Signal Spotlight: Traffic Signals 101

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Signal Spotlight: Traffic Signals 101

On April 22, 2021 and April 23, 2021, participants from fifteen municipalities and the Connecticut Department of Transportation gathered for Signals 101, held at Firehouse 1 in Monroe. This class was the introductory workshop for Level One of the Connecticut Traffic Signal Technician Certificate Program. Though class sizes were limited due to social distancing restrictions, we were able to accommodate the participants over two days.

A total of 31 participants discussed the “anatomy” of a traffic signal, including the major components inside and outside the signal cabinet. Joe Balskus, PE, PTOE explained the history of traffic signals and the various models of traffic signal controllers, as well as other aspects of signal systems. Mark Zampini of the CT DOT Traffic Signal Lab loaned a controller cabinet to the program, allowing for a hands-on demonstration of the electronic equipment and features within the cabinet.

One of the most rewarding aspects of offering this new certificate program is seeing professionals from across the state come together to share their knowledge and experience. Lee Brow, from the Town of East Hartford, was recently promoted into the Alarms Division of the Fire Department where his duties will include providing maintenance to the town’s traffic signals. With a background as an FAA certified Airframe and Power plant Mechanic he knew the basics of electronics. He told me, “The Signals 101 workshop gave me a base to start to build from. I now have a basic idea of what’s going on inside the cabinet and how to start the troubleshooting process. The workshop has taken the intimidation factor down for me and I am excited to receive more training and education on traffic control devices.”

Dale Wadowski, of the Bristol Police Department, has maintained the city’s signals for a number of years. This was the first time he had the opportunity to attend formal classroom instruction of this kind and was happy to discuss his experiences with others. Stephen Frycz, Traffic Signal Supervisor for the City of Stamford, serves on the advisory committee for the Traffic Signal Circuit Rider program and was among the more experienced technicians participating in the workshop. Throughout the two days, he and other veterans in the field compared notes on the parts and equipment their municipalities are using and how they have solved various issues in the field. CT DOT engineers and technicians of varying levels of experience were also in attendance, sharing insights from their knowledge of the State’s infrastructure and traffic signals projects.

The schedule for the three remaining workshops is provided below:

Traffic Signal Operations and Reading Signal Plans

5/25/2021 – South Windsor

5/26/2021 – Farmington

Operational Safety and Basic Electricity

6/22/2021 – Southbury

6/23/2021 – Wethersfield

Traffic Signal Construction

Fall Date(s) TBD

Completion of all four workshops is required to earn the Traffic Signal Technician Certificate. Classes may also be taken individually, if desired. To sign up, visit the T2 Center’s website where registration is now open for all scheduled sessions. We look forward to hosting these future workshops and seeing our first graduates from Level One of the program!

Do you have a traffic signal-related question? Would you like to share a signal project you’ve been working on? If so, email Theresa.schwartz@uconn.edu and your town may be featured in a future Signal Spotlight!

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Sustainable CT: Fostering Cleaner and More Diverse Transportation

Sustainable CT: Foster Cleaner and More Diverse Transportation

What do the City of New Britain’s Beehive Bridge, shared parking in the Town of Killingly, and the Town of North Stonington’s walkability audit all have in common?  They are all thoughtful local initiatives that earned recognition in Sustainable CT.

Sustainable CT is a statewide initiative that inspires and supports communities in becoming more efficient, resilient and inclusive. It also recognizes those communities  for their sustainability achievements. Using a broad definition of sustainability, the program provides a menu of coordinated actions across thirteen sustainable impact areas, ranging from inclusive community building to clean and diverse transportation.  

Sustainable CT’s menu of actions build local economies, social justice and respect the finite capacity of the environment. Here is a list of those actions that fall within Sustainable CT’s transportation category, with an inspiring municipal success story accompanying each.

