Safety Matters: A Roadway Safety Resource Wrap-up


A Roadway Safety Resource Wrap-up

The end of another year is fast approaching, and what better time to look back on all the great resources and tools that have been made available to local agencies to help improve roadway safety!

The Federal Highway Administration’s website is home to great safety resources and information to address roadway safety issues on local roads. These have been promoted throughout the year, but in case you missed them, here they are again.

  • Safe System Approach, which starts with the belief that death and serious injury on our roadways is unacceptable and that humans will make mistakes, has six basic principles as its foundation that are realized through five related elements. More information can be found here.
  • Expansion of the Safe System Approach for Pedestrians and Bicyclists with this primer.
  • Several Speed Management tools have been created to address the nationwide speeding issue, which is prevalent here in Connecticut as well. Those tools and related information are available here:
  • Intersection Safety is another area in which the Federal Highway Administration has added resources and tools for local agencies. Check out the great information on their website by clicking this link.   

For more information and assistance with local road safety in your community, contact Melissa Evans, Safety Circuit Rider, at


Federal Highway Administration, Office of Safety

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2020/2021 Ceremony Honoring T2 Center Program Graduates

On November 18, 2021, the Training & Technical Assistance (T2) Center staff, guests and Connecticut’s top transportation leaders honored 143 professionals who completed one or more of seven different certificate programs in 2020 and 2021.

There were 72 Public Works Academy graduates, 21 Road Master graduates, 13 Road Scholar graduates, 6 Local Traffic Authority graduates, 7 Transportation Leadership graduates, 8 Safety Champion graduates, and 16 graduates from the new Traffic Signal Technician Certificate Program. It is important to note that 12 of our 2020/2021 graduating class were members of the CT Department of Transportation.

The opening remarks of the ceremony were delivered by Assistant Dean Kylene Perras from the School of Engineering at the University of Connecticut. The keynote speakers for the event were Division Administrator Amy Jackson-Grove of the Federal Highway Administration, Commissioner Joseph Giulietti of the CT Department of Transportation; and two of our 2020/2021 graduates, Stephen Frycz Jr., Traffic Signal Supervisor for the City of Stamford and Tom Farrelly, Interim Road Foreman for the Town of Southbury.

The list of alumni for each graduating class from 1996 to the present are posted here.

To view the 2020/2021 Graduation Guide, please click here.

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Safety Matters: Introducing the FHWA Rural Roadway Departure Countermeasure Pocket Guide


Introducing the FHWA Rural Roadway Departure Countermeasure Pocket Guide

As part of the ongoing work to reduce rural roadway departures across the country, the Federal Highway Administration has developed a Rural Roadway Departure Countermeasure pocket guide. This guide, found here, provides local agencies with a quick reference for identifying possible countermeasures for various issues they may identify in the field. It is meant to be a hands-on approach to reducing roadway departure crashes and can be distributed to those employees who work on your local roads daily, to assist them in making your roads safer.

The guide is organized into three color-coded sections which align with the proven countermeasure categories – keeping vehicles in lane, reducing potential for a crash and minimizing severity. Also included is a graph that identifies the countermeasures within each section and provides information on whether that solution is a low, medium or high cost.

From January 1, 2021 to date Connecticut has had 133 fatal or serious injury rural roadway departure crashes. By implementing these countermeasures local agencies can reduce this number and get Connecticut closer to our goal of zero deaths on our roadways. Of course many of these countermeasures have been implemented around the state by towns and the Department of Transportation and should continue to be installed.

Additional information on roadway departure safety can be found on the FHWA website at

For more information and assistance with local road safety in your community, contact Melissa Evans, Safety Circuit Rider, at

– Federal Highway Administration, Office of Safety

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Safety Matters: Safe System Approach for Pedestrians and Bicyclists


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.

For more information and assistance with local road safety in your community, contact Melissa Evans, Safety Circuit Rider, at


Federal Highway Administration, Office of Safety

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Signal Spotlight: Signalized Intersection Design with Accessibility in Mind


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).

The next consideration is the pedestrian access route (PAR).  A minimum of four feet should be provided around obstructions, including pedestrian push buttons, mast arm and span pole bases, and sign posts. The pedestrian access route, including the sidewalks, ramps, and landing areas, should have a maximum slope of five percent and a maximum cross slope of two percent. It’s important to remember that the PAR does not end at the sidewalk ramp and the same standards should be applied through the crosswalks.

