STEP-Aligned HAWK Signal Installed in Bergen County

Every Day Counts (EDC) is an initiative developed by the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Center for Accelerating Innovation to improve safety along our roadways. Every two years, EDC identifies a number of highway safety innovations that are then supported for rapid deployment. A set of innovations targeted at pedestrian safety was identified within the 2019–2020 EDC cycle. Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP) provides a set of pedestrian improvements ranging from small scale signage installation to fully revamped roadway layout through road diets. STEP-aligned projects have been successfully deployed in locations across New Jersey, including a recent pedestrian improvement project along Washington Avenue in the Borough of Carlstadt in Bergen County, New Jersey.

Washington Avenue is a four-lane, bidirectional road with a speed limit of 40 miles per hour. The corridor hosts a number of industrial businesses and therefore witnesses a great deal of truck traffic. Many employees working at these sites arrive by bus and dash across the four lane roadway to avoid walking 700 feet to the nearest lighted intersection at Veterans Boulevard.

In early 2013, a pedestrian fatality occurred along the corridor. According to Christine Mittman, North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, concerned county officials submitted an application to the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) through the Local Safety Program which utilizes Highway Safety Improvement Program funds. In order to develop comprehensive and effective solutions for the corridor, the New Jersey Department of Transportation and NJTPA recommended a road safety audit for a 1.6-mile section of Washington Avenue from Moonachie Avenue to Road A, just north of the Paterson Plank Road.

Figure 1. At this location along Washington Avenue, pedestrians were forced to walk in the travel lane (photo credit: Christine Mittman, NJTPA).

Figure 1. At this location along Washington Avenue, pedestrians were forced to walk in the travel lane (photo credit: Christine Mittman, NJTPA).

A road safety audit is a tool promoted by FHWA to identify safety issues for all users along a designated area of roadway. An independent multidisciplinary team walks the corridor observing and taking notes related to safety concerns, user conflicts, and roadway performance issues. Often the auditors use a standardized form to take notes about each section of the corridor being studied. Some issues that may arise include missing street lights, uneven sidewalks, areas where turning conflicts are common, and high volumes of pedestrians crossing the roadway outside of crosswalks. Additional guidance from FHWA can be found here.

During the Washington Avenue road safety audit, it became obvious that the pedestrian infrastructure along the corridor was insufficient. Paths were worn into the grass along either side of the roadway where sidewalks were missing. Workers crossed the road all along the corridor as trucks flew by. In some areas of the corridor, pedestrians were forced to walk within the vehicular travel lane as the pedestrian right of way was blocked and there was no shoulder along Washington Avenue (see Figure 1). The situation was clearly dangerous.

Once the recommendations were made through the road audit report, the project was advanced through the Local Safety program which included funding for both design and construction. A number of recommendations from the report made it into the final designs, including several pedestrian safety improvements at Barrell Avenue. These recommendations included completing the sidewalk network, relocating the bus stops for safer pedestrian crossings, and extending the Jersey barrier median with fencing along the top. The most innovative part of the design was the installation of a high-intensity activated crosswalk beacon (HAWK) signal, the first of its kind in Bergen County.

A HAWK signal, or Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon, is a traffic control signal that assists pedestrians in locations where a traffic intersection is not signalized.  When pedestrians are not present, the HAWK signal is unlit. But, as its name implies, when the HAWK is activated by the push of a button it proceeds through a light sequence that stops traffic while the pedestrian safely crosses the roadway with a countdown. A video of the HAWK signal control process can be found here.

A HAWK signal was installed just north of the intersection of Barrell Avenue and Washington Avenue for a number of reasons (see Figure 2). The first consideration was the high volume of pedestrian traffic coupled with a lack of traffic control at the T-intersection. Secondly, the area is situated about midway between the two nearest signal controlled intersections with pedestrian crosswalks.  Additionally, the overhead nature of the HAWK plays a much stronger role in capturing drivers’ attention as compared to placing rectangular rapid flashing beacons on either side of the roadway. Bus stops were relocated on either side of Washington Avenue near the HAWK signal to ensure the stops are safely accessible to patrons from both sides of the roadway.

