March 19, 2014
PacTrans and Washington ITE Host Safety Meeting
Consistent with PacTrans’ goal of improving transportation safety, PacTrans and the Washington State chapter of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE Washington) jointly hosted a meeting to discuss contemporary issues in transportation safety on the UW campus on March 18. An audience of nearly 60 students, researchers, and transportation professionals attended, representing UW, public agencies such as the City of Bellevue, the City of Federal Way, Snohomish County, and private organizations such as Transpo Group, Traffic Data Gathering, as well as other private consultants.
Chris Madill, the Director of Program and Services at the Washington State Safety Commission gave a talk on Target Zero, Washington State’s ambitious plan to reduce the number of annual traffic fatalities to zero by 2030. The plan sets priorities in reducing crashes, the largest of which is driving while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Target Zero will be the goal for several agencies that are interested in improving the safety of roads in Washington State. These relevant parties have already met several times to discuss ideas.
Matt Neely, the WSDOT Priority Programming and Scoping Engineer gave a talk on the advantages of new techniques for analyzing stretches of road where collisions are frequent. In the past, accidents were analyzed by plotting locations on maps and then identifying accident hot spots. With the advent of modern technology and data analysis techniques, it is now possible to use data over multiple years to look for long-term trends to find the regions that most need to be improved.
The two presentations triggered a lot of discussion. Additionally, attendees took the opportunity to talk to each other and network. While attending, people learned about multiple issues in transportation safety, along with the innovative ways that the issues are being dealt with. The event made several current and future transportation researchers and professionals aware of Washington State’s goals for reducing traffic fatalities and the cutting-edge accident analysis techniques that will help us get there.