The SCR team hit the road in June and July, completing field observations and stakeholder meetings for the Center for Transportation Studies first Road Safety Assessments (RSAs). Preliminary Assessment findings from the Vinton RSA were presented to the SCR Advisory Board in June, and the Vinton RSA Report can be found on UVA’s Center for Transportation Studies website www.cts.virginia.edu ; Major Programs; Safety Circuit Rider (SCR) Program page.
The main takeaway from our approach is “what is right with this picture” instead of “what’s wrong with this picture”. Using VDOT’s crash data for Virginia’s mid-size to small localities, the team located high frequency crash intersections, then screened those locations’ crash history and geometry, looking for opportunities to reduce or eliminate crashes by installing or replacing signs, pavement markings and other low cost safety improvements.
VDOT’s Highway Safety Improvement Program Road Safety Audit Guidelines manual provides a great format that allows the team to recommend short term, intermediate term and long term improvements for the location based on field observations and input from stakeholders that include local public works, planning, law enforcement as well as District VDOT Traffic Engineering team members with an experienced and expert “eye”.
We all took our “by the book” standard hats off, giving the Town and City ideas to pursue with their Town and City Council to “ramp up” toward the standard configuration as funding becomes available. An example is the idea to install pedestrian crossing pavement markings in locations used by neighborhood residents to access shopping and dining locations with “Yield Here to Pedestrians” signs for motorists, and installing the accessible ramps at the curb locations in the future – a phased approach instead of waiting for full funding of the standard suite of improvements.
A big “Thank You” to the Directors of Public Works from Vinton, Joey Hiner, and from Martinsville, Chris Morris, and VDOT’s Assistant District Traffic Engineer for the Salem District, Brett Randolph.