September 2021
Issue 88
In This Issue:
  • Signal Spotlight: Improving the Resiliency of Traffic Signal Infrastructure
  • Safety Matters: Back to School and the Road to Zero
  • Innovation Station: AAA's Technology Takes the Wheel Speaker Series (Webinar) - September 23
  • FHWA's Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures: Reducing Roadside Obstacles (Video)
  • Town Crier: New Milford DPW Hires Four Interns
  • Northeastern State DOTs Win Awards for Transportation Projects
  • FHWA's Improving Safety on Rural Local and Tribal Roads: Safety Toolkit (Video)
  • AASHTO Releases 2021 Materials Standards Guide
Signal Spotlight: Improving the Resiliency of Traffic Signal Infrastructure
Among the other trials 2021 has brought to public works departments, it has been a particularly active year for hurricanes and tropical storms. Connecticut has had a number of damaging storm events over the last 10 years, with storms Elsa, Isaias, Dorian, Jose, Sandy and Irene causing significant damage to public infrastructure and private property. Widespread power outages impacted businesses and delayed the state’s return to normal operations. Many Connecticut municipalities are taking steps toward greater infrastructure resiliency, including continuity of traffic signal operations during power outages.
Dark intersections pose an immediate safety concern for the traveling public. In a New York State Department of Transportation study by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2009, researchers found that 77% of all dark signal-related collisions reported were right angle collisions, and there were twice as many collisions involving injuries at those locations than collisions with no injuries reported. Dark intersections can also cause delay for emergency responders at locations that typically provide emergency pre-emption of the signal operations and may contribute to congestion in areas with significant traffic volumes. Having a plan in place for power outages and other emergencies is essential to providing good basic service.

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
Back to School and the Road to Zero
September means “back to school” around Connecticut. Although school continues to look a little different for many, what remains the same is the danger students face getting to and from school on our roadways. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines children as age 14 and younger. In 2017, the most recent year reported, NHTSA statistics revealed the following:
  • Of the 37,133 motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the United States, 1,147 (3%) were children.
  • Of the 5,977 pedestrian traffic fatalities in 2017, 214 (4%) were children.
  • Of the 783 pedalcyclist traffic fatalities in 2017, 53 (7%) were children.
This number means an average of three children per day are killed on our nation’s roadways. The Road to Zero Coalition, which is managed by the National Safety Council, has made a commitment to bring traffic fatalities down to zero by 2050. This is a challenging but important commitment, as no one should have to die simply traveling our roads. Children are especially vulnerable during the school year as they are walking and biking to school, often during times of little daylight.

To continue this article, click here.

For more information and assistance with local road safety in your community, contact Melissa Evans, Safety Circuit Rider, at [email protected].
AAA's Technology Takes the Wheel Speaker Series (Webinar) - September 23
Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) represent the future of transportation. This technology has the potential to improve the safety and efficiency of our transportation systems across all modes. But, challenges still remain before this innovative technology can be implemented. To get there, researchers, developers, industry partners, and state agencies must all collaborate and take critical steps to ensure safety, efficiency, and equity on our roads.
Join us on Thursday, September 23rd, from 10:30 to 11:45 am for the virtual kick-off seminar of Technology Takes The Wheel®, a three-part speaker series on the challenges and opportunities of connected and autonomous vehicles. Experts in CAVs will discuss whats next in this growing field, key projects and innovative research happening now and more.
To register, click here.

For more more information or any questions you may have, please contact Amy Parmenter.
FHWA's Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures: Reducing Roadside Obstacles (Video)
On August 12th, FHWA launched a monthly webinar series through the Every Day Counts (EDC) initiative Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures (FoRRRwD). The webinar was on Reducing Roadside Obstacles.

Connecticut's own Kevin Kelly, President of the Tree Wardens' Association of CT and Director of Public Works for the Town of Hebron, presented at this webinar. Kevin did a wonderful job and there was a lot of important information shared.
If you did not have a chance to catch the webinar, you can watch it here.

For more information on the FoRRRwD initiative, click here.
New Milford DPW Hires Four Interns
New Milford DPW had four interns work for their engineering staff this summer: Taina Costa, Yesmine Jlidi and Christopher Muralles from UCONN and Logan O'Donnell from WPI, all of whom are civil engineering majors. Each intern worked on a variety of projects. Taina worked on several road projects conducting road surveys, mark outs, compaction testing and pavement inspection, and she worked with Yesmine on a drainage system design for the Lanesville Fire Department. Yesmine primarily worked on an initial conceptual design for a new DPW complex. She also did some road construction inspection and worked with Taina on the Lanesville drainage project. Christopher Muralles worked on establishing a bridge preventative maintenance program, developed a conceptual design for moving the 9-11 Memorial Flag and performed road construction inspection and compaction testing. Logan O'Donnell spent the summer in the Town car. He inspected all 200+ miles of roads and inputted data into the Town's Cartegraph system; with this information, the Town has current road ratings (PCI’s) used to prioritize road maintenance and construction. He also worked with the road construction staff laying out road reconstruction and performing inspections.
During their last week, each intern was required to give a presentation to the Mayor, HR Director and DPW staff about the work they did and what they learned.
Because of the positive experience New Milford had, they are budgeting to continue to employ interns each year. They are considering expanding the program and employing a co-op student or multiple interns year round. Their view is that this gives the student a chance to see what Public Works is about (possibly as an interesting job) and creates a pool of talented young engineers to work for either the state DOT or local DPW's, maybe even as a future DPW Director.
To learn about what other Young Professionals in Public Works are doing, please tune in on September 23, 2021, for the New England APWA's Chapter Connects: Young Professionals in Public Works webinar. You can register here.
Northeastern State DOTs Win Awards for Transportation Projects
A group of transportation projects in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania earned regional recognition in the 2020 America’s Transportation Awards competition for reducing crashes, saving lives, expanding reliable access to economic opportunities for community members, and helping revitalize local communities.

“The people who planned, engineered and built these projects deserve recognition for the positive impacts they have provided through these investments in local communities,” said Patrick McKenna, director of the Missouri Department of Transportation and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 2019-2020 president, in a statement.

“Their work represents a dedication to connecting people and improving local economies while implementing creative solutions,” he added.

To learn more, click here.
FHWA's Improving Safety on Rural Local and Tribal Roads: Safety Toolkit (Video)
The Improving Safety on Rural Local and Tribal Roads: Safety Toolkit is designed for rural, local, and tribal road practitioners to help them improve safety on their roads. This Toolkit provides a step-by-step process and identifies resources for conducting road safety analysis. The Toolkit should be considered a starting point for safety analysis and is designed to provide several resources and techniques that are flexible in their application.
AASHTO Releases 2021 Materials Standards Guide
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials has released the 2021 edition of its Standard Specifications for Transportation Materials and Methods of Sampling and Testing and AASHTO Provisional Standards, commonly referred to as the “Materials Standards” guide.
Developed by the AASHTO Committee on Materials and Pavements, the Materials Standards guide contains specifications, test methods, and provisional standards commonly used in the construction of highway facilities.

AASHTO is returning to a single annual release of the standards, rather than three separate annual updates, for the 2021 edition – with the PDF Download format of the guide released each year in July followed by the paperback format in September.

To make it easier for users to track updates and search for specific standards, AASHTO organized its Material Standards volumes by standard type: M and R standards in one volume; T standards in another; and MP, PP, and TP standards in the third.

For more information, click here.
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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]