Figure 2. HAWK signal located north of the intersection of Barrell Avenue and Washington Avenue.

Figure 2. HAWK signal located north of the intersection of Barrell Avenue and Washington Avenue.

According to Nancy Dargis from the Bergen County Division of Planning and Engineering, local officials were concerned that drivers would not understand how to respond to the new signal. However, since the project’s completion in late 2018, driver compliance rates have been high according to the Carlstadt Police Department. A post-implementation crash data analysis will be performed once three years of data is available, at which time more details will be available regarding the HAWK signal’s effectiveness on Washington Avenue.

Additional research related to the general effectiveness of HAWK signals is currently being undertaken by an NJDOT-funded study out of Rutgers University’s Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center and Rowan University. The study seeks to measure both the public’s understanding of the HAWK signal and its effectiveness in increasing driver yielding at pedestrian crossings.  The study will be completed this year.

The Washington Avenue HAWK signal was part of a $4.2 million project improving the safety of a 1.6-mile corridor of Washington Avenue. The project costs included sidewalk installations, drainage, new and upgraded signals, ADA compliance improvements throughout the corridor, guardrail upgrades, and an extended Jersey barrier median with six feet of fencing along the top.

Officials learned during implementation that the fencing along the median barrier would create sight line issues for drivers approaching the crosswalk when pedestrians were in the crosswalk on the opposite side of the road. After some research, they determined the safest course of action would be to take down the fencing for the 100 feet approaching the crosswalk in both directions. Additionally, officials pointed out the importance of installing the HAWK signal at an appropriate location. Specifically, the HAWK signal should not be placed at an intersection in place of a full traffic signal. The Washington Avenue HAWK signal is installed near, but not at, the Barrell Avenue intersection which is a T-intersection with a minimally trafficked side street.

The Washington Avenue HAWK signal was the first HAWK signal installed in Bergen County, and so far it has been a success. The signal has been seamlessly incorporated into the traffic movements in the area and local officials are happy with the results.  Several more HAWK signals are in the works in locations throughout the NJTPA region as officials work to implement safety improvements aligned with the EDC STEP initiatives.

 

RESOURCES

Every Day Counts Initiative: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/innovation/everydaycounts/about-edc.cfm

Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP): https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/innovation/everydaycounts/edc_5/step2.cfm

FHWA Road Safety Audit information and resources: https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/rsa/

NJDOT videos describing FHWA’s Pedestrian Safety Countermeasures: https://www.njdottechtransfer.net/2019/09/27/njdot-safety-countermeasures-videos/

FHWA HAWK information and statistics: https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/provencountermeasures/ped_hybrid_beacon/


This article is cross-posted on the NJ Bike & Pedestrian Resource Center blog.

 

TECH TALK! Webinar: EDC Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian

UPDATE: This live webinar has been postponed and will be rescheduled for a later date.

Those who are registered will remain registered.

 

Please join the NJDOT Bureau of Research on April 2nd for an Innovation Exchange Webinar, “EDC Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP)”, that we are convening in Training Room A in the E&O Building at NJDOT Headquarters.

Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP), an Every Day Counts (EDC) innovation, is about a new type of “STEP” to keep pedestrians safe at uncontrolled road crossing locations. This webinar will outline five cost-effective countermeasures available to local agencies, and identify resources to guide in their selection and installation. Stories from local agencies will tell of county, city, and Tribal deployment leadership, with details on site and countermeasure selection, installation, monitoring, and improved safety measures of success.

AICP and NJ PE credits are available. This “live” webinar event is free to attend, but you must register ahead of time to guarantee a seat as there is limited space in the training room:

WEBINAR: EDC Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP)

POSTPONE AND WILL BE RESCHEDULED.

Time: 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM; Sign-in: 12:50 pm
Location:  NJDOT E&O Building, Training Room A
1035 Parkway Avenue, Trenton, NJ 08625

This Innovation Exchange webinar is one in a series sponsored by the Center for Local Aid Support (CLAS) in the Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Innovative Program Delivery.  Through Innovative Exchange webinars, CLAS is bringing cutting-edge transportation leaders to the table to share ideas and out of the box innovative practices that have proven results.