  • Action 6.1: Implement Complete Streets — The City of New Britain’s Beehive Bridge is a $7.5 million project completed in the Fall of 2019 to renovate its Main Street overpass over Route 72 and thereby reconnect the two sides of downtown New Britain. Complete Streets improvements for this project include: placemaking efforts through the addition of large, historically inspired sculptures; creating architectural pedestrian enclosures; widening sidewalks on both sides of the overpass; adding bicycle lanes; and adding two pocket parks on the East Main Street side of the bridge. The project also improved pedestrian access to the downtown New Britain CTfastrak Station. 
  • Action 6.2: Promote Effective Parking Management — The Town of Killingly implemented a parking allowance permitting contiguous parcels to share parking and or utilize public parking options within 200 ft of the property. This allows more space to be left as pervious surface for green space or future development.   
  • Action 6.3: Encourage Smart Commuting — The Town of Greenwich has implemented several incentives and amenities to encourage municipal employees to engage in alternative commuting strategies. Aligned with the Transportation Leaders Program, the Town designated an on-site point of contact for employee commute inquiries, made alternative commute information available, and provided municipal vehicles for offsite meetings and deliveries to employees who do not commute by personal vehicle. Additionally, the Town provided a designated bicycle parking area, pre-tax payroll deductions for employee commuting costs, and shuttle services for employees.
  • Action 6.4: Support Zero Emission Vehicle Deployment — The City of Hartford provides several electric vehicle charging stations in public locations. The city’s zoning regulations mandate that all new development provide for electric vehicle charging stations designed in accordance with 4.20.7.B, with varying requirements for percentage of total parking spaces with Level 1 or Level 2 charging stations for different building types. 
  • Action 6.5: Promote Public Transit and Other Mobility Strategies — The Town of North Stonington conducted a walk audit in the greater village area. Residents walked 4 routes that included community hallmarks such as schools, the library, a farm stand, and the recreation center. The audit sparked conversation about the walkability of the town and will inform decisions around community walkability moving forward.
  • Action 6.6: Manage Municipal Fleets — The Town of East Hartford implemented a municipal fleet management strategy that will enforce an anti-idling policy, modernize the town fleet by retiring aged vehicles, and improve equipment specifications focusing on reducing emissions, fuel efficiency and more durable/sustainable replacements. Other strategies include ensuring vehicles are operating in the most fuel efficient manner, implementing a fleet vehicle replacement plan that adheres to upgraded efficiency standards, and right-sizing town fleet with the intention of using the least amount of equipment possible. 

For additional inspiration, visit Sustainable CT’s searchable database of transportation initiatives and other local sustainability projects.  There, you can view the progress of the one-hundred twenty-one municipalities that have registered for the program, representing 83% of the state’s population. Collectively, sixty-one municipalities, over 36% of the state’s communities, have earned Sustainable CT certification since 2018. Certification lasts for 3 years.

Sustainable CT is managed by the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University and independently funded, with strong support from its three founding funders: the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, the Common Sense Fund, and the Smart Seed Fund.  

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Safety Matters: May is National Bike Month

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May is National Bike Month

With spring’s warm weather finally upon us, more people can be seen enjoying it by walking, running and biking. Biking is much more than just a recreational activity; it is a means for people to commute for work, access mass transit, get to school and move around their community. Cycling is also good for the environment, as it reduces vehicle congestion and emissions and provides health benefits. To celebrate and recognize all that bicycling offers, the League of American Bicyclists has designated May as National Bike Month.

In Connecticut, there are ten communities recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as Bicycle Friendly, the list of which can be found on the League’s website here. What does it mean to be a designated Bicycle Friendly Community? It means that these municipalities have focused on making cycling better by way of bicycle laws and ordinances, education, bicycle infrastructure and active bicycle advocacy in their community.

As cycling becomes more prevalent and communities strive to keep up with the demand, safety must be at the forefront. Educating both cyclists and drivers on safe behavior and the rules of the road can go a long way in improving safety on our roads. Watch for Me CT has many resources and valuable tips to assist communities with bicycle education. You can find these on their website at https://watchformect.org/bicyclists/.

Another way to ensure safety is through bicycle infrastructure. Of the over 840 fatal cyclist crashes in 2019, sixty-five percent occurred on major roads other than interstates and freeways. By providing bicycle infrastructure such as bike lanes, shared-use paths, applicable pavement markings such as sharrows, signage and bike signals, towns and cities improve bicycle safety. These measures improve safety for other users as well. When a designated bike lane is present, cyclists are less likely to ride on the sidewalk and impact pedestrians. Where proper signage and pavement markings are installed, vehicle drivers are made aware of the presence of cyclists and can adjust their driving behavior accordingly rather than being surprised by the presence of a cyclist.

Now is the time to start to think about where improvements can be made on your roads. In 2019, the highest percentage of bicycle fatalities occurred in July and August. As municipalities repave roads, consideration can be given to decreasing lane widths to add bike lanes, adjusting pavement markings or adding sharrows. To see some local examples of bicycle infrastructure and get some ideas of what you can do in your community, visit the T2 Center’s website.

