The Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization (Broward MPO) was honored yesterday, October 6, 2021 with a 2021 National Roadway Safety Award for its innovative Complete Streets Master Plan and Wilton Drive improvements. The biennial awards program is sponsored jointly by the Federal Highway Administration and the Roadway Safety Foundation.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, speaking about Broward and the other award winners, said: “Congratulations to today’s seven honorees for the remarkable work they’ve done to protect the traveling public. They are proof that we have no shortage of willpower or good ideas for improving roadway safety.”
With the single highest number of pedestrian fatalities in the entire nation (1,675 between 2010 and 2019), Broward MPO developed the Broward Complete Streets Master Plan (CSMP). The safety-minded MPO’s approach is showcased by its reinvention of Wilton Drive, a bustling stretch of roadway that chronically suffered a higher-than-average number of crashes, particularly those involving pedestrians and cyclists. Broward MPO worked with the City of Wilton Manors and other stakeholders to redesign the corridor by eliminating a vehicular travel lane in each direction to install buffered bike lanes, mid-block crossing medians, wider sidewalks, better lighting and other improvements.
The improvements are making travel demonstrably safer for everyone: Wilton Drive saw a 66 percent decrease in bicycle and pedestrian crashes and a 75 percent reduction in severe-injury and fatal crashes, as well as a 30 to 50 percent improvement in corridor travel times during peak hours. As a result of the Drive’s success, Broward MPO is moving forward with similar improvements for 20 additional projects from the Complete Streets Masterplan.
“We are proud to be recognized for the important work we consistently do to improve safety and impact the quality of life for local residents,” said Greg Stuart, Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization Executive Director. “The Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization is committed to working with city, county, state and national partners to plan and direct projects that have positive outcomes like Wilton Drive.”
Initial data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Federal Highway Administration show that 38,680 people died nationwide in traffic crashes in 2020, despite a 13.2 percent decrease in vehicle miles traveled due to the pandemic. Fatalities increased 7.2 percent from 2019 to the highest number since 2007. An estimated one-third of U.S. highway fatalities are related to deficient roadway conditions.
“Broward MPO’s Wilton Drive and overall Complete Streets Master Plan are saving lives by slowing down drivers, decreasing risky driving behavior and protecting our most vulnerable roadway users: pedestrians and cyclists,” said Greg Cohen, Roadway Safety Foundation Executive Director. “Future travelers in South Florida, whose lives and limbs will be spared by these improvements, will owe an unknowing debt of gratitude to Broward’s traffic planners and engineers. We urge DOTs across the nation to look at Broward’s and other awardees’ innovations and replicate them wherever possible.”
First presented in 1999, the National Roadway Safety Awards recognize roadway safety achievements that move the nation toward zero deaths and serious injuries on U.S. roadways. The program honors outstanding projects involving infrastructure, operational or program-related innovations and evaluates projects on three criteria: Effectiveness, Innovation, and Efficient Use of Resources. The winning entries were selected from a nationwide pool of applicants and the additional winners are:
- Florida – FDOT for its use of smart work zone safety technologies for arterial roads, which is reducing speeding in work zones and improving overall driver behavior
- North Carolina – NCDOT for its long-life pavement markings safety initiative that is significantly reducing lane departure crashes
- Wisconsin – The Village of Whitefish Bay for its community-wide safety improvements to reverse a decade-long increase in crashes involving pedestrians and cyclists
- California – Caltrans for its highly focused 2020-2024 Strategic Highway Safety Plan to reverse a trend of rising fatalities and injuries on the state’s highways
- Washington State – The City of Bellevue for its use of a Video Analytics Program that is facilitating tangible progress toward the city’s Vision Zero commitment
- Texas – TexDOT for its safety scoring tool that serves as a user-friendly means of evaluating the cumulative safety performance of rural highway design elements
Winners were selected by an expert panel of judges from a variety of disciplines: T. Bella Dinh-Zarr, Former Vice Chair and Member, National Transportation Safety Board; King Gee, Director of Safety and Mobility, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials; Bruce Hamilton, Managing Director, Roadway Safety Foundation; Bernardo Kleiner, Associate Division Director, Transportation Safety, Transportation Research Board; Jeffrey Paniati, Executive Director and CEO, Institute of Transportation Engineers; Donna Shea, Executive Program Director, CT Training & Technical Assistance Center; Kevan Stone, CEO/Executive Director, National Association of County Engineers; Stacy Tetschner, President & CEO, American Traffic Safety Services Association; and Terecia W. Wilson, Professor of Practice and Assistant Director, Institute for Global Road Safety & Security, Clemson University.
For complete details on each of the winners, and for more information on the national awards program, visit http://www.safety.fhwa.dot.gov/roadwaysafetyawards/.
The Roadway Safety Foundation is a 501(c) (3) charitable and educational organization. Our mission is to reduce the frequency and severity of motor vehicle crashes, injuries, and fatalities through improvements to roadway systems and their environment.