 

NJLTAP – Proven Safety Countermeasures Workshops – Upcoming Events

New Jersey is currently a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) focus approach state for both Pedestrians and Intersections, with approximately 24% of fatal and serious injury crashes involving Intersections and 27% involving Pedestrians and Bicycles. In New Jersey, approximately 60% of fatal and serious injury crashes are occurring on the local system.

The New Jersey Local Technical Assistance Program (NJLTAP) has partnered with the FHWA Division Office, NJDOT Bureau of Safety, Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs and Local Aid and Economic Development, and our three Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to develop a half-day workshop focused on the FHWA Proven Safety Countermeasures and the funding available for improvements to the local system.

This workshop provides guidance on the FHWA Proven Safety Countermeasures that local public agencies can implement to successfully address roadway departure, intersection, and pedestrian and bicycle crashes. The course will provide emphasis on intersection and pedestrian safety countermeasures, as well as potential funding sources (both federal and state) for implementing such countermeasures. Further, emphasis will be provided to include ways to implement the countermeasures into existing projects as proactive low-cost solutions to safety improvements.

Registration is required to attend any of these workshop events to be in North, South and Central regions of NJ. AICP and PE credits will be available. There is no fee for these workshops, but advance registration is required.

Visit the NLTAP Training and Events page for more information and to register for any of the 3 workshops:

EDC-5 STEP – Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian

On October 30th the NJDOT Bureau of Research hosted the Lunchtime Tech Talk! Event on “EDC-5 STEP: Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian.” This event featured Peter Eun, a Transportation Safety Engineer with the Federal Highway Administration’s Resource Center’s Safety & Design Technical Service Team in Olympia, Washington. Mr. Eun discussed recent initiatives from FHWA regarding improvements in pedestrian safety and accessibility.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, while 2018 featured a decline in overall fatalities on our roads, there was an increase of pedestrian fatalities, highlighting the increased need for action. Considering that over 72% of pedestrian fatalities occur at non-intersection locations, Mr. Eun focused much  of his presentation on cost-effective countermeasures that can be systemically applied to reduce these crashes and save lives.

In his talk, he described how roadway configuration, traffic volumes, and posted speed limits inform the selection of appropriate countermeasures. By way of example, he referred to the Crosswalk Markings section of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD Section 3B.18):

Crosswalk Visibility Enhancements

Crosswalk Visibility Enhancements

“new marked crosswalks alone, without other measures designed to reduce traffic speeds, shorten crossing distances, enhance driver awareness of the crossing, and/or provide active warning of pedestrian presence, should not be installed across uncontrolled roadways where the speed limit exceeds 40 mph and /or either has 4 or more lanes without a raised median or island and ADT of 12,000 or more, or 4 or more lanes with raised median island and ADT of 15,000 or more”.

Setting the foundation for countermeasures,  Mr. Eun cited grave statistics from research on how increasing speeds lead to greater serious injuries or fatalities for pedestrians and warned of a diminishing “cone of vision” at higher speeds as visual field and peripheral vision narrows. He shared a provocative safety video to convey how even small differences of speed can affect the ability of drivers to react and avoid crashes to the detriment of pedestrians.

Describing them as the “Spectacular Seven”, Mr. Eun highlighted the following countermeasures:

  • Rectangular rapid flashing beacons (RRFBs) are active (user-actuated) or passive (automated detection) amber LEDs that use an irregular flash pattern at mid-block or uncontrolled crossing locations. They significantly increase driver yielding behavior.
  • Leading pedestrian intervals (LPIs) at signalized intersections allow pedestrians to walk, usually 3 to 4 seconds, before vehicles get a green signal to turn left or right. The LPI increases visibility, reduces conflicts, and improves yielding.
  • Crosswalk visibility enhancements, such as crosswalk lighting and enhanced signage and markings, help drivers detect pedestrians–particularly at night.
    Pedestrian Refuge Islands

    Pedestrian Refuge Islands

  • Raised crosswalks can serve as a traffic calming measure and reduce vehicle speeds.
  • Pedestrian crossing/refuge islands allow pedestrians a safer place to stop at the midpoint of the roadway before crossing the remaining distance. This is particularly helpful for pedestrians with limited mobility.
  • Pedestrian hybrid beacons (PHBs) provide positive stop control for higher-speed, multilane roadways with high vehicular volumes. The PHB is an intermediate option between a flashing beacon and a full pedestrian signal.
  • Road Diets can reduce vehicle speeds and the number of lanes pedestrians cross, and they can create space to add new pedestrian facilities such as pedestrian crossing/refuge islands.