Push Button Locations are also a concern when accommodating pedestrians. When two push buttons are located at the same corner, they should be at least ten feet apart. If that’s not possible, it is important to provide a way for pedestrians with low vision to distinguish between the two buttons. This can be accomplished using a locator tone, a tactile arrow showing the direction of the crossing associated with the button, and an audible message denoting which of the two street crossings the button is provided for.

To ensure pedestrians using wheelchairs are accommodated, it is important to place push buttons within reach. As illustrated in the diagrams below from the PROWAG, the buttons should be mounted between 42 ” and 48 ” above the ground and the maximum reach necessary to press the button should be ten inches.

When considering location, the push button should be placed next to an accessible landing area to provide a stable space for the wheelchair while a pedestrian pushes the button. Keep in mind that guide rail, fences, bushes and other obstructions make it difficult for those using wheelchairs to reach a push button. To allow time for travel between the button and the sidewalk ramp, the push button should ideally be placed within five feet of the curb or edge of pavement and should not be placed more than ten feet away.

An accessible route may look acceptable on the construction plans, but often changes are made to a design to address field conditions. Installers and inspectors can ensure accessibility at the intersection by double checking the location of pedestrian signal equipment. Here is a checklist with some items to consider:

Are the push buttons and APS units close to the crosswalks they control?

Are the push buttons at the correct height?

Are the tactile arrows aligned with the crosswalks they control?

Are the audible indications functioning and do they make sense?

Are the audible locator tones and walk messages at the appropriate volume?

For more information on accessibility, visit the U.S. Access Board website at Information on Leading Pedestrian Interval and other proven safety countermeasures may be found on the Federal Highway Administration’s website at

If you have traffic signal systems questions, please contact:
Theresa Schwartz, P.E., P.T.O.E. – Traffic Signal Circuit Rider

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Safety Matters: Back to School and the Road to Zero


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.

There are many ways in which you can make your community safer for children and for all roadway users. Resources from organizations like the Safe Routes Partnership and Walk Safe can help you to create safe systems in your community. These organizations focus on getting children safely to and from school, but their ideas ultimately result in greater safety for all users. Communities can also start a walking school bus which provides safety while encouraging physical activity. This also helps reduce the number of vehicles on the road during school drop-off and pick-up hours. If you are interested in additional ways to make your community safer for children, watch this Road to Zero webinar.

For more information and assistance with local road safety in your community, contact Melissa Evans, Safety Circuit Rider, at


National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,

Road to Zero August 2021 newsletter,

Watch for Me CT,

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Signal Spotlight: Improving the Resiliency of Traffic Signal Infrastructure


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.

Stop signs are one option for providing control at a dark intersection. This requires the municipality to have a stock of temporary stop signs on hand and manpower to install the signs at the outage location(s) and collect them when the signal is back to normal operation. The MUTCD requires that the signal must flash all red upon startup where temporary stop signs are installed to avoid confusion, and the temporary stop signs must be removed before returning the signal to stop-and-go operation.

Providing backup power is another option in a power outage. There are several considerations when determining if and when to provide backup power at signalized intersections:


Portable or permanent generators are one option for providing power during short-term outages. For gas-powered portable generators, a lockable access port may be installed on the outside of the cabinet. These generators are transported to the intersection during the outage and plugged into the cabinet.  Permanent generator installations typically run on compressed natural gas (CNG) and can automatically switch to generator power in the event of an outage. Florida and Utah have guidelines for operating traffic signals on generator power. Costs can range from about $1,200 to install an external generator panel to in excess of $20,000 for a CNG system.

Also known as battery backup systems, an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) with battery storage is another option for powering a traffic signal during a power outage. These systems typically cost approximately $3,000 to $5,000 plus installation.


Safety is always top priority, and it is important for personnel to wear appropriate personal protective equipment and to set up a proper work zone while installing temporary stop signs or generators at a dark intersection. While using generators, care must be taken to ensure they do not run out of fuel or pose an electrocution risk to anyone who may touch the equipment. In the case of a battery backup system, storing large batteries in a cabinet at the intersection can pose a hazard in the event the cabinet is struck by a vehicle and battery acid is released into the environment.


