November 2020
Issue 78
In This Issue:
  • Safety Matters: Local Road Safety Plans
  • Signal Spotlight: Connected Snowplows Coming to Connecticut
  • Innovation Station: In the Driver's Seat
  • NEW Tailgate Talk: How Noise Affects Hearing
  • Transportation and COVID-19
  • Thanksgiving Message from the T2 Center Team

Local Road Safety Plans
Keeping people safe on our roadways is an important responsibility that we all share. Roadway user, government employee, public official – whatever our role, with it comes that responsibility to do all we can to ensure that people in our community get home at the end of the day. Reducing crashes, especially serious injury and fatal crashes, is a key component of that.

Approximately fifty percent of serious injury and fatal crashes in Connecticut occur on local roads. Efforts have been made to reduce those numbers, and many municipalities have experienced success. Unfortunately, there are still crashes occurring on these roadways, and a broader approach may be what is needed to address them.

Local Road Safety Plans (LRSPs) are a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) proven safety countermeasure that can assist your town or city with creating an overarching approach to safety on your local roads. The LRSP is a valuable tool that creates a framework for safety needs specific to your community. The FHWA has created a roadmap for local agencies to follow that lays out each step necessary to complete a plan that makes sense for your municipality and ultimately helps you achieve the goal of safer roadways.
To continue the article, click here.
If you have any questions about local road safety concerns, you can contact:
Melissa Evans, Safety Circuit Rider at (860) 486-5847 or [email protected].
Connected Snowplows Coming to Connecticut
The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) has two projects planned for the Berlin Turnpike corridor in Newington, Connecticut to replace outdated traffic signal equipment, install an adaptive signal control system with automated traffic signal performance measures, and introduce connected vehicles (CV) to the state highway system. Between the two projects, a total of 27 signalized intersections will be upgraded.
The projects are part of the SPaT Challenge, a challenge to state and local public sector transportation infrastructure owners and operators to deploy dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) infrastructure with Signal Phasing and Timing (SPaT) broadcasts in at least one corridor or network in each of the 50 states. More information on the SPaT Challenge can be found at

Along with installing new Advanced Traffic Control (ATC) controllers and fiber communications, the CTDOT plans to install roadside units (RSU) at each intersection to support vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) connected vehicle applications. One of the applications the CTDOT plans to implement is traffic signal priority for snowplows.
To continue this article, click here.
If 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].

In the Driver's Seat
Checking my side and rearview mirrors, adjusting my seat belt, and
scanning the environment around me, I peer into the road, ready for
the drive ahead. Below me are the standard accelerator and brake pedals, and beside me is the shifter. Outside the car is darkness, with a wisp of chilliness in the air that causes my teeth to chatter.

Seated next to me in the passenger seat is Eric Jackson ’04 MA, ’08 Ph.D., tall and skinny and describing to me, in his calm, assured voice, the various parts and features of the car that are unfamiliar to me. When Jackson steps out of the car and I’m left alone, with other cars speeding by me and the city bustling around me, my nervousness heightens.

Normally, I wouldn’t be so nervous driving in a new car, but there’s something different about this Ford Focus. For starters, it is inside a building — the cityscape I see is projected on a wall. And if I were to pop the hood there would be an empty space where the engine used to be.
Why? Because this is not a car at all; rather it is a full-sized autonomous driving simulator. A simulator capable of running driver behavior experiments, which is what I’m here to test and discuss with Jackson, a civil engineering professor and executive director of the Connecticut Transportation Institute and its Connecticut Transportation Safety Research Center.
NEW Tailgate Talk: How Noise Affects Hearing
The T2 Center has published our newest Tailgate Talk informational brief. Each Tailgate Talk focuses on one on-the-job safety topic and is designed to be shared with your crew at the beginning of their day. When employees are presented with safety material in small chunks, in a setting in which they are comfortable, they are more likely to retain that information and put it into practice.
Hearing loss is a normal part of the aging process. Throughout our lives we are exposed to loud noises and physical conditions that add up to gradual loss of hearing. But many of us lose our hearing prematurely by failing to protect ourselves from excess noise both at home and in the workplace. Understanding how your ear works can help you realize the importance of protecting your hearing now, before it's too late.

How Hearing Works:
The ear is made up of many delicate structures that carry sound waves to the brain. The hair cells in the inner ear are particularly important because they stimulate the auditory nerve which transmits impulses to your brain. The brain translates these auditory impulses into the sounds that we hear. When the ear's hair cells become damaged due to excess noise exposure, the auditory nerve is not sufficiently stimulated, the brain doesn't receive the appropriate sound signal, and we fail to hear correctly. And, when hair cells are damaged by prolonged overexposure to loud noise, they "die" and can't be replaced, resulting in permanent hearing loss.
Transportation and COVID-19
This past spring, during a peak time for COVID-19’s presence in the state, traffic safety partners from across Connecticut came together to examine the impact of Governor Lamont’s stay-at-home order on motor vehicle crashes in the state.

Motor vehicle crash (MVC) data from the Connecticut Crash Data Repository and daily vehicle miles traveled (DVMT) data from StreetLight’s Insight database from before and during the March 23, 2020 stay-at-home order were used. The period of January 1st to April 30th from 2017 to 2020 was selected for an interrupted time series design.
The analysis produced several significant results, including the difference not only in DVMT in 2020 compared to 2017-2019, but also within 2020 when comparing the pre-stay-at-home period (Jan 1 to Mar 22) to the post-stay-at-home period (Mar 23 to Apr 30). Differences in crash types were also revealed; single-vehicle crash types, both injurious and non-injurious increased while multi-vehicle crashes decreased. The most notable finding was the increase in fatal single-vehicle crashes (4.10 times) during the stay-at-home-period, a finding that was not found in crash data from the previous years.
Click here to learn more.
Thanksgiving Message from the T2 Center Team
Thanksgiving 2020 is certainly a time for all of us to stop and reflect on what we are thankful for.

For all of us at the T2 Center, we have quite a few things on our list and wanted to share them with you.
We are thankful for:

  • All of you! We would not be here without you, and we cannot thank you enough for working with us as we navigate through new opportunities to provide you with professional development.

  • Those who have attended our virtual trainings that we have worked very hard to develop – we are very grateful to you!

  • Our Advisory Committee Members, your input and guidance are valued more than you know.

  • Our T2 Team who cares so much about the public works community that we serve and has gone many extra miles to support you during these challenging times.

All of us at the T2 Center realize that if we were not all in this together, we would certainly not be as successful. As leaders in our public works community, take the time to make your own list of reasons you are grateful, and make sure to thank those on your crew who have helped make you successful.

Wishing you and your families a warm, happy and healthy Thanksgiving!
The T2 Center Team 
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If you have any ideas or suggestions for future Connecticut Crossroads topics, please feel free to email the designer Regina Hackett at [email protected]