Using case examples from all over the country, Mr. Eun discussed several example situations where these countermeasures could be used, as well as the benefits to implementing them and the difficulties that may be encountered during implementation. Since expecting pedestrians to travel significantly out of their way to cross a roadway is unrealistic and counterproductive, improvements must be made to make crossings more accessible and more safe. By focusing on uncontrolled locations, agencies can address a significant national safety problem and improve quality of life for pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

Mr. Eun then addressed a systemic approach to identifying safety issues and appropriate STEP countermeasures. Using this systemic approach, agencies can focus on countermeasures that address risk rather than specific locations. Once a risk factor characteristic of a number of crashes has been identified, agencies can be proactive and address that risk wherever it appears within the system. A system-based approach acknowledges crashes alone are not always sufficient to determine what countermeasures to implement, particularly on low-volume local and rural roadways where crash densities are lower, and in many urban areas where there are conflicts between vehicles and vulnerable road users (pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists). As such, systemic safety analysis does not require extensive data or complex analysis methods to be effective, just the desire to make the biggest safety impact with limited resources.

Resources

View the presentation: Eun Peter (2019). Every Day Counts so STEP up (Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian).

View the Australian Safety PSA Video:

NJDOT Safety Countermeasures Training and Education Videos

The following videos describe six of FHWA’s Proven Safety Countermeasures that improve pedestrian safety. NJDOT developed these videos to train and educate viewers on the design features and safety benefits of these initiatives.

FHWA began promoting Proven Safety Countermeasures in 2008 to encourage implementation among state, tribal and local transportation agencies. The list was updated in 2012 and 2017 and now comprises 20 countermeasures that support infrastructure improvements. These safety treatments and strategies were chosen based on proven effectiveness and benefits and can be adopted to reduce roadway departures, and intersection, and pedestrian and bicycle crashes.

Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP) has been included as an Innovation under FHWA’s Every Day Counts (EDC) Rounds 4 and 5.  NJDOT has prepared videos for training purposes on several of the topics featured under STEP – specifically, Pedestrian Crossing/Refuge Islands, Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons, Road Diets and Leading Pedestrian Intervals. Other strategies advanced under STEP are Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons, Crosswalk Visibility Enhancements, and Raised Crosswalks.

NJDOT chose the following safety initiatives as subjects for safety videos:

 

What is a Leading Pedestrian Interval?

Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPIs) give pedestrians the opportunity to enter an intersection 3-7 seconds before vehicles are given a green indication. With this head start, pedestrians can better establish their presence in the crosswalk before vehicles have priority to turn left.

What is a Walkway?

Walkways are any type of defined space or pathway for use by a person traveling by foot or using a wheelchair. These may be pedestrian walkways, shared use paths, sidewalks, or roadway shoulders. FHWA defines a pedestrian walkway as a continuous way designated for pedestrians and separated from motor vehicle traffic by a space or barrier. By contrast, sidewalks are walkways that are paved and separated from the street, generally by a curb and gutter.

What is a Pedestrian Crossing Island?

Medians and Pedestrian Crossing Islands in Urban and Suburban Areas are located between opposing lanes of traffic, excluding turn lanes. They provide a safe place for pedestrians to stop at the midpoint of the roadway before crossing the remaining distance. This is particularly helpful for older pedestrians or others with limited mobility.

What is a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon?

Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons (PHBs) are a beneficial intermediate option between Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons (RRFBs) and a full pedestrian signal. They provide positive stop control in areas without the high pedestrian traffic volumes that typically warrant signal installation.