Maintenance considerations for generators include maintaining a supply of fuel for portable generators and regularly testing generators to ensure that they and any automatic switching equipment are operating correctly. Battery backup systems may be installed in the controller cabinet, but battery fumes and leaking acid may corrode the sensitive electronics in a controller cabinet. It is common for this equipment to be installed in a separate cabinet, typically on the same concrete pad as the controller cabinet. A remote battery monitoring system may be considered to ensure that the equipment will operate correctly in the event of a power outage.


Considerations for installing generator and/or battery backup power at signalized intersections generally include:

  • Railroad pre-emption
  • Emergency vehicle pre-emption
  • System master controllers
  • Highway ramps and single point urban interchanges
  • Unique intersection geometry
  • Multiple left or right turn lanes in the same direction
  • History of signal malfunction due to power quality or reliability issues
  • Intersections on high volume roads
  • High-speed approaches
  • Signal repair response time

Some states, like Maryland, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin, have state-specific guidelines for the installation of UPS devices. Other states, like Georgia, require battery backup to be installed at all locations with railroad pre-emption and make all other determinations on a case-by-case basis. The Connecticut Department of Transportation does not currently allow UPS systems at stateowned traffic signals, though municipalities may install them on town-owned signals.

More information on planning for infrastructure resilience may be found in FHWA Publication FHWA-HOP-15-024 – Transportation System Resilience to Extreme Weather and Climate Change.

If you have traffic signal systems questions, please contact:
Theresa Schwartz, P.E., P.T.O.E. – Traffic Signal Circuit Rider

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Signal Spotlight: The Role of Traffic Signals in Traffic Incident Management


Signal Spotlight: The Role of Traffic Signals in Traffic Incident Management

What Is Traffic Incident Management (TIM)?

A traffic incident is a non-recurring event that creates a reduction in highway capacity and/or an increase in demand. Incidents can include traffic crashes, disabled vehicles, spilled cargo, highway maintenance or construction, non-emergency planned events, emergencies and major weather events.

In Best Practices in Traffic Incident Management published in September of 2010, FHWA defines Traffic Incident Management (TIM) as “a planned and coordinated multidisciplinary process to detect, respond to, and clear traffic incidents so that traffic flow may be restored as safely and quickly as possible.” As such, Traffic Incident Management requires extensive coordination between many stakeholders including law enforcement, fire and rescue, emergency medical services (EMS), transportation agencies, towing and recovery personnel, and communications specialists.

According to the National Traffic Incident Management Coalition (NTIMC), which was established in 2004, the National Unified Goal for traffic incident management is:

  • Responder safety;
  • Safe, quick clearance; and
  • Prompt, reliable, interoperable communications.

Why Is TIM Important?

Traffic incidents account for approximately 25% of non-recurring congestion on America’s roadways. This congestion has economic impacts to road users in the form of increased fuel costs and vehicle emissions. These costs are often compounded when additional crashes occur.

Secondary crashes, or crashes that occur as a result of distraction or congestion from a prior incident, are responsible for 18% of all fatal traffic crashes in the United States according to FHWA. Incident scenes place first responders in a vulnerable position on an active roadway. The National Traffic Incident Management Coalition (NTIMC) has found that traffic crashes and struck-by incidents are leading causes of on-duty injuries and deaths for law enforcement, firefighters, and towing and recovery personnel.

Traffic incidents follow a typical timeline, beginning when the incident occurs and ending when traffic flow returns to normal. The NTIMC has found that after an incident has cleared, four minutes of travel delay are created for every minute a freeway travel lane was blocked during the peak period. The longer the incident, the greater the cost and risk of injury or death to responders.

The Role of Traffic Signals in TIM

As you can see in the diagram above, providing traffic management and motorist information plays an important role throughout the timeline of a traffic incident. While traffic signal timings on a detour route may not significantly impact the overall duration for shorter incidents, a longer-lasting incident with significant impact may be shortened by implementing optimized traffic signal timing along the detour route.

TIM operations are managed using a structured Incident Command framework that is often led by law enforcement officials with support from various other stakeholders including fire and rescue personnel, emergency medical services (EMS), transportation agencies, towing and recovery personnel, and communications specialists. As noted in the Simplified Guide to the Incident Command System

for Transportation Professionals, Command considers the following three priorities:

  • Life Safety – protecting emergency responders, any incident victim, and the general public.
  • Incident Stability – Minimizing an incident’s impact on the surrounding area, maximize response efforts, and ensure efficiencies in using resources.
  • Property Conservation – Minimizing damage to property while still achieving established incident response objectives.