For more information and assistance with local road safety in your community, contact Melissa Evans, Safety Circuit Rider, at melissa.evans@uconn.edu.

Resources:

https://bikeleague.org/

https://watchformect.org/

https://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/Main/index.aspx

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Signal Spotlight: Bristol Evaluation and Retiming of City-Owned Traffic Signals

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Signal Spotlight: Bristol Evaluation and Retiming of City-Owned Traffic Signals

The City of Bristol Public Works Department recently undertook a project to inventory and retime each of the city’s 36 signalized intersections. The goal of the project, which took approximately six months to complete (during the pandemic), was to create an inventory of the City’s traffic signal assets and to retime the signals to improve efficiency and reduce delay. Additionally, the project included training Public Works personnel to program the new signal timings into the controllers.

Much of the City’s traffic signal stock is over 20 years old, driving an increase in requests for maintenance. In recent years, the City worked to fully replace two signals in the downtown area. A few years ago, City staff noticed areas of congestion where the traffic signals were not operating as designed. The Public Works Department improved operations by installing video detection at 17 of the 36 signalized intersections to replace damaged, non-functioning loop detectors. The signal retiming project was the next logical step toward providing low-cost improvements to traffic signal operations and maintenance.

Public Works Director Ray Rogozinski notes that traffic signal retiming is one of the most cost-effective methods to improve traffic flow throughout a municipal roadway network. Indeed, according to NCHRP Synthesis 409: Traffic Signal Retiming Practices in the United States published in 2010, for most agencies traffic signal retiming costs $3,700 or less per intersection. A study of 26 projects in Texas showed an overall benefit/cost ratio of 38:1. A total of $1.7 million was spent among the projects, which resulted in average delay reductions of 19.4 percent, an 8.8 percent reduction in number of stops, and a 13.3 percent reduction in fuel consumption.

In the case of Bristol’s signals, the cost for the retiming study was $65,500 for 36 traffic signals, or $1,819 per intersection. This does not include the labor to reprogram each controller, which is expected to be performed by in-house forces. The Department plans to conduct spot evaluations after the retiming work is complete to assess the improvements in performance.

One recommendation of the inventory report produced as part of the project was a phased replacement of older traffic signals in the city’s downtown.  In February, the City submitted a CMAQ application for a downtown signal system modernization project. The primary objective will be to improve traffic operations at six intersections in the downtown area to accommodate anticipated future developments and increased traffic due to a recent Bristol Hospital project.

The report also includes a list of necessary short-term improvements. These include securing access covers, replacing pedestrian push buttons and signage, applying sealant, replacing a malfunctioning pedestrian signal head, trimming vegetation to improve sight lines, and replacing a damaged controller unit. The Department of Public Works will be requesting funding this year to address these recommended improvements. Armed with information gained through the signal retiming project, City staff and leadership can plan future investments and improvements that will undoubtedly benefit residents and visitors to the city for years to come.

Do you have a traffic signal-related question? Would you like to share a signal project you’ve been working on? If so, email Theresa.schwartz@uconn.edu and your town may be featured in a future Signal Spotlight!

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Signal Spotlight: Flashing Yellow Arrows Coming to an Intersection Near You

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Signal Spotlight: Flashing Yellow Arrows Coming to an Intersection Near You

What is a flashing yellow arrow?

The figure on the left below shows a typical “doghouse” display used for permitted-protected left turn phasing in Connecticut. When the green ball is indicated, left turning vehicles must yield to oncoming traffic. The figure on the right shows the typical arrangement for a permitted-protected left turn using a flashing yellow arrow. When the left turn movement is permitted, the flashing yellow arrow is displayed.

Why are flashing yellow arrows used?

Engineers design traffic signals with permitted-protected left turn phasing because it can increase the traffic capacity at an intersection, but it can also create an issue known as the “yellow trap.” The yellow trap occurs when a left-turning driver enters the intersection with a green indication to wait for a gap in the oncoming traffic. When the signal turns yellow, the driver mistakenly believes oncoming traffic also has a yellow indication. The driver expects the opposing traffic to slow down and stop, so he or she makes the left turn and is t-boned by an oncoming vehicle.

A comprehensive research project was conducted in 2003 to study the use of various left turn displays for permitted-protected left turn phases and is discussed in NCHRP Report 493: Evaluation of Traffic Signal Displays for Protected/Permissive Left-Turn Control. According to the study findings, the flashing yellow arrow was the most effective and easily understood display for the permissive left turn movement.