What is a Road Diet?

Road Diets are the removal of a travel lane or lanes from a roadway and use of the space for other purposes and travel modes, such as bike lanes, pedestrian refuge islands, or transit.

What is a Reduced Left-Turn Conflict Intersection?

Reduced Left-Turn Conflict Intersections are geometric designs that alter how left-turn movements occur in order to simplify decisions and minimize the potential for related crashes. Two highly effective designs that rely on U-turns to complete certain left-turn movements are known as the restricted crossing U-turn (RCUT) and the median U-turn (MUT).

NJLTAP – Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian Workshop

Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP) is a Federal Highway Administration Every Day Counts (EDC-5) initiative.  The NJ Local Technical Assistance Program (NJLTAP), in association with NJDOT and FHWA, is holding an all-day workshop training event on October 31st with an instructor from FHWA Resource Center’s Safety & Design Technical Service Team.  The workshop training will provide an overview of the pedestrian safety crossing problem and identify resources and strategies for addressing it.

Pedestrian fatalities are on the rise, and account for more than 16% of all traffic fatalities nationwide. New Jersey is a pedestrian safety focus state, meaning we have more pedestrian fatalities than the national average, at about 25%.  The “Spectacular 7” safety treatments to address pedestrian safety crossing problems will be reviewed. These are:

  • Rectangular rapid flashing beacons (RRFBs)
  • Leading pedestrian intervals (LPIs)
  • Crosswalk visibility enhancements
  • Raised crosswalks
  • Pedestrian crossing/refuge islands
  • Pedestrian hybrid beacons
  • Road diets

This is a full-day workshop with a group field exercise where participants will evaluate a nearby location for pedestrian safety and make recommendations for improvement if needed.

Agenda:

  • Welcome and Introductions
  • Why STEP: Background and Data
  • Policies and Process
  • STEP Treatments
  • Site Visit
  • Report Out
  • Final Remarks and Evaluation

Instructor: Peter Eun, Transportation Safety Engineer, FHWA Resource Center’s Safety & Design Technical Service Team

Credits: 6 PDH, DCA CPWM credits applied for: 6 technical

There is no fee for this workshop, however advance registration is required.

For more information and to register for the event, visit NJLTAP Training & Events

Local Safety Peer Exchanges: Summary Report

NJDOT, FHWA and NJDOT held a series of three Local Safety Peer Exchange events for municipal and county representatives to share best practices in addressing traffic safety.  These full-day events brought together representatives of NJDOT, FHWA, counties, municipalities, and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to discuss project prioritization, substantive safety, implementation of FHWA safety countermeasures, and use of a systemic safety approach.

The Local Safety Peer Exchanges Summary Report provides an overview of the event proceedings, including the presentations, workshop activities and key observations from the Local Safety Peer Exchanges held in December 2017, June 2018, and March 2019.

The Local Safety Peer Exchanges were funded, in part, though the use of a State Transportation Incentive Funding (STIC) grant.  The Local Safety Peer Exchange events are well-aligned with the FHWA Technology Innovation Deployment Program (TIDP) goal: “Develop and deploy new tools and techniques and practices to accelerate the adoption of innovation in all aspects of highway transportation.”  The focus of the Local Safety Peer Exchanges is also consistent with two of the FHWA's Every Day Counts (EDC-4) Innovative Initiatives: Safe Transportation for Every Person (STEP) which supports the use of cost-effective countermeasures with known safety benefits to address locations of fatal pedestrian crashes; and Data-Driven Safety Analysis (DDSA) that uses crash and roadway data to reliably determine the safety performance of projects.

 

 

On December 6, 2017 municipal and county representatives gathered to discuss best practices to address traffic safety. Topics discussed included NJ safety performance targets, use of Safety Voyager, substantive vs. nominal approaches to design, systemic vs. hot spot approaches to safety, and discussion of FHWA safety countermeasures.

The summary report provides documentation of the agenda, presentations, highlighted tools and model practices, and workshop activities for each of the Local Safety Peer Exchange events, including the December 2017 event.

