The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Roadway Safety Foundation (RSF) have announced the nine 2017 National Roadway Safety Award winners, which represent the USA’s best examples of innovation in highway safety.
The biennial competition, which began in 1999, is an acknowledgement of successful approaches to improving roadway safety at the state and local level. Applicants are encouraged to nominate projects or programs that exemplify innovative and effective safety activities, and maximize the cost effectiveness of federal, state, local, and/or private sector funds. From the 32 applications this year, an expert panel of judges from a variety of disciplines selected nine winners:
Alaska for its efforts to blend engineering, enforcement, education and emergency response in ‘Safety Zones’, which led to a 45% reduction in fatal and serious injury crashes on high-speed two-lane roads over the last decade.
Delaware for using cutting-edge ‘high-friction surface treatment’ to improve traction at key spots, leading to a 56% reduction in roadway departure crashes.
Florida for using a variety of state-of-the-art engineering countermeasures, public education and law enforcement efforts, to address a recent surge in wrong-way driving incidents.
Michigan for its new multi-agency Traffic Incident Management (TIM) partnership to improve safety for first responders and tow truck operators, which led to a 31% reduction in tow truck response time and a 45% decrease in secondary crashes.
Minnesota for developing County Road Safety Plans for all 87 counties statewide that used low-cost solutions to address problems on county roads, which account for half of all roadway fatalities, leading to a 25% reduction in deaths over a four-year period (above).
Missouri for committing itself to achieving zero roadway fatalities with a decade-long series of road improvements at 31 high-crash locations statewide (below).
New Jersey for installing a roundabout at a high-crash intersection in Chesterfield Township, eliminating all right-angle and left-turn crashes over the last three years, and planning others statewide.
Virginia for addressing an increase in crashes at a two-way intersection in Loudoun County with an ‘instant roundabout’ system, which cost 95% less than a traditional roundabout and reduced crashes by 89% over a three-year period.
Tennessee for using greater data analysis of 261 crash locations statewide to maximize safety investments, which led to a 60% reduction in crash frequency over three years.
“These awards recognize real and innovative solutions to some of the nation’s biggest safety challenges,” said the FHWA’s acting administrator, Brandye L Hendrickson. “We commend this year’s winners for their efforts in saving lives on our roads, and invite others across the country to put these life-saving solutions to work.”