A flashing yellow signal typically means “proceed with caution” and drivers intuitively interpret the flashing yellow arrow to mean the same. Those who misinterpret the flashing yellow arrow typically think it means “wait,” which is a safer failure than assuming one has the right of way.  

A followup study, summarized in the technical brief Safety Evaluation of Flashing Yellow Arrows at Signalized Intersections, FHWA-HRT-19-035 published by the Federal Highway Administration in 2020, concluded that replacing the traditional signal displays used for permissive or permissive-protected phasing with those including the flashing yellow arrow reduces left-turn crashes by 15-50 percent, depending on the type of intersection.

Are flashing yellow arrows required by the MUTCD?

The North Carolina NCUTCD issued interim approval for implementing the flashing yellow arrow in 2006, and Maryland, Florida, Oregon, and Arizona began testing in the field. It was then incorporated in Section 4D of the 2009 version of the MUTCD. While agencies are not required to provide flashing yellow arrow displays for permissive left turn movements, many states and local agencies have adopted use of the flashing yellow arrow as a standard practice. The Connecticut Department of Transportation will soon implement its first flashing yellow arrow displays as part of signal upgrades under state project number 0007-0250 on the Berlin Turnpike (Route 5) in Newington.

Do you have a traffic signal-related question? Would you like to share a signal project you’ve been working on? If so, email Theresa.schwartz@uconn.edu and your town may be featured in a future Signal Spotlight!

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Safety Matters: CTDOT Local Road Programs

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CTDOT Local Road Programs

Recently, the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) Division of Traffic Engineering solicited feedback from municipalities on two programs focused on locally-owned roads. The first was to gauge interest in a future Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) safety improvement project. The second was to identify eligible local roads with horizontal curves for improved curve delineation. As the CTDOT continues to move towards systemic applications of safety improvements, they are working to include local roads in these programs. Since from 2016 to 2018, approximately 50 percent of the fatal and serious injury crashes in Connecticut occurred on municipally-owned and maintained roadways, this is an important safety initiative and one that municipalities should be aware of and participate in.

Systemic applications are a change from the traditional way of applying countermeasures. In the past, a countermeasure would be considered for a location that had already experienced crashes of a type correctable by that countermeasure. For example, if a horizontal curve experienced a number of roadway departure crashes, it might have been considered for curve signage. A systemic approach takes a broader look at a system of roadways with similar characteristics and risk factors and applies the countermeasure to them, before crashes occur. In the simplest terms, a systemic approach is a more pro-active means of improving safety. The Federal Highway Administration has been encouraging states and municipalities to take a systemic approach, and the CTDOT has recognized the value in doing so on both state and local roads.

Although deadlines for submission on a few of the solicitations have passed, more systemic safety projects are coming. Project engineers at DOT are currently working on several projects and studies, and if you missed the previous opportunities, I would encourage you to not miss these. The projects were developed based on a data-driven process under the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) in three different program areas: Intersection Safety, Pedestrian Safety, and Roadway Departure. Below is a summary of those efforts along with the respective project engineer’s contact information.

Proposed ProjectDesign/Construction Project/or StudyLetter Sent to Municipalities?Participation Request DeadlineProject Engineer
Traffic Signal Change Interval
Re-Timing
ProjectYes – Sent 2/25 – Request for signalized intersection locationsMarch 25thstephen.bruno@ct.gov
Traffic Signal Safety ImprovementsStudyWill use information from towns as requested in letter regarding the Change Interval
Re-Timing project; then outreach once study begins
See abovebalazs.martai@ct.gov
Signing/Stripping at Unsignalized IntersectionsProjectNot yetTBDfrederick.kulakowski@ct.gov
RRFBProjectFollow-up letter sent 3/3 – deadline extendedMarch 19th yiu.ng@ct.gov (Kevin)
Pedestrian Improvements and Removal of Programmed Flash @ Signalized IntersectionsStudyOutreach to towns once study beginsN/Abalazs.martai@ct.gov
Road DietsStudyOutreach to towns once study beginsN/Apeter.brazaitis@ct.gov
Horizontal Alignment SigningProjectYes – Request for Information sent 2/23March 19thclaire.sylvestre@ct.gov
Centerline Rumble StripsProjectRequest for participation sent to all townsDeadline has passed. Not accepting new applicationspatrick.onwuazor@ct.gov

If you have any questions on these projects, you can reach out directly to the project engineer listed above. Any general program questions can be directed to Joseph Ouellette, State Safety Engineer at TrafficSafety.DOT@ct.gov.