Local Peer Safety Exchange – 3rd Event

FHWA and NJDOT held a series of three Local Safety Peer Exchanges for municipal and county representatives to discuss local initiatives that demonstrate best practice in addressing traffic safety. The third of these peer exchanges was held on March 26, 2019. Topics discussed included NJ safety performance targets, use of Safety Voyager, substantive vs. nominal approaches to design, systemic vs. hot spot approaches to safety, and discussion of FHWA safety countermeasures, among others.

Make Your Mark

Safety Voyager

Project Screening

Data-Driven Safety Analysis

Pavement Friction Surface Treatments

A Municipal Perspective

Proven Safety Countermeasures

New Jersey To Expand Data-Driven Approach to Highway Safety Management

NJDOT is investigating a powerful set of tools to more effectively manage New Jersey’s roads and highways. The agency has been piloting a study of Safety Analyst, a software package used by state and local highway agencies to identify highway safety improvement needs and projects for funding. The New Jersey State Transportation Innovation Council (STIC) applied Federal Highway Administration’s STIC Incentive Program funding to purchase the Safety Analyst license and service units from AASHTOWare. Following the kickoff and first year, NJDOT has continued to fund the project through FHWA’s Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP).

According to AASHTOWare, Safety Analyst helps agencies “proactively determine which sites have the highest potential for safety improvement, as opposed to reactive safety assessment done conventionally” (SafetyAnalyst.org). The software automates procedures and assists agencies to implement the six main steps of the highway safety management (HSM) process—network screening, diagnosis, countermeasure selection, economic appraisal, priority ranking, and countermeasure evaluation. Safety Analyst features four tool modules to perform the six HSM steps:

  • Module one utilizes the network screening tool and identifies sites with potential for safety improvement
  • Module two provides the diagnosis and countermeasure selection tool, which establishes the nature of accident patterns at specific sites
  • Module three includes the economic appraisal and priority ranking tool, which evaluates cost considerations of countermeasures for a specific site
  • Module four provides the countermeasure evaluation tool, which allows users to conduct before and after evaluations of implemented safety improvements

A detailed explanation of the benefits and capabilities of these four modules can be found in a series of white papers available from AASHTOWare.

NJDOT’s plans for using Safety Analyst

After receiving funds for Safety Analyst, NJDOT began a pilot study in Burlington County using the software. The objective of this study is to determine a methodology for meeting statewide goals. Items under review include implementation methodology (i.e., the manner and locations of data collection) and the resource requirements (i.e., the time, effort, and cost of implementing the software). NJDOT plans to use the software to more efficiently allocate its resources, time, and funds to improve the state’s roadways. Previously, NJDOT screened roads by identifying equivalent property damage, based on average frequency and severity of crashes and, depending on the project list, other factors such as annual average daily traffic and bicycle/pedestrian generators. Using Safety Analyst, NJDOT anticipates identifying needed road improvement more comprehensively using additional variables, such as roadway volume and characteristics, driveway density, and lane widths.

According to NJDOT Bureau of Transportation Data and Support’s Peter Brzostowski, who is working with the Bureau of Data and Safety, the agency is exploring other innovative ways to gather data for Safety Analyst. Leading ideas include:

  • Encouraging collaboration among several NJDOT Bureaus for data collection, including Traffic Engineering, Mobility and Systems Engineering, and Access Management
  • Employing monitoring systems to capture data, e.g., using existing/new cameras and radar monitoring
  • Utilizing Model Inventory of Roadway Elements (MIRE) (i.e., the FHWA Roadway Safety Data Program’s recommended list of roadway and traffic elements critical to safety management)
  • Developing official NJDOT policy for data collection standards
Who’s using Safety Analyst?

Motor traffic on Garden State Parkway, New Jersey, photographed in the evening. Most of the cars are southbound, moving from New York to the suburban homes in New Jersey.

