November 2019
Issue 66
In This Issue:
  • Signal Spotlight: Preventative Maintenance Program ImprovementsBridgeport, CT
  • Safety Matters: Sign Retroreflectivity
  • Warren's Words of Wisdom: Storm Recovery: Stored Energy Safely Removing Trees from Power/Phone/Cable Lines
  • Innovation Station: Connecticut Develops Strategies to Save Pedestrian Lives Wins AASHTO "Sweet Sixteen" State Research Project
  • Town Crier: Norwalk Set the Pace for On-Demand Public Transportation in Connecticut
  • Helping Prepare for Winter — Iowa DOT Snow and Ice Video Series
  • Traffic Signal Circuit Rider Advisory Committee Tours New Britain Projects
  • Thanksgiving Wishes from the T2 Center Team
Signal Spotlight: Preventative Maintenance Program Improvements — Bridgeport, CT
The City of Bridgeport has made major improvements to its traffic signal maintenance program over the past few years. Historically, four electricians in the City’s Public Facilities Department were responsible for maintaining not only the City’s 118 traffic signals but all City-owned facilities and decorative lighting as well. The Engineering Department handled Capital Improvement projects and signal timings. In 2019, traffic signal maintenance was brought under the umbrella of the Engineering Department to improve communication and facilitate better management of the City’s traffic signal assets. The department secured funding to increase staffing by hiring two new technicians .

The Engineering Department created a written traffic signal maintenance plan to guide future operations. The plan includes expected emergency service response times, schedules for preventive and operational maintenance, a list of tasks to be performed during preventative maintenance inspections, and documentation requirements.

To continue this article, click here .
I f you have traffic signal systems questions, please contact:
Theresa Schwartz, P.E., P.T.O.E. - Traffic Signal Circuit Rider
(860) 486-4535 or [email protected] .

Sign Retroreflectivity
The recent frigid temperatures served as a good reminder that winter is fast approaching! A good winter project is evaluation of your sign retroreflectivity. Not only is sign retroreflectivity a Federal Highway Administration mandate, it’s critical to the safety of your community. When signs are visible at night and in poor weather conditions, every road user is in a better position to get to their destination safely. The T2 Center can help! We have a retro-reflectometer available for loan, to go out and assess your signs to determine where new ones are needed.

One of our colleagues had this to say about borrowing the equipment last year. “A big thank you to the UConn T2 Center and the Safety Circuit Rider Program for the use of the Retro-Reflective Meter. We used this tool last year to check the signs in town. Due to the results, we were able to secure much needed funding to begin a large scale replacement program. I would recommend ALL towns take advantage of this program to work towards bringing your signs up to MUTCD standards.”

Visible, reflective, compliant signs help keep everyone on the road safe. If you would like to know more about borrowing the retroreflectometer or compliance with the federal standards, please contact Melissa Evans, Safety Circuit Rider, at [email protected] .

If you have any questions about local road safety concerns, you can contact:
Melissa Evans, Safety Circuit Rider
(860) 486-5847 or [email protected]
Storm Recovery: Stored Energy Safely Removing Trees from Power/Phone/Cable Lines
by Warren Rogers, C.S.P.
In the aftermath of a natural event that causes trees to come down, arborists, tree workers, and public works crews in the field are faced with safely removing trees off power/phone/cable lines. Research on the Internet does little to uncover any consistent recommendations on techniques or equipment on how to unload the “cocked and loaded” power/phone/cable lines (I’ll call bundles) under tension from the trees. This article will offer some approaches to consider the next time your crew is faced with safely releasing bundled stored energy. Every situation will be different. The variables to consider are daunting and require thorough conversation and situational awareness to develop a plan of attack.

