The Federal Highway Administration and the Roadway Safety Foundation honored seven highway safety projects in five states with National Roadway Safety Awards as part of a biennial program to highlight successful approaches to improving roadway safety at the state and local level.
“While our roads and vehicles have gotten safer over the years, clearly motor vehicle crashes still take a tremendous toll,” said RSF Executive Director Greg Cohen in a statement.
“These awards honor those who successfully identified dangerous deficiencies in their systems and applied our latest research and technology to implement effective and cost-efficient fixes,” he added. “We salute these winners – the unsung heroes who planned, engineered and implemented these innovative solutions – and urge DOTs across the nation to consider these projects and apply them wherever possible.”
FHWA Executive Director Tom Everett noted that the seven award winners were commended “not only in saving lives on our nation’s roads, but also for maximizing the cost effectiveness of federal, state, and local funds that were used.”
Applicants were encouraged to nominate successful programs that were “innovative, cost-effective, and could be replicated elsewhere.” Altogether, seven winners and one honorable mention were selected:
- Arizona won for installing a first-in-the-nation Wrong-Way Driving Alert System that uses thermal camera technology in addition to illuminated wrong-way signage along a 15-mile segment of Interstate 17 in central Phoenix.
- Florida earned two awards. The first for creating the “Alert Today Florida” program to address the state’s pedestrian and bicyclist fatality rate via engineering projects, educational outreach events, paid advertising and high visibility enforcement activities. Analysis indicates that 18 lives have been saved, 324 injuries and 338 bicycle and pedestrian crashes avoided since its initiation. The second award honored its “Design-Build Push-Button Contract” which reduced the “concept-to-completion” period for safety projects by as much as 75 percent.
- Missouri won for its “Median U-Turn” program that reduced the overall crash rate by 50 percent along a stretch of roadway in the central part of the state.
- South Dakota won for its High Friction Surface Treatment or HFST project in 15 areas of the Blacks Hills region where road departure crashes in winter weather account for 57 percent of fatal crashes. In the two winters following the installations, there was a total crash reduction of 78 percent.
- Virginia also earned two awards. The first for its strategic guardrail management program, which won a President’s Award from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. The agency’s VDOT Guardrail Tracker Tool enables it to “prioritize” guardrail improvements at high-risk locations using data, technology, and business-process enhancements. The second award recognized VDOT for its statewide pedestrian safety action plan, which use an interactive web-based tool to identify high risk areas for pedestrians then quickly fund and install safety improvements at those locations.
Finally, Garfield County in Washington State received an honorable mention for its Garfield County Road Improvement Safety Plan, which provided the “cornerstone” of a long-term, comprehensive, data-driven safety program for the County’s rural roadway system.