Every step a municipality can take towards improving safety could mean saving a life. Together, CTDOT and you can continue work to reduce fatal and serious injuries on all public roadways.

For more information and assistance with local road safety in your community, contact Melissa Evans, Safety Circuit Rider, at melissa.evans@uconn.edu.

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Safety Matters: Using Speed Display Signs for Speed Management

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Using Speed Display Signs for Speed Management

Speeding is a problem across the country, on every type of roadway and in every type of community. In an effort to address speed-related crashes on Connecticut’s rural roads, in coordination with the CT DOT, the T2 Center’s Safety Circuit Rider program has launched a Speed Display Sign Program. The two-year program will provide two signs, along with training on their use and benefit, to each of the 119 Connecticut towns with rural roads. Additionally, regional speed management trainings will be offered to all towns receiving signs to provide a broader speed management strategy.

Speed display signs are recognized by the Federal Highway Administration as an effective countermeasure to address speeding. They have been shown to reduce speeds by up to 5 mph and can be utilized in conjunction with other speed management tools to further reduce speeding. For more information, click here.

These signs help remind the driving public of the posted speed limit and how fast they are driving in relation to that speed limit. They can be an important educational tool in getting the public to slow down on roads where speed can often end in a crash. Since the signs also collect data, towns can identify problem areas and the most effective times of day for speed enforcement.

At this time there are twelve towns in the state that have received their signs, ten in the Capitol region and two in the Southeastern region. Of those, five have installed their signs and more are scheduled to complete installations in the coming weeks. Towns that have received their signs have also been provided with a list of priority local road locations where speed-related crashes have occurred to assist them with determining where to install the signs. These locations have been identified for all of the eligible towns.

More sign deliveries are being scheduled as well. By the end of June, all of the towns included in the first year of the program will have their signs. The year two towns should start to receive theirs in July.

For more information and assistance with local road safety in your community, contact Melissa Evans, Safety Circuit Rider, at melissa.evans@uconn.edu.

Resources:

https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/speedmgt/ref_mats/fhwasa16077/fhwasa16077.pdf

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Signal Spotlight: Traffic Signal Liability Considerations

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Signal Spotlight: Traffic Signal Liability Considerations

Traffic signals are a vital component of Connecticut’s transportation infrastructure, providing efficient travel within towns and cities and throughout the state. Motorists rely on traffic signals to assign the right of way in a manner that allows for safe operations. I was asked to provide some information on liability considerations for municipalities relating to maintenance of signalized intersections. As this article is for informational purposes and I am not a legal expert, I encourage you to discuss the applicable statutes with your corporation counsel and draw your own conclusions. That being said, here are several topics that may be of interest to those who maintain and operate traffic signal systems:

Sovereign Immunity

According to the Legal Information Institute at Cornell, “The sovereign immunity refers to the fact that the government cannot be sued without its consent.”  The liability of political subdivisions in Connecticut is determined by the state legislature and generally outlined in Section 52-557n of the Connecticut General Statutes (CGS).

Defective Roads and Bridges

CGS 13a-149 states that “Any person injured in person or property by means of a defective road or bridge may recover damages from the party bound to keep it in repair.”  As traffic signals are generally considered part of the road infrastructure, malfunctioning traffic signals may fall under the scope of Section 13a-149.

What this means for those responsible for traffic signal maintenance and operations is that it is possible a judge may deem a municipality liable for injuries resulting from a traffic signal that is defective. According to Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary, defective is defined as “Incapable of fulfilling its function, due to an error or flaw.” One may argue that a structural failure of a span pole or the display of conflicting indications at an intersection could be considered a defect.

As a risk management practice, municipalities may consider maintaining records of engineering studies performed in determining whether a traffic signal is warranted, along with detailed records of resident requests for service, maintenance and repairs, and conflict monitor testing.

Town Roads Lying Within, Intersecting or Crossing State Highway Rights-of-Way

CGS 13a-99 discusses ownership, easement rights, and maintenance responsibilities at the intersection of town roads at state roads. Some town-owned traffic signals are located at these intersections and may fall under the requirements of the statute.

Dark Signals

The Office of the State Traffic Administration (OSTA) has adopted the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (also known as the MUTCD) latest edition as part of its agency regulations establishing a uniform system of traffic control signs, devices, signals, and markings.

