ITE Webinar: Integrating Speed Management within the Three Safety Focus Areas: Roadway Departure, Intersections, and Pedestrian and Bicyclist

On May 05, 2016, the Illinois Section of ITE hosted a snack and learn webinar event to learn about Figure 1: Percent Share of Speeding as Contributing Factor for Roadway Departure, Intersections, and Pedestrian and Pedalcyclist Fatal Crashes experiences on speed management in three focus areas. The four webinar instructors were Guan Xu from Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Richard Retting from Sam Schwartz consulting, Shauna Hallmark from Iowa State University, and Michelle Neuner from Leidos consulting. The ITE webinar was held in Rosemont, Illinois. Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd., kindly volunteered to offer their conference room for this webinar.

This webinar has four presentation components, which were presented sequentially 1) speeding, safety focus, and speed management, 2) speed management strategies, 3) role of speeding in fatal crashes, and 4) speed management in agency's overall policies.

Speeding was defined as exceeding the posted speed limit or driving too fast for conditions. This safety issue was further explained in the light of three major Emphasis Areas (EAs) ­ roadway departure, intersection, pedestrian and pedalcyclists. These three EAs account for 90 percent of total traffic fatalities. It is interesting to know that speeding is major contributing factor for 40% of roadway departure fatal crash, 20% intersection fatal crashes, and 8% of pedestrian/ pedalcyclist fatal crashes. To address these major safety concerns, it is important to incorporate the speed management program into roadway engineering and behavioral issue, engineering safety initiatives, and 3­E countermeasures. There are a number of good resources recommended by the FHWA for these speed management strategies as indicated by Guan Xu.

The second component of the presentation discussed the state of practice on speed management strategies. Richard Retting discussed policies and procedures, safety plans and focus areas, and research publications and guidance. Then, policies and procedures aligned with Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Device (MUTCD) or some national level guidance on speed limit, related signs and markings were highlighted. Arizona, Florida, Massachusetts, Iowa, Delaware, and Pennsylvania are some leading states where MUTCD and its practice is implemented. He presented the safety plan and focus area as reflected in Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) that was implemented in some states. For example, 15 states included roadway departure, 9 states included intersections, and 7 states included pedestrians into their EA list.

With safety plans and focus areas, 20 states and number of local agencies have developed focused safety actions and implemented plans. Regarding research publications, National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 500 ­ Volume 23: A Guide for Reducing Speeding­-related Crashes and other online FHWA documents are resourceful, as he pointed out.

The third component of the presentation was led by Shauna Hallmark, she highlighted speed­related safety issues. Speed related crashes make up 30 percent of total fatal crashes and carry an average societal cost of $52 billion annually. In this part, a detailed data analysis based on Fatality Analysis Reporting Systems (FARS) was performed to understand the role of speeding in fatal crashes with the characteristics of crash, vehicular, road and environmental factors as well as the socio­-demographics of the drivers and occupants involved in roadway departure, intersections, and pedestrian and pedalcyclist fatal crashes. Figure 1 presents the share of three EAs and speeding­-related fatal crashes.

Finally, the fourth presentation component by Michelle Neuner highlighted the programmatic strategies on policies, procedures, and practices. These programmatic strategies include establishing or enhancing polices, safety plans, and performance measures, educating and improving awareness, collaborating with stakeholders, establishing process for analyzing speeding-­related crash data. Figure 2 highlights the importance of speeding as the core of three overlapping EAs where a Venn diagram reflects their relative share in fatal crashes resulting in fatalities. These three EAs account for 90% of total traffic fatalities, where speeding is found to be the major contributing factors for these fatalities. In order to design appropriate countermeasures for these focus areas, strategies need to be tailored to the detailed crash data analysis encompassing road, drivers, environment, vehicle type and crash type.

The presenter pointed out some key issues and relvant potential strategies for these three EAs. Finally, the presenter concluded with the following key points -

  • Speed management helps State and local agencies meet their safety goals,
  • Addressing focus areas is a solid way to address complex problem of speeding, and
  • A broad look at existing policies and programs can identify opportunities to integrate speed management.

All the presenters during their presentation listed a good number of resourceful references, national guidance, and tools that the agencies should consider and revisit them with appropriate time and scope of work opportunities. This particular webinar was well attended by the professional traffic and safety engineers from the local public and private sector. The Illinois section thanks all the participants for attending and Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd. for providing the venue for such an important webinar.

This particular webinar was well attended by the professional traffic and safety engineers from the local public and private sector. The Illinois section thanks all the participants for attending and Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd. for providing the venue for such an important webinar.