The role of transportation professionals in TIM includes modifying traffic signal timings to reduce congestion, providing information to Incident Command using data available through a Traffic Management Center, and advising motorists using variable message boards, highway advisory radio and internet resources like online mapping and social media.

Modifying the signal timings at intersections along a detour route allows agencies to give priority to a specified movement to increase throughput by increasing the green times on those approaches. This may be effective for “flushing” traffic from a freeway or allowing faster evacuation from an affected area. Information on using signal timings for evacuation operations may be found in the FHWA publication Using Highways During Evacuation Operations for Events with Advance Notice.

Transportation professionals operate Traffic Management Centers (TMCs) in metropolitan areas, monitoring real-time traffic conditions to help identify incidents quickly and assess the impact of traffic signal timing changes. Providing this information requires communications to a central operations center, central software, detection to measure traffic volumes, and cameras for detection and monitoring of events. Municipalities operating the same central software can improve regional operations by sharing data between agencies.

TIM Efforts in Connecticut

Traffic Incident Management is currently one of seven emphasis areas within the Connecticut Strategic Highway Safety Plan. At a regional level, the Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG) oversees the Greater Hartford TIM Coalition that includes both public and private stakeholders. Recent activities undertaken by the coalition include development of a TIM Field Pocket Guide for use by practitioners in the field, updates to the Greater Hartford Region Unified Response Manual, and updates to regional diversion plans for freeway incidents. The Greater Hartford TIM Coalition also publishes several newsletters each year which may be accessed from the Coalition’s website.

In collaboration with CTDOT and the Greater Hartford TIM Coalition, the T2 Center will be hosting TIM Training on September 29th and September 30th with Aidan Neely of CTDOT as the instructor. To register, visit the Workshop Calendar on the T2 Center website.

If you have traffic signal systems questions, please contact:
Theresa Schwartz, P.E., P.T.O.E. – Traffic Signal Circuit Rider

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Safety Matters: Speed Management Tools and Tips


Speed Management Tools and Tips

Speeding is one of the most common concerns faced by local agencies. It seems that people are always in a hurry, possibly distracted and not paying attention to posted speed limits. Regardless of whether it’s in a rural neighborhood or an urban downtown, speeding has become the “norm.” Unfortunately speeding can be deadly.The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) cites speeding as a factor in 26 percent of all fatalities.

So how do we solve this issue? Many people think enforcement is the only solution. Enforcement can certainly help, but most police departments have limited resources and can’t have an officer on every street all the time. However, there are several tools and tips available to slow people down and make our roads safer for everyone.

Although it would be great if we could control every driver’s behavior behind the wheel, we just can’t. What we can do is affect their behavior by providing them environmental guidance on how they should be driving. This could be in the form of additional signage on a roadway, the use of speed feedback signs as a reinforcement of the speed limit or in restriping a road so speeding feels less comfortable. Connecticut has also recently passed legislation to address speeds in pedestrian zones and allow municipalities to set local speed limits. For more information on that legislation, register to attend the T2 Center’s September Coffee and Conversation here.

Many local agencies also employ more extensive measures to reduce speeds by making physical changes to a roadway. This may include installation of devices such as speed humps/tables/cushions, chicanes, road diets and roundabouts. Many of these can be installed on a temporary basis to evaluate their effectiveness. Several communities in Connecticut have installed these types of devices, examples of which can be found on the T2 Center’s website. Also, there are several tools available to help you decide which measures might work in your community. FHWA has a website dedicated to speed management which includes useful tools including a traffic calming e-primer,

An important and often overlooked tool is being a good example on the road. When driving, obey the speed limit on all roads. It can be easy to drive slowly in our neighborhood but then speed elsewhere in town. By paying attention to how we drive everywhere, we can set the pace for other drivers and help slow speeds in our community.

For more information and assistance with local road safety in your community, contact Melissa Evans, Safety Circuit Rider, at


Federal Highway Administration,

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Signal Spotlight: New Haven’s Edgewood Cycle Track


Signal Spotlight: New Haven’s Edgewood Cycle Track

In a city where 20% of residents commute via walking or biking, safe routes to schools and places of work are essential. Four kindergarten-through-eighth-grade schools are situated along the Edgewood Avenue corridor, which connects the Westville neighborhoods to the job centers in the Elm City’s central business district. Edgewood Avenue was designed to be a local road but has become a main thoroughfare consisting of two-way boulevard sections and one-way sections between the Westville neighborhood and the city center. Nine signalized intersections along the corridor lack pedestrian accommodation, and there are no existing accommodations for bicyclists.

