Pedestrian Safety Requires Different Solutions in Different Situations

Maintaining pedestrian safety is a challenge in many different situations There is pedestrian safety in neighborhoods, disaster response, construction sites and public venues to name just a few. Understanding that different situations present unique challenges is important.

Pedestrian Safety in Neighborhoods

pedestrian crosswalkPedestrian safety is becoming a larger issue in our communities. People are walking more. They are moving to urban neighborhoods and adding steps to improve their health. And of course, children will always be playing near the street.

There is much that we can do to improve the safety of our communities. We do not need to rely only on the police for enforcement. Our community can organize to play an important role in managing traffic safety.

Pedestrian Safety during Disaster Response and Recovery

cone with chain connectorResidents that evacuated want to return to see what damage has occurred to their personal property. This is understandable. However, debris is strewn everywhere. Accidents are likely to occur in this scenario

Disaster Recovery crews are working hard to ensure residents are not trapped or lying injured in their homes. Cleanup crews are trying to act quickly so emergency vehicles can move freely through the streets. Residents are tired and emotional, but, feel compelled to check on their homes. This is a very dangerous time.

Pedestrian Safety During Road Construction

During the construction process, traffic patterns will be disrupted. This is due to a combination of temporary routes and detours. Traffic safety products are required to meet the requirements identified in Traffic Control Plans.

Pedestrian Safety in small public venues

plastic crowd control postCrowd Control can be challenging for even the smallest of venues, such as signup for Little League Baseball or a voting booth. However, the simple act of creating an easy to identify lane for people to follow can address this challenge.

Since people will instinctively arrange their movement using the site of a simple obstacle. small crowds can be managed with lightweight devices. A line can be easily created, providing a visual path for the small crowd to follow. The result is order rather than chaos.

Traffic Safety

At Traffic Safety Direct, we provide traffic safety products to keep workers, volunteers and citizens safe in varying situations. Contact us at Traffic Safety Direct and let us know how we may be able to assist you.

Delineating Posts for Pedestrian and Driver Safety

The National Council of State Legislatures stated that there is an increase in the amount of Americans walking for transportation and recreation. With the increase of pedestrians walking  rather than driving to their destination, all actions must be taken to increase public safety. Attention to pedestrian safety is growing in importance.

The pedestrian must be protected when coming into close proximity of vehicular traffic patterns. One alternative is the In-street pedestrian crossing signs. Previously on this Blog, we discussed the value pedestrian crosswalk signs have for safety in road construction zones and, also, in permanent pedestrian crosswalks. Pedestrians can readily see the safe access within the traffic pattern. And, the motorist is made aware of the marked pedestrian crossing.

Delineator Posts

Delineator Posts are another alternative to protect both the pedestrian and the driver of the vehicle. These posts can be used to protect pedestrians and workers in construction or hazardous areas.

Delineator posts can also be used to clearly identify auto traffic patterns on high-speed roads in permanent locations.

There are several choices of plastic posts with bases for, both, temporary situations and permanent locations.

diamond_top_close_upDiamond Style Top Post Reflective

These posts are bright orange with two 3″ bands of reflective tape for improved daytime and nighttime visibility. They are designed for quick set-up in a limited-space area. These posts can withstand impacts and do not knock down or blow down easily

white_dome_delineator_topWhite Dome Top Delineator Post

These bright white posts have very similar benefits to the Diamond Style Post described above. These white dome posts are perfect for Valet Parking or other areas where a more sophisticated look is needed.

Tuff Post high performance channelizer

Tuff Post is a high performance channelizer designed to meet the harsh demands of high speed, high traffic areas. Tuff Post has been tested to sustain 50 impacts at 50 MPH with little damage to the unit and to the impacting vehicle, while remaining upright with no vertical listing.

Tuff Post is ideal for exit lane delineation, head-to-head traffic separation, urban turn restrictions, edge line delineation, or anywhere that durable, flexible, high performance channelization is required. Tuff Post’s patented reactive spring system ensures the post will return to its original position impact after impact, reducing replacement costs.

Flexi-Guide FG336UR Post Reflective

The Flexi-Guide FG336UR was developed for demanding high-speed, 2-way, 2-lane detour operations and has become the industry standard for toughness, impact resistance and long-lasting performance. It conforms to MUTCD and NCHRP 350 standards and features the unique clover-leaf design that allows tubular post to rebound time after time.

The Delineating Post is excellent for pedestrian safety, while also providing a great visual for the driver of a vehicle – keeping everyone safe in concentrated traffic zones.

If you are interested in learning more about the alternatives for delineating traffic posts, whether in a construction zone or a permanent traffic pattern, contact Traffic Safety Direct

Inland Ports and the Road Construction They Create

Road construction is occurring across the United States. You may be thinking the only reason is to support increased traffic from a growing population. However, you may be surprised that large road construction projects are also created to support commercial traffic for hauling goods to and from Inland Ports. You may be in one of the many States with a developing Inland Port.

What is an Inland Port? 

Traffic safety with road constructionAn Inland Port is a dry port away from the coastal port, but near railways, airports, and road transportation hubs.

An Inland Port performs many of the same functions as a coastal port processing trade and distribution of goods. They are large regional centers serving domestic and international markets with access to large labor forces.

An Inland Port supports coastal ports and enhances our nation’s supply chains. To name just a couple of advantages provided by an Inland Port:

  • Expedited handing and distribution of goods because of easy access to multi-modal transportation, which may not be available at the coastal port.
  • Reduced congestion on over-extended coastal ports that are operating at their maximum performance levels.

