Congratulations to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) for being selected as one of the seven recipients of the 2021 National Roadway Safety Award! In addition, FDOT received an Honorable Mention for the successful transition of traditional in-person education and skill-building to online training through its Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP). The National Roadway Safety Awards are a biennial awards program sponsored jointly by the Federal Highway Administration and the Roadway Safety Foundation. First presented in 1999, the awards recognize roadway safety achievements that move the nation toward zero deaths and serious injuries on U.S. roadways.
The award recognizes the collaborative accomplishments of FDOT and the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) to use innovative work zone safety technologies for arterial roadways, specifically through the utilization of Active Work Zone Awareness Devices (AWADs). Work zone and worker safety are a vital concern to transportation agencies, the construction industry, and the motoring public. In Florida, speeding in work zone areas accounts for 31 percent of fatal work zone crashes. Despite this, limited smart work zone (SWZ) applications and studies to date have focused on arterials and other non-freeway locations. FDOT’s District 7 led and managed an innovative arterial work zone safety project in partnership with FDOT’s safety team, CUTR, and the Florida Work Zone Safety Coalition, to close this research and implementation gap. This innovative project sought successful engineering solutions to effectively address the problems of speeding and unsafe behaviors in arterial work zones. FDOT and CUTR worked closely to plan, coordinate, implement, and evaluate proposed smart work zone applications under many test scenarios at six study sites. The technologies studied included the Active Work Zone Awareness Device (AWAD) and two iCone products. The AWAD is a relatively low-cost countermeasure that consists of a radar device with LED signs mounted on a trailer that warns approaching drivers of an active work zone, notifies them of their travel speed, and contains regulatory messaging. Also studied were two iCone boxes – one connected to an AWAD, the other to an arrow board – which create digitally connected work zone and traffic control infrastructure and deliver relevant messaging to users of the Waze navigation app. Congratulations go to our CUTR research team including Dr. Pei-Sung Lin (PI). Dr. Mouyid Islam (Co-PI), Dr. Zhenyu Wang (Co-PI), Rakesh Rangaswamy (GRA), Rama Kolla (GRA) and Elzbieta Bialkowska-Jelinska (GRA).
The Florida LTAP Center, housed at CUTR, aims to improve the skills and increase the knowledge of Florida’s local and state transportation workforces on roadway safety by providing training and technical assistance. It developed and implemented cost-efficient approaches to achieve no-cost safety-related training to all attendees, and used innovative approaches to increase training attendance. The successful transition from in-person training to online webinars also effectively addresses the significant impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Over 50 new courses have been added to the LTAP training catalog within three years. The variety of training offerings, coupled with the ability to access recorded webinars for on-demand training, has resulted in a substantial increase in training attendance. The current Florida LTAP virtual safety-related trainings attract an impressive average of 434 transportation professional attendees per live training session. Congratulations go to our CUTR Florida LTAP team including Dr. Pei-Sung Lin (LTAP Center Director). Dr. Cong Chen (General Manager), Kristin Larsson (Training Coordinator), Stephanie Lewis (Training Coordinator), Kiryanna Stanley (Assistant Training Coordinator), and Alex Cruz (Technical Support).