October 2021
Issue 89
In This Issue:
  • Signal Spotlight: Signalized Intersection Design with Accessibility in Mind
  • Safety Matters: Safe System Approach for Pedestrians and Bicyclists
  • Innovation Station: New England APWA Chapter Connects: Scalable Road Weather Systems (Video)
  • Watch for Me CT: The Pedestrian Rules
  • New Cycling Infrastructure Launched in New Haven
  • UConn School of Engineering's New Senior Design Website
  • Coffee and Conversation: New Speed Legislation Explained: A Conversation with OSTA (Video)
Signal Spotlight: Signalized Intersection Design with Accessibility in Mind
October is National Pedestrian Safety Month, so this month’s Signal Spotlight focuses on accommodating pedestrians at signalized intersections. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 26% of pedestrian deaths in the United States occur at intersections. That represents 1,667 pedestrians killed each year. In Connecticut, the overall number of pedestrian-related crashes decreased from 1,574 in 2019 to 1,141 in 2020, but pedestrian-related crashes involving a fatality increased from 53 in 2019 to 60 in 2020. Designing the physical environment at signalized intersections to accommodate pedestrians of all ages and abilities, in combination with timing tools like the leading pedestrian interval, can increase safety for these vulnerable road users.
The Draft Public Rights of Way Accessibility Guidelines (PROWAG) outlines design practices to accommodate pedestrians with disabilities within public rights of way. Intersections that are designed with these users in mind will typically accommodate pedestrians of all abilities sufficiently. The PROWAG discusses several considerations specific to signalized intersections that designers and operators of traffic signals should keep in mind.

The first item to consider is pedestrian indications. All new installations should include countdown indications mounted between seven feet and ten feet above the ground. Where visual pedestrian signals are provided, audible pedestrian signals (APS) should also be provided for pedestrians who have low vision. Information on the required features of APS, including audible tones, tactile feedback and speech messages may be found in Section 4E.09 of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).

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
Safe System Approach for Pedestrians and Bicyclists
Recently, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) released a Primer on Safe System Approach for Pedestrians and Bicyclists. This comprehensive guide provides an explanation of the Safe System approach and its focus on eliminating fatal and serious injuries by recognizing that humans will make errors and are vulnerable. Agencies can then move forward in creating a roadway environment that helps eliminate crash risks for pedestrians and bicyclists while reducing vehicle speeds.
Pedestrians and cyclists are vulnerable users of our roadways, more likely to sustain serious or fatal injuries if involved in a crash. That risk increases with a vehicle’s speed. The Safe Systems approach considers all these various elements and takes a holistic approach to reducing serious injury and fatal crashes.

The FHWA primer explains each element, provides information on how an agency can implement a safety culture and offers a strategy to improve safety in their community.

Federal Highway Administration, Office of Safety https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/
For more information and assistance with local road safety in your community, contact Melissa Evans, Safety Circuit Rider, at [email protected].
New England APWA Chapter Connects: Scalable Road Weather Systems (Video)
Winter road maintenance represents a large portion of budgets for public works departments, and storm events demand significant resources. Managing public expectations while balancing clear and growing environmental impacts is perhaps the biggest challenge. The Towns of Franklin, MA and Sudbury, MA engaged Woodard & Curran, Inc. to develop and implement Road Weather Information Systems (RWIS) for local weather and pavement forecasting. RWIS is a management decision support tool to monitor road weather conditions using mini weather stations placed at strategic locations.

RWIS has been in use in the U.S. for nearly two decades at the state level, but implementation of RWIS at the local municipal level was previously cost-prohibitive with a low benefit-cost ratio. One game changer is the use of mini RWIS stations that have the same capabilities as their predecessors (but at lower cost) to monitor road surface temperature, air temperature, dew point, and relative humidity.

This presentation summarizes the results of the 2019-2020 winter RWIS pilots in Franklin and Sudbury. Technology, costs, savings and the benefits of this management decision support tool are discussed to help other municipalities understand the safety, economic, and environmental benefits. Additionally, both communities discuss upcoming plans for RWIS and optimization of winter road operations for the 2021-2022 winter.
Watch for Me CT: The Pedestrian Rules
Connecticut is enacting important new laws to protect pedestrians. They will help improve communication between pedestrians and drivers and make crossing the street safer for everyone.

Pa 21-28 (hb 5429) – An Act Concerning Pedestrian Safety 

Yielding to Pedestrians at Crosswalks

This law expands the circumstances under which drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians at marked and unmarked crosswalks that are not controlled by traffic signals or police officers. Currently, a driver must yield to a pedestrian, slowing or stopping as necessary, if the pedestrian has stepped off the curb or into the crosswalk.

Under the act, a driver must do so if the pedestrian: 1. is within any portion of the crosswalk; 2. steps to the curb at a crosswalk’s entrance and indicates intent to cross the road by raising his or her hand and arm toward oncoming traffic; or 3. indicates intent to cross the road by moving into the crosswalk’s entrance any body part or any extension of a body part, including a wheelchair, cane, walking stick, crutch, bicycle, electric bicycle, stroller, carriage, cart, or leashed or harnessed dog.

As under existing law, drivers who fail to yield at a crosswalk when required are subject to a $500 fine.

To learn more about the new pedestrian laws, click here.
New Cycling Infrastructure Launched in New Haven
After many years of planning, the Edgewood Cycletrack is creeping closer to completion and the new Chapel Street bike lane finished construction, with the draft of the Safe Routes for All plan to be released at the end of this month.
This summer, two infrastructure projects set the stage for the future of cycling in New Haven.  

In Downtown, a west-bound cycling lane was installed in June on the north side of Chapel Street, after approval from the City’s Traffic Authority. Soon after, a long envisioned protected bike path began construction in the Westville neighborhood.

“I think every opportunity we have to build out our bike network with the cycletrack or with the bike lane on Chapel Street is an opportunity to open up biking as a mode of getting around for more people,” Ward 1 Alder Eli Sabin ’22 said. “It’s good for the environment. It’s good for them. It’s more affordable.”

To continue this article, click here.
UConn School of Engineering's New Senior Design Website
UConn's School of Engineering has launched a new, redesigned Senior Design website! In the past, they have had had multiple websites related to the School of Engineering's Senior Design program, and this new site brings everything under one banner.
The new site, brings all of the resources, faculty contacts, information, past books, and virtual project descriptions together in a succinct way.
Coffee and Conversation: New Speed Legislation Explained: A Conversation with OSTA (Video)
There has been much discussion over the past several months about the recently approved legislation regarding the setting of speed limits, pedestrian safety zones and other safety measures. Now that the bill has been passed, many local agencies have questions about how it affects them. On September 21, 2021, the T2 Center held a special virtual session of our Coffee and Conversation program with our invited colleagues from the Office of the State Traffic Administration to answer all of your questions. If you missed the session, you can watch the recording. Even if you don’t have specific questions about the legislation, this is an opportunity to hear about it and gain a better understanding.
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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]