Due to the high number of injuries and fatalities on Florida’s roadways, the state is the focus of many national safety initiatives. One such initiative is to offer Road Safety Assessments (RSAs) courses at no cost to Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) members. The courses are currently managed through the UFTI’s T2 Center.
The RSA course teaches participants how to identify areas in their community where crashes have occurred or are likely to occur as well as suggestions for improvements.
Chris LeDew, director of the T2 Center, was on site for two RSAs in the panhandle early February 2015 and was impressed with the course, which emphasized two areas of concern that cause traffic deaths and injuries: intersection crashes and lane departure crashes – both taught in the RSA courses.
“The benefit of RSAs is that it’s a tool for discovering safety problems without having to wait on crash data,” LeDew said. “Most crash data is two to three years behind, and the safety hazards prominent from the data could have changed by now.”
CTST members are a key target audience for the RSAs as they are the public workers who would be correcting these problems in their city or county. Members work in highway safety, including engineering, enforcement, education / public information, and emergency services. Training CTST members to properly identify safety concerns on local roadways as well as possible solutions to those problems, provides the opportunity to truly impact roadway safety in their area. There are 62 CTSTs throughout Florida, one in most of Florida’s 67 counties.
Participants at the February RSA courses evaluated intersections near their training locations in Milton and Panama City. They worked in groups to identify possible issues for a class discussion led by the instructor, Craig Allred from FHWA. These kinds of issues are often not called in by road users and may not be conspicuous to public workers until a crash occurs. RSAs catch these issues before a crash happens. Participants evaluated the workshops very highly and recognized Allred for being knowledgeable and “very passionate about RSAs”.
At the Milton RSA site, LeDew reported more than two dozen items identified that could be safety issues or confuse drivers.
“An important aspect of RSAs is showing people that are non-engineers that their input is important,” LeDew said. “For example, highway maintenance workers see things when they are working on the roads. Law enforcement writing tickets have good insight as to the causes of crashes. They can all really help solve safety problems.”
The RSA courses are being offered across the state during 2015 and are free to all CTST members. To become of member of your local CTST, contact your area’s CTST coordinator. A contact list for the state coordinators can be found on the FDOT CTST website.
The Florida T2 Center is delivering two additional workshops in April 2015 at Midway and Ponce de Leon. Click here for more information and to view the schedule.