.
The walk signal icon of a man comes to life in short videos from the Colorado Department of Transportation to educate roads users about pedestrian safety.

Fred Estrian, a play on the word “pedestrian,” comes alive in animated short videos that remind road users of the importance of pedestrian safety. From his vantage point in a pedestrian walk signal, Fred sees the results when road users do not follow pedestrian laws. He breaks free from his confines to interact with the people around him and do something to protect the lives of Colorado’s pedestrians. CDOT’s 15- and 30-second animated shorts highlight Fred’s escape and some of the major factors that play a role in pedestrian fatalities.

The videos are available for download at bit.ly/CDOTPedSafety, or view them at www.codot.gov/programs/bikeped/information-for-pedestrians. CDOT has shared them on the agency’s social media sites to deliver a serious message with a lighthearted, humorous tone. The campaign also includes stencil art at crosswalks, intersections, and transitional areas like parking garages. The water-soluble stencil art relates key statistics and safety tips to pedestrians and drivers across metro Denver.

CDOT

Personnel

FHWA Researchers Receive ITE Award

The Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) recently honored members of FHWA’s Office of Operations Research and Development with the Traffic Engineering Council Best Paper Award. Christopher L. Melson, Dr. Cory Krause, and Dr. Joe G. Bared received the award at ITE’s 2016 Annual Meeting & Exhibit in Anaheim, CA.

The authors’ award-winning paper, “Operational and Safety Characteristics of an Alternative Design, Space-Efficient One-Sided Interchange,” presents a distinctive, all-directional system interchange that emphasizes land savings. Using microsimulation and safety software, the researchers analyzed the operational and surrogate safety characteristics of the one-sided interchange and compared the design to an equivalent cloverleaf interchange. The characteristics examined included delay time, throughput, and rear-end and lane-changing conflicts. The results indicate that the one-sided interchange could save more than 43 acres (17 hectares) of land and, using extended entrance merging areas, have comparable operational and safety performance.

For more information about ITE’s awards program, visit www.ite.org/awards.

ITE

 

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