As stated in 10 Inland Ports to Watch

Located outside crowded port areas, where land is scarce or not available at all, inland ports’ advantages are well documented because of their positive impact on regional industrial development and because they create space for more buildings in proximity to intermodal sites, thus relieving pressure in port areas and on roadways.

Multi Modal Transportation

As an example, Texas has a developing Inland Port just a few minutes drive south of Dallas and 5, and more, hours north of the Gulf of Mexico and the Mexican border. This area is uniquely positioned as a multi-modal distribution hub:

  • Union Pacific Southern Dallas Intermodal Facility
  • BNSF Railway (Planned Intermodal Facility)
  • Four Major Highway Connectors (I20, I45, I35, Loop 9)
  • Lancaster Airport

Construction is Needed

Road construction is occurring throughout the State of Texas. Some of the construction would be occurring just because of increased population. However, the increased distribution of goods is also creating the need for advanced road design to accommodate increased truck traffic from the gulf of Mexico up to the Inland Port just south of Dallas. To drive from Dallas to the Port of Houston, for instance, is around four hours. The State is large and its economic growth does not look like it is going to pause anytime soon.

The story of economic growth generating increased distribution of goods is happening throughout the United States. The result is an increase in road construction projects, both in progress and in their planning stages. As we have stated in previous posts, Traffic safety is paramount around these construction sites for the drivers, passengers, pedestrians and construction workers.

So, road construction projects you are observing may not be solely due to population growth. With Inland Ports being developed in more than a dozen different locations across the United States. road construction projects will continue to increase.

 

What if Autonomous Cars are determined to be safer than manually driven vehicles?

Much is being written today about autonomous cars, also referred to as self driving cars. But, what happens when the technology is so advanced that the autonomous cars on our neighborhood roads are safer than cars driven by a human?

Some say that this determination will force mass adoption of the technology. If the autonomous car is safer than a manually driven car, then the autonomous method of transportation will need to be adopted as the universally accepted method of transportation for purpose of protecting human life.

The self driving car technology is advancing with the momentum coming from current car manufactures, such as Toyota, led by their Toyota Research Institute (TRI), and other companies such as Google and Apple.

With these strong companies advancing the technology of autonomous cars, it may not be long that a scenario such as the following may exist.

A person wants to attend a work conference 40 miles from their home. On the way to the conference, the person wants to stop and get a cup of coffee at a cafe near the home. The person uses a smart phone to request the autonomous vehicle to arrive at the home at a specific time for pickup. The person enters the two destinations directly into the smart phone app. After the autonomous car drops off the person at the final destination, the car returns to a main station for recharging or waits to be called by another person.

If the route the autonomous vehicle takes is for only autonomous vehicles, commonly seen safety devices, such as stop lights, may be replaced with trees and bushes, as they will no longer be needed. The vehicles will actually communicate with each other to determine who has the right of way at intersections. Traffic safety will be greatly increased reducing personal injury and property damage resulting from traffic accidents.

Pedestrian traffic will still be an issue. People will be walking and riding their bicycles. The autonomous car will always follow the rules and not have the risk of being distracted, as humans are. Therefore, pedestrians may increase their acceptance of risk by challenging the vehicle. The autonomous car will always slow down and stop for the pedestrian. This may cause bottlenecks in areas that have a high level of pedestrian traffic close to vehicular traffic, such as urban areas.

… autonomous vehicle adoption may be hampered by their strategic disadvantage that slows them down in urban traffic., Millard-Ball states

Great advances in the technology of autonomous cars is bringing this reality closer to us. Even with this advancement, traffic safety will still require attention by businesses, governments and individuals. The ultimate goal is to protect human life, while simultaneously attempting to increase quality of life.

 

Hands Free Devices May Not Be Enough To Avoid Distracted Driving

Common sense must prevail over our knee-jerk reaction to respond to a text, email or phone call from work.

We are in an era where we seem to be constantly connected to our work through our phone and other mobile devices. Companies may even pay for all or part of the expense of our communications services. In turn, when a call or message comes into us, we feel some obligation to answer it, anywhere and everywhere. This can be a horrible decision.

Driving a car is a great example of when not to lose focus. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), in 2014, 3,179 people were killed, and 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.

Communications technology has tried to respond  to distracted driving by offering “hands free” options. As the American Association of Justice states in their article The landscape of distracted driving

Many new vehicles are equipped with voice-activated systems that allow ­drivers to select music, adjust climate controls, use GPS and navigation systems, make and receive phone calls, send and receive text messages, and interact with social media—all while driving.

Ironically, we have two hands, but, only one brain. So, what is being freed is not the main problem.

Many of us believe we are great at multi-tasking. Papers have been written, however, that demonstrate we are not as agile as we may think we are. It takes time for our brains to switch our focus from one area of interest to another. While switching back and forth, we are in a mental limbo. The time lost switching our focus accumulates – creating a total amount of lost time that makes a tremendous difference.

The distraction of having a phone conversation, even if on a hands-free device, causes drivers to miss the important visual and audio inputs that would ordinarily help avoid an accident. Driving is too critical of a time to risk losing focus.

We should also be aware of the men and women rebuilding our roads and bridges. These workers are perilously close to the road. A split second can make all the difference between a catastrophe and that worker later going safely home to the family. Our previous post about the St Patrick Day celebrations states that “Distracted driving can be common as the fun progresses. However, the road construction workers will still be finishing their work before they too can join in the fun.”

Hands-free does not free our brains from trying to do two things at the same time. Consider the fact that we may not be the multi-tasker we think we are.  Even the newest technology does not protect us from a potentially disastrous result. And that disastrous result may effect not just us, but also, the other people on and around the road we are on.

If you are looking to improve the traffic safety around your home or business, contact us at Traffic Safety Direct.