Zero is the Only Acceptable Number
There are many names and approaches – Toward Zero Deaths, Vision Zero, Driving Towards Zero Deaths, the Safe System Approach – but each is looking to accomplish the same thing – reducing and ultimately eliminating roadway deaths through an all-hands-on-deck approach. While we are sometimes conditioned to think zero is not possible, we can only ask ourselves, who among our family and friends are we willing to lose? When we answer “no one” it becomes clear that all of us must do our part to get to zero – this includes public education, better planning and engineering on our roads, added and improved enforcement, and more efficient emergency response.
SJTPO has had a long-standing commitment to traffic safety, as an early adopter of an award-winning Road Safety Audit Program, the first MPO in New Jersey to make use of the Highway Safety Manual (HMS) to determine the benefit of a safety improvement, and through the development of a robust Traffic Safety Education Program, dating back to 1998.
Traffic Safety Education Program
For many years, SJTPO has had a robust behavioral focus, with a strong emphasis on safety education. SJTPO collaborates with federal, state, county, municipal, schools, and private organizations on programs that address different facets of traffic safety. SJTPO has been heavily involved with Share the Keys, a high school program that works to educate parents and encourages active involvement with their new teen drivers. Belts on Bones is a fun program, designed for early elementary school students, that teaches the importance of proper seat belt use. This same program has been modified to incorporate school bus safety, known as Belts, Bones, and Buses. In addition, SJTPO has developed its own safety programs, one such program is Most Dangerous Places, a high school initiative that presents the real risks of unsafe driving practices and occupant protections, the safety features of their vehicles, and touches on defensive driving tactics. Another SJTPO-developed program, Car Crashes, It’s Just Physics, teaches students about the crash dynamics and the physical impact of crashes on the body.
Local Safety Program (Infrastructure)
Contact Jennifer Marandino at email@example.com for more information
For the infrastructure component, work has been done to develop a robust, yet intuitive, project identification process. SJTPO’s Local Safety Program generates data-driven safety infrastructure projects by guiding applicants through a five-step process: selecting a location; identifying the problem; determining an appropriate safety improvement; measuring its effectiveness, and checking for barriers to implementation. The Local Safety Program leverages federal Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funding, which was continued as a core Federal-aid program in the current transportation reauthorization bill, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Its purpose is to achieve a significant reduction in fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads. This includes roadways not on the federal aid system, regardless of ownership. The HSIP emphasizes a data-driven, strategic approach to improving highway safety.
Design Assistance Program for Safety Projects
Beginning in 2019, SJTPO began offering Design Assistance for projects approved for federal HSIP funds through the Local Safety Program. This was out of acknowledgment of the increasing complexity of the projects being scoped through the Local Safety Program and given the resource limitations of roadway owners in the region it addresses a common barrier to submitting substantive safety projects in the region.
Design Assistance includes Preliminary Engineering (PE) and Final Design (FD). SJTPO will serve as the Project Manager for consultant-led design services after projects are selected and approved for Local Safety Program funding. Applicants can request assistance by checking a box as part of their Local Safety Program application. To-date, SJTPO Design Assistance has included the following:
- Salem County 5 Points And 6 Points Roundabout Projects
- Projects from the Cumberland County Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Action Plan (coming soon)
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program
The Safe Routes to School Program is a federally funded program that has existed in New Jersey since 2005. The main objectives of the Safe Routes to School Program are 1.) to enable and encourage children in grades K-8, including those with disabilities, to walk and bicycle to school; 2.) to make bicycling and walking to school a safer and more appealing transportation alternative, thereby encouraging a healthy, active lifestyle from an early age; and 3.) to facilitate the planning, development, and implementation of projects and activities that will improve safety and reduce traffic, fuel consumption, and air pollution in the vicinity of schools.
Countywide Local Road Safety Plans
Contact Jenna Monaghan at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
In 2020, New Jersey conducted a comprehensive update to its statewide Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP). This plan was developed through collaboration among stakeholders across the state and examined emphasis areas such as intersections, driver behavior, lane departure, pedestrian and bicycle conditions, equity, and other key issues identified through crash data and stakeholder engagement.
The Countywide Local Road Safety Plans (LRSPs) are intended to build on the foundation established by the SHSP. Separate Countywide LRSPs will be prepared for Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, and Salem Counties. These plans will provide the basis for a customized implementation of safety countermeasures across each county, at both the county and municipal levels.
An LSRP provides a framework for identifying, analyzing, and prioritizing roadway safety improvements on local roads. The LRSP development process and content are tailored to local issues and needs. The process results in a prioritized list of issues, risks, actions, and improvements that can be used to reduce fatalities and serious injuries on local roads.