NJDOT Safety Forum reports progress on keeping NJ roads safe and starts process for future goals
(Trenton) - As the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) prepares a five-year update to the state’s 2015 Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP), governmental partners, advocates, and stakeholders were convened at a special safety conference in Trenton to review a series of successful countermeasures and begin discussions on how to implement new strategies for further improving safety on local roads, state highways, and interstates.
“Providing safety to the tens of thousands of travelers that use the state’s transportation network daily is the most significant mandate assigned to the NJDOT, said New Jersey Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, who made her remarks at NJDOT’s Safety Partners Forum. “Our transportation infrastructure is aging and in many cases was not designed at the time of construction to incorporate today’s proven safety countermeasures.”
Commissioner Gutierrez-Scaccetti said that working closely with partners such as the Federal Highway Administration, the Division on Highway Traffic Safety, and the three Metropolitan Planning Organizations, NJDOT has been able to dramatically increase the spending level of federal Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funds and successfully implement a number of proven safety countermeasures over the last several years.
Those countermeasures include:
- Modern Roundabouts—Roundabouts are compact circular intersections where all entering traffic yields. They are designed to slow the speed of vehicles entering the intersection. NJDOT has a pilot program to install at least one roundabout in every county using HSIP funds. Currently there are 13 roundabout projects under development and being advanced to construction.
- Centerline Rumble Strips—Since 2014, NJDOT has installed more than 750 miles of rumble strips along two-lane and multi-lane undivided state highways using approximately $22 million of federal safety funds.
- High Friction Surface Treatments—These are pavement treatments that dramatically reduce crashes by reducing skidding, especially in wet and icy conditions. In 2015, NJDOT initiated a pilot project on I-80 and on Route 50 at a cost of approximately $5 million.
- Road Diets—This is a re-striping technique that reduces the number of travel lanes to allow room for left turns, bike lanes, parking and curb extensions. NJDOT has implemented Road Diets at 41 locations across the state and is investigating an additional 13 sites. Implementing a Road Diet has been shown to reduce total crashes between 19 to 47 percent.
NJDOT, working with the FHWA NJ Division Office, has successfully developed data-driven assessment tools to determine where best to develop projects that will be eligible for federal safety funding. As a result, safety spending has increased on the local road system, which comprises 90 percent of all roads in the state, as well as on the state system.
“The goal of the Forum was to recap our efforts over the last four years and take some credit for what we have achieved,” the Commissioner said in reference to the 2015 New Jersey SHSP, which is required to be updated by 2020. “We also know that achieving our goals is not something we can do alone. We need to collaborate with our partners.”
NJDOT will formally kick-off the SHSP 2020 update effort in Spring 2019.
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