One specific issue relating to the MUTCD is the use of temporary stop signs at intersections where the signal is dark as a result of a power outage. The Connecticut Interlocal Risk Management Agency (CIRMA) published a brief providing guidance on the MUTCD language regarding this subject, which concludes that:

Shall Not – does not allow for discretion and appears to be a ministerial directive not to place temporary traffic control devices when the power for the device fails, unless the device can be properly programed to be in accordance with MUTCD as above.

“…signal indication that will first be displayed to that approach upon restoration of power is a flashing red signal indication and that the portable STOP sign will be manually removed from view prior to stop-and-go operation of the traffic control signal.”

In addition to following the MUTCD, municipalities and local traffic authorities should use communications channels with the community on what the expectation is when a traffic sign is dark.

Do you have a traffic signal-related question? Would you like to share a signal project you’ve been working on? If so, email Theresa.schwartz@uconn.edu and your town may be featured in a future Signal Spotlight!

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The Right Tool for the Right Job!

The Right Tool for the Right Job!

“Use the right tool for the job” is common-sense advice that applies to a wide range of situations. Your employees are only as good as the tools you provide for them to effectively and efficiently do their work. The right tools also provide opportunities for your employees to expand their range of skills and capabilities.

What do I mean by tools? I mean any equipment or resources needed to complete a task. When we think of Public Works Operations, many tools come to mind, but I am pretty sure a computer camera and a microphone might not typically be two of them.

As the T2 Center team has been navigating the world of training during COVID-19, we are finding that some of our trainings, particularly those in the leadership program, translate very well to a virtual platform (I know, we would rather be with you in person too, but for the time being it seems to work well). We are finding, however, that those who have access to computers and the appropriate accessories are being able to more effectively participate in the learning process. If you are allowing them time to participate in the training, we know you want them to make the most out of their experience.

Fearing your employees might not want to ask you for additional equipment, I wanted to bring this to your attention as leaders of your agencies. For a very small investment (less than $100), you could add a microphone and camera to a computer and designate it for use in virtual training. I am confident your employees will have a better experience and be able to focus instead on learning, not a technical challenge.

Take good care of yourselves. We look forward to seeing you both in-person and virtually in 2021.

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Safety Matters: Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety: Don’t Be in the Dark

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Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety: Don’t Be in the Dark

The “joys” of winter can be debated – are the holidays enjoyable or stressful; is snow fun or a hassle; are you a cold-weather fan or counting the days until summer? One thing that is not debatable is that days are shorter during the winter months. Shorter days mean less light conditions and pedestrians often find themselves walking in the dark. Additionally, winter weather often impacts visibility even during daylight hours. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2017 seventy-five percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred in dark conditions. During the winter months (January, February, and the following December), fifty-one percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred between 6:00 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. Even in the summer months, June through August, thirty-four percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred between 9:00 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. Similarly, the highest percentage of bicycle fatalities in 2018 – twenty-one percent – occurred between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).

There are some simple measures that pedestrians and cyclists can employ to ensure they are visible to drivers.  Following the rules of the road is important to your safety.

Tips for Pedestrians:

  • Walk on sidewalk if one is available.
  • If there is no sidewalk, walk facing on-coming traffic.
  • Cross at crosswalks if present.
  • If there is a pedestrian signal, use it correctly.
  • Make eye-contact with drivers – do not assume they see you or that they will stop for you.
  • Wear a reflective article of clothing.
  • Carry a flashlight.

Conditions can change quickly, especially in wintertime, and what starts as a walk in bright, sunny conditions can become a walk in gray, cloudy conditions in a matter of minutes.

Cyclists must follow the rules as well. During nighttime and times of low visibility, Connecticut law requires a cyclist to use a front light visible from 500 feet, a rear reflector or light visible from 600 feet and reflective material on both sides of the bike visible from 600 feet.

Tips for Cyclists:

  • Use the bike lane if one is available.
  • If no bike lane exists, ride in the travel lane.
  • Communicate your intended actions.
  • Wear reflective article of clothing, including ankle and knee reflectors.

Additionally, drivers need to be aware that pedestrians and cyclists could be on the road at any time. Driving safely by obeying the speed limit, not being distracted and following the rules with regard to pedestrians and cyclists – such as yielding at crosswalks and allowing a minimum of 3 feet when passing a cyclist – keeps everyone safe. For more helpful tips about pedestrian and bicyclist safety, visit Watch for Me CT.

For more information and assistance with local road safety in your community, contact Melissa Evans, Safety Circuit Rider, at melissa.evans@uconn.edu.

Resources:

https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812681

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