State transportation departments and partner educational institutions can use Safety Analyst. At least eleven U.S. states have Safety Analyst licenses—Arizona, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington, as well as Ontario, Canada. Some examples of its use include:

  • Ohio DOT employed their Safety Analyst model to develop the Access Ohio 2040 Long-Range Transportation Plan, which utilized crash data from the statewide AASHTOWare Safety Analyst model to predict the future safety impacts of alternative networks.
  • Michigan DOT is using Safety Analyst and GIS tools to develop a work-order-based maintenance management system and is exploring how to integrate new data collection tools, such as Light Detection and Ranging, or LIDAR, into its use of the software. See this MDOT case study for more information.
  • At least eight universities, including United Arab Emirates University, have educational licenses to use Safety Analyst.

The Safety Analyst software tool requires access to a minimum set of data elements including roadway segment characteristics, intersection characteristics, ramp characteristics, and crash data. Agencies or institutions that do not have the ability to collect the minimum data will not be able to utilize Safety Analyst.

According to AASTHOWare’s project manager, Vicki Schofield, the states that have been part of the Highway Safety Improvement System, a multi-state database that contains crash, roadway inventory, and traffic volume, typically have sufficient data resources to utilize the Safety Analyst software. She noted, however, that “all states should be using Safety Analyst or something as robust and researched.” She offered that Safety Analyst is an ideal tool to begin to evaluate the data, even if a state has not completely collected the system data.

How states can begin implementing SafetyAnalyst

Ms. Schofield explained that to implement Safety Analyst effectively, states should work in partnership with other state and federal agencies to assign roles and responsibilities and leverage expertise and capacity. For example, the state transportation planning office can be used to collect roadway and attribute data; the state enforcement office (i.e., Division of Highway Traffic Safety in New Jersey) to compile crash data; the state IT office to manage secure access to databases; and the FHWA division office to connect the state agencies with other resources.

With the Safety Analyst tool, a state will be able to efficiently perform highway safety management—a data-intensive and statistically complex process—to better predict long-term levels of safety at various locations. The tool supports more effective decision-making and provides justification for expenditures of Highway Safety Improvement Program funds, resulting in greater benefits for New Jersey residents and drivers from every dollar invested.

According to Ms. Schofield, the cost for purchasing the software is relatively minor and the primary barrier to implementing Safety Analyst is the time it takes to ready the data-intensive tool for use. Regional or local universities may be able to help expedite implementation by performing tasks that a transportation agency cannot and to help ensure integrity of the tool.

The NJDOT Bureau of Transportation and Support reports that work on the Safety Analyst Pilot Study is almost complete.  The Pilot Study is expected to provide information on areas that need to be addressed when developing a full scale contract for the implementation and development of Safety Analyst on a statewide level.  The goal will be to maximize the benefit of Safety Analyst to NJDOT and to provide the necessary structure for a sustainable future for the program.

Sources

AASHTOWare. 2010. SafetyAnalyst: Software Tools for Safety Management of Specific Highway Sites:

Brzostowski, P. 2017. AASHTOWare Safety Analyst. Presentation to the New Jersey State Transportation Innovation Council. Winter Meeting.

Harwood, D. W., Torbic, D. J., Richard, K. R., & Meyer, M. M. 2010. SafetyAnalystTM: Software Tools for Safety Management of Specific Highway Sites. FHWA-HRT-10-063. Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center.

LiSanti, D., and C. Trueman. 2018. CIA Safety Team. Presentation to New Jersey State Transportation Innovation Council. Summer Meeting.

LiSanti, D., and K. Skilton. 2018. CIA Safety Team. Presentation to New Jersey State Transportation Innovation Council. Fall Meeting.

Local Safety Peer Exchange – 2nd Event

FHWA and NJDOT are holding a series of three Local Safety Peer Exchanges for municipal and county representatives to discuss local initiatives that demonstrate best practice in addressing traffic safety. The second of these peer exchanges was held on June 13, 2018. Topics discussed included NJ safety performance targets, use of Safety Voyager, substantive vs. nominal approaches to design, systemic vs. hot spot approaches to safety, and discussion of FHWA safety countermeasures, among others. The third event will be held in Fall 2018.

Make Your Mark

Data-Driven Safety Analysis

Proven Safety Countermeasures

A Municipal Perspective

Systemic Safety Improvements

Project Screening

Safety Voyager