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Florida DOT Sees Reduction in Teen and Lane Departure Fatalities and Injuries through the Local Agency Traffic Safety Program

Publication Year: 2015

Describe the roadway safety situation or state before the new practice was implemented. What was the safety issue, problem, or gap?

Presently, over half of the fatal and severe injury crashes in the Tampa Bay region occur on locally owned and maintained roadways. Traditionally, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has typically spent less than 10 percent of their allocated Federal safety funds on local roads. To aggressively address these fatal and severe injury crashes using a data-driven process, the District 7 (Tampa Bay region) office of FDOT developed and implemented the Local Agency Traffic Safety Program. The program is a coordinated and comprehensive effort to put the available safety dollars to use in reducing deaths and serious injuries on the roadways in the region.

What were the key challenges that needed to be addressed before the new practice could be implemented?

Prior to initiation of the program, the following challenges to allocating safety funding to the local agencies were identified:

  • Many of the local agencies did not have staff with specialized knowledge or training in traffic safety;
  • There was a general lack of knowledge among many of the local agencies about the available federal and state programs and the requirements of those programs; and
  • Agency staff typically did not know where to start to address the safety issues on their roadways.

Describe the new practice.

A comprehensive approach was developed to assist the local agencies with identifying the safety issues on their roadways, selecting appropriate countermeasures, and applying for funding to make the recommended improvements. The Local Agency Traffic Safety Program was developed to help build a culture of safety throughout the Tampa Bay region and includes:

  • A yearly Traffic Safety Summit in District 7 for local safety practitioners;
  • An online HSIP application process;
  • Safety ambassadors to work one-on-one with the agency staff to develop the candidate HSIP projects; and
  • Five methods of project delivery assistance by which local agencies can receive Federal safety funding to implement engineering improvements that have been selected for funding including:
    • Equipment purchase
    • Technical assistance
    • Design Build Push Button (DBPB)
    • Local Agency Program
    • Local Agency Force Account

List the key accomplishments that resulted from the new practice. Include the roadway safety improvements.

  • Achieved a 28 percent reduction in fatal and serious injury lane departure crashes and a 33 percent reduction in teen driver crashes over the last three years.
  • Completed over $23 million in safety improvements on local roadways in the Tampa Bay region.

What technical and/or institutional changes resulted from the new practice?

  • DBPB project delivery process allows a previously selected designer-contractor team to quickly bring a project “from concept to concrete.”
  • District 7 Safety Office Traffic Safety Summit.

What benefits were realized as a result of the practice?

  • Prior to the first Safety Summit, the District Safety Office would typically receive approximately three applications per year for safety funding on local roads. Since the inception of the Safety Summit and the support to the local agencies, the District Safety Office receives over 50 applications annually from the local agencies.
  • The program embodies the best of what FHWA is trying to achieve through its Every Day Counts initiative—making safety improvements through a multidisciplinary data-driven process as quickly as possible.
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Ping (Peter) Hsu, P.E.
FDOT, D7 Assistant District Traffic Operations Engineer (Safety)

Publication Year: 2015

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