Most importantly, if there is any involvement with power lines, the power lines must be “dead and grounded” or cut clear (open break) of any potential source of backfeed before any tree work can begin. Only the utility can make this happen, not fire or police. Wait for a face-to-face confirmation with a utility person.
Recently, I was out with power crews working after a wind storm. I witnessed what could have easily been two fatalities, even though the tree crews believed they were taking the appropriate precautions to control the release of stored energy in the bundles as the trees were cut back. The crews were operating from their experience with past events. The plan was to tie off the bundle with ¾ inch rope and an F-350 bumper hook. Once the tree was unloaded from the bundle, the bundle could be slowly allowed to return to its normal 20-foot height from having been compressed onto the ground by the weight of the very large oak tree between two 40’ poles.

To continue this article, click here .
Connecticut Develops Strategies to Save Pedestrian Lives Wins AASHTO "Sweet Sixteen" State Research Project
In 2016, Connecticut ranked 20th in the nation for pedestrian fatality rates. To work toward a goal of zero traffic-related deaths, the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) conducted a 2017-2018 observational study of pedestrians. Researchers analyzed video footage and data from six "hotspot" intersections across the state—selected based on a combination of crash volume and severity—to understand pedestrian risk-taking behaviors, such as not waiting for a crossing signal, not checking for oncoming traffic, or texting while crossing. They used the study results to develop a pedestrian safety guide with countermeasures to combat these behaviors. Recommendations included conducting educational campaigns and outreach; building public support for targeted police enforcement of pedestrian safety laws; and upgrading crosswalk areas, signals, and other pedestrian infrastructure. In collaboration with University of Connecticut, CTDOT also purchased a full-scale, state-of-the-art driving simulator to continue studying pedestrian safety.
To learn more about the other award-winning "Sweet Sixteen" State Research Projects, click here .

To view the complete 2019 Connecticut Pedestrian Safety Guide, click here .
Norwalk Sets the Pace for On-Demand Public Transportation in Connecticut
by Kimberly A. Morton, Chief Executive Office, Norwalk Transit District
On September 13, 2018, Norwalk Transit District launched its microtransit demonstration project, Wheels2U, the first of its kind in the state of Connecticut. Wheels2U is a public, on-demand shuttle service that came out of a collaborative working group between the City of Norwalk's Redevelopment Agency and Parking Authority with the objective to address growing traffic and parking congestion in Norwalk.

The city of Norwalk has grown and changed dramatically over the past decade with the construction of transit oriented development (TOD) zones in close proximity to the city's three train stations, all linking to New York City. TOD zones are areas of high-density, mixed-use development within walking distance (a 1/2 mile) of a transit station. TOD provides a range of benefits including increased transit ridership, reduced regional congestion, and healthier, more walkable neighborhoods. These TOD zones have helped to attract a younger population to Norwalk and the city sought new ways to attract this consumer group to use transit.

Microtransit is a new tool available to the transit industry that agencies are incorporating into their systems to better meet the needs of all their customers. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) defines  microtransit  as IT-enabled private multi-passenger transportation services that serve passengers using dynamically generated routes. Similar to shared mobility services, Wheels2U riders use a mobile app to request pickup and drop-off locations, as well as access real-time data on traffic and ride information. This technology allows providers to optimize existing transit services and create new services with an emphasis on rider experience.

To continue this article, click here .
Helping Prepare for Winter — Iowa DOT Snow and Ice Video Series
Iowa's Department of Transportation has released their updated snow and ice video series. The new series is broken into 13 videos, each about an hour and a half, covering topics from preseason preparations and mounting plows to plowing techniques and how deicing chemicals work. The videos can be used to supplement training where needed.
Traffic Signal Circuit Rider Advisory Committee Tours New Britain Projects
Thanks to the City of New Britain for hosting the November meeting of the T2 Center Traffic Signal Circuit Rider Advisory Committee. At the conclusion of the meeting, the group had the chance to tour some of the projects that the City has undertaken as part of their overall Complete Streets Master Plan. This included the Beehive Bridge and a very popular roundabout.
You can read more about the City of New Britain's future plans in a recent Hartford Courant article .

To see all of the pictures from the tour, you can view them here .
Follow Us!
Use these links to get more information about the Connecticut Training and Technical Assistance (T2) Center:
If you have any ideas or suggestions for future Connecticut Crossroads topics, please feel free to email the designer Regina Hackett at [email protected]