VILLAGE OF WHITEFISH BAY PROGRAM IS 1 OF ONLY 7
WINNERS OF 2021 NATIONAL ROADWAY SAFETY AWARD
Community-wide Improvements Contribute to 39 Percent Reduction in Crashes
WASHINGTON, DC – The Village of Whitefish Bay, WI, a suburb of Milwaukee, was honored today with a 2021 National Roadway Safety Award for the success of its recent Community-Wide Safety Improvements Program, which is resulting in a significant reduction of crashes involving pedestrians and cyclists. The Village contracted with traffic consultant Traffic Analysis & Design, Inc. (TADI) to identify safety solutions and coordinated with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation in implementing these improvements.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, speaking about Whitefish Bay and the other award winners, said: “Congratulations to today’s seven honorees for the remarkable work they’ve done to protect the traveling public. They are proof that we have no shortage of willpower or good ideas for improving roadway safety.”
The National Roadway Safety Awards are a biennial awards program sponsored jointly by the Federal Highway Administration and the Roadway Safety Foundation. First presented in 1999, the awards recognize roadway safety achievements that move the nation toward zero deaths and serious injuries on U.S. roadways.
Confronting a decade-long increase in crashes involving the most vulnerable road users, Whitefish Bay deployed a series of low-cost solutions to reduce risks to pedestrians and cyclists. These included dynamic speed feedback signs, “yield to pedestrian” signage, design changes such as high-visibility crosswalks, installation of medians in the center of roadways, lengthier pedestrian intervals at the newly installed higher visibility traffic signals and better street lighting.
A simple but noteworthy improvement is the installation of “Danish Offsets,” so named for their widespread deployment in Denmark, in which crosswalk paths are oriented to provide more direct sight lines for pedestrians to observe oncoming vehicles.
Since 2015, community-wide crashes are down 39 percent and the cumulative five-year impact of the program is an estimated 257 fewer law enforcement responses, 480 vehicles spared from damage, and the prevention of eight pedestrians or bicyclists from being struck by vehicles.
“Our Village is grateful for this National Roadway Safety Award recognition. We pride ourselves in being a very pedestrian and bicyclist friendly community, which requires a real commitment to safety,” said Village President Kevin Buckley. “The Village Board and Staff take roadway safety seriously and never miss an opportunity to improve our roadway system through innovative means.”
Initial data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Federal Highway Administration show that 38,680 people died nationwide in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2020, despite a 13.2 percent decline in miles traveled due to the pandemic. Fatalities increased 7.2 percent from 2019 to the highest number since 2007.
“Last year’s jump in fatalities was alarming and projects like Whitefish Bay’s community-wide safety improvements save lives by deterring dangerous driving,” said Roadway Safety Foundation Executive Director Greg Cohen. “Future travelers in Whitefish Bay, whose lives and limbs will be spared by these improvements, will owe an unknowing debt of gratitude to the Village Board and staff. We urge DOTs across the nation to look at Whitefish Bay and other awardees’ innovations and replicate their efforts wherever possible.”
The National Roadway Safety Award projects were evaluated on three criteria: Effectiveness, Innovation, and Efficient Use of Resources. The program honors outstanding projects involving infrastructure, operational or program-related innovations. The seven winners were selected from a nationwide pool of applicants and the other awardees are:
- City of Bellevue, WA for its video analytics traffic safety program;
- Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization for its Complete Streets Master Plan;
- North Carolina Dept. of Transportation for its long-life pavement markings safety effort;
- California Dept. of Transportation for its 2020-2024 Strategic Highway Safety Plan update;
- Texas Dept. of Transportation’s tool to assess the safety of rural highway design elements; and
- Florida Dept. of Transportation for its use of smart work zone safety technologies.
Winners were selected by an expert panel of judges from a variety of disciplines.
For complete details on each of the winners, and for more information on the national awards program, visit http://www.safety.fhwa.dot.gov/roadwaysafetyawards/.
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The Roadway Safety Foundation is a 501(c) (3) charitable and educational organization. Our mission is to reduce the frequency and severity of motor vehicle crashes, injuries, and fatalities through improvements to roadway systems and their environment.