Innovative Approaches to Ensure Traffic Safety

The approach often taken to improve traffic Safety has been to increase awareness of the reasons for traffic accidents and related fatalities. This approach is then enhanced by following up with personal education on traffic safety.

But there is another approach that is being adopted. This approach is to look at the way traffic moves within our road systems of the United States. This approach does not focus solely on the individual, but, on the dynamic of our traffic flow.

Standard Approach for Traffic Safety

The standard approach for traffic safety looks at the human behavior.  The issues requiring special attention are identified, like;

  • distracted driving,
  • carelessness,
  • lack of sleep,
  • intoxication.

Traffic Cones

Alternative Approach to Traffic Safety

In the alternative approach, the focus is on the way traffic moves through our transportation infrastructure. This view considers issues such as cyclists being on the same road as fast moving cars, excessive speed limits on roads that curve, etc.

At the head of this approach is Vision Zero. As it is stated in How does Vision Zero differ from the traditional approach to traffic safety?

But in the Vision Zero framework, the road safety problem isn’t the individual, but rather the flaws in the transportation system—flaws that mean, for example, that cars can move at excessive speeds on city streets and incompatible road users (for instance, bicyclists and drivers) have to share the road.

In redefining the problem, we’re required to develop solutions that will impact the true culprit: an unforgiving street network that doesn’t take into account that people make mistakes. The focus thus shifts from solutions focused on perfecting individual behavior to solutions focused on perfecting a transportation system that failed to protect people who made predictable errors.

Construction Sites

In addition to our regular traffic patterns in our road system, construction sites need to get special attention. We have previously stated in this blog that construction sites are a critical place to insure traffic safety directly. When a construction site is on or near a traffic pattern, the dynamic of the traffic is distorted from the original intent. Traffic speeds need to be reduced to  accommodate the unusual circumstances. Traffic Control Plans must be developed and agreed to by the effected municipalities. Many considerations must be made for optimum safety results.

Traffic Safety products are used to clearly mark the new, but temporary, traffic patterns created by construction sites. Attention must be made to all factors to ensure a harmonious interaction between all moving elements during the construction process.

Approaches for Traffic Safety

All approaches must be considered to ensure people may move about their communities safely, even during times of road improvements or construction. At Traffic Safety Direct, we are experienced in assisting the effort of safety. Contact us anytime. We love to share our experience and knowledge.

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

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.

 

Alternatives for Pedestrian Crosswalk signs

Pedestrian crosswalk signs are critical for safety in road construction zones and permanent pedestrian crosswalks.

As stated by the NCSL on Pedestrian Crossing;

In 2012, pedestrian deaths rose to their highest level since 2006, increasing by 6.4 percent from 2011 to a total of 4,743 pedestrian fatalities. Injuries rose by 10 percent during the same time period. Furthermore, pedestrian deaths now make up 14 percent of the total traffic deaths in the U.S., up from 11 percent in 2011. This is partly the result of decreasing motorist deaths and increasing amounts 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.

While the pedestrian’s must be protected when coming into close proximity of vehicular traffic patterns, the motorist must also be protected from accidentally harming a pedestrian.

In-street pedestrian crossing signs are an excellent alternative to increase pedestrian and motorist safety, and is often required by State law. The pedestrian can readily see the restricted safe access within the traffic pattern. And, the motorist is made aware of the marked pedestrian crossing.

Pedestrian crosswalk signsAvailable options for pedestrian signs are portable and fixed base.

The portable base provides convenient transportability for construction sites. Pedestrians can be injured in public crosswalks and temporary crosswalk situations during road construction. This is especially true if the recommended safety zone is not clearly marked or visible.

Whereas, the fixed base is used in permanent crosswalk patterns.

While the pedestrian crossing signs are designed to protect the individual walking, the sign must also be designed to not be a hazard to a vehicle. These devices are tested in crash scenarios to evaluate their safety in real life traffic situations. Pedestrian Crossing Sign System must be designed to withstand impact. The signs should be

NCHRP350 approved

MUTCD compliant

If you need to identify safe pedestrian crossings, whether in a construction zone or a permanent traffic pattern, contact Traffic Safety Direct. We provide fixed and portable in-street pedestrian crossing signs, bases, replacement panels, and hardware that meet MUTCD requirements and are NCHRP350 approved.

Pedestrian Crossing Signs are critical for both Pedestrian and Motorist Safety

Pedestrians can be injured in public crosswalks and temporary crosswalk situations during construction. This is especially true if the recommended safety zone is not clearly marked or visible. In turn, a motorist may be placed in a compromised situation if pedestrian crossing signage is not properly installed.

Paint is often used to identify the recommended walking traffic pattern. However, painted crosswalk lines will fade over time and can sometime be difficult to see in twilight hours and bad weather conditions.

Pedestrians and motorists are better protected with in-street pedestrian crossing signs. The pedestrian can readily see the restricted safe access within the traffic pattern. And, the motorist is made aware of the marked pedestrian crossing.

The Federal Highway Administration states in their Countermeasures that Reduce Crash Severity

The American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) provides guidance related to the design and installation specifications of roadside hardware and safety hardware. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Office of Safety reviews crash-tested hardware to determine if it is eligible for Federal Funding.

While the pedestrian crossing signs are designed to protect the individual walking, it must also be designed to not be a hazard to a vehicle. These devices are tested in crash scenarios to evaluate their safety in real life traffic situations.

MUTCD Compliance and NCHRP350 Approved

Pedestrian Crossing Sign System must be designed to withstand impact. The following specifications are important.

  • Double-sided, rugged polyethylene panels that can withstand the elements for years
  • Reactive spring assembly that enables the sign to bounce back upon impact
  • Anti-twist feature that prevents sign from turning if hit
  • High-quality, fluorescent 3M Diamond Grade Reflective Sheeting
  • NCHRP350 approved
  • MUTCD compliant

Fixed or Portable Sign Base Options

The pedestrian crossing sign has different design alternatives. Available options are portable and fixed base to meet the specific needs of the public situation. The portable base provides convenient transportability. Whereas, the fixed base should be easy to install on the street.

Replacement Sign Panels and Parts

Over time, pedestrian crossing signs can wear or become damaged. These signs should have interchangeable parts to replace damaged or worn parts. If the wording becomes worn, it should be no problem to just purchase replacement panels. The same should be true of a damaged fixed base. You should be able to simply release the sign and insert it into a new fixed base.

Pedestrian’s must be protected when coming into close proximity of vehicular traffic patterns. And, the motorist must be protected from inconsequential damage to their vehicle from poorly designed pedestrian signage.

If you need to identify safe pedestrian crossings, whether in a construction zone or a permanent traffic pattern, save money on replacement costs with the Traffic Safety Direct quick pedestrian crossing signs. We provide fixed and portable in-street pedestrian crossing signs, bases, replacement panels, and hardware that meet MUTCD requirements and are NCHRP350 approved.