The City of New Haven initiated a project to construct a 2.5-mile cycle track along the Edgewood Avenue Corridor that is the first protected cycle track of its kind in Connecticut. The City applied for and received $1.2 Million in Community Connectivity Grant funds from the CTDOT to install the two-way, parking-protected cycle track. The cycle track will begin at Forest Road in Westville and continue to Park Street in downtown New Haven and is designed to provide safe access for all users along the route, including pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers. Construction is underway and is expected to be completed in 2021.

The cycle track is protected from vehicular traffic with paint and reflective bollards and uses a parking lane as a buffer to allow for safer routes to local schools, employment centers and Edgewood Park. The additional paint and bollards are expected to calm traffic along the corridor, improving safety and reducing emissions by reducing vehicular speeds.

Traffic Signal Innovations

The Edgewood Cycle Track project includes eleven signalized intersections and incorporates several innovative traffic signal technologies, including an adaptive system, bicycle detection, and connected vehicle technology. The intersection of Winthrop at Edgewood was a two-way stop-controlled intersection and will be converted to a signalized intersection as part of the project. At the west end of the corridor, there are four newer 2070-type controllers installed seven or eight years ago. The remaining signals have older NEMA controllers that are 20 to 25 years old.

At the intersections with older controllers, GridSmart video detection cameras will be connected to the central system via existing telephone lines. At the newer intersections with Econolite 2070 controllers, the video detection is connected via fiber. Upgrades at the signalized intersections include new conduit for the wiring to the bicycle and pedestrian signal heads as well as upgrades to the sidewalks and physical infrastructure to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.

RSUs (RoadSide Units) transmit SPaT (signal phasing and timing) information that drivers and bicyclists can see using a GPS-enabled app. The City contracted with Traffic Systems, Inc. to offer the free mobile app for users to download. At the signals connected to the central system, SPaT data will be broadcast to drivers and bicyclists. At isolated intersections, the GPS feature will allow bicyclists to be alerted to the presence of approaching vehicles. The RSUs come with five years of wireless service, so the phone lines at the intersections with RSUs will be disconnected to save the city taxpayers money.

In addition to vehicle detection, the GridSmart cameras installed at the intersections will be used for bicycle detection. When riding a bicycle down a corridor, there is typically what Doug Hausladen, the City’s Transportation, Traffic and Parking Director, calls an “effort curve.” If a bicyclist is forced to stop at a signalized intersection, it takes great effort for them to go from zero to one mile per hour, but once the bicyclist is traveling at a steady speed, bicycling is generally quite easy. With SPaT information, bicyclists may adjust their speed to avoid stopping and smooth out their effort curve.

At the intersection of Edgewood Avenue at Route 10 (Ella T Grasso Boulevard), exclusive bicycle phasing will be provided. To prevent conflicts between bicycle movements and left- and right-turning vehicular movements, the bicycles traveling along the Edgewood Avenue cycle track will have a protected signal phase during which all motor vehicles are stopped.

CTtransit operates the 246 Route along Edgewood Avenue, and it is also a priority route for emergency vehicles. Emergency vehicle pre-emption equipment will be installed to give transit and emergency vehicles the right of way along Edgewood Avenue.

Design Challenges

The design process for the traffic signals was completed in-house by the City and took two years, with several rounds of CTDOT comments and design revisions. One of the major design challenges faced by the City’s engineers was working within the limited structural capacity of the existing traffic signal supports. Ideally, the bicycle signal heads would be placed at the far side of the intersection on the mast arm. The City hired a structural engineering consultant to examine the adequacy of each of the existing structures to support the weight of the additional equipment. The consultant found that the pedestrian and bicycle signals could not safely be added to the 30-year-old mast arm supports.

City engineers were forced to change the design to provide side-mounted bicycle signals on aluminum pedestals to achieve far-side placement of pedestrian signal indications. In 2015, the City submitted 36 individual submissions for each signalized intersection and responded to four rounds of comments. In the end, the traffic signals were not perfect FHWA model designs, but the City was entrepreneurial and came up with an acceptable solution that accommodates all users at the intersection. In addition to coordination with FHWA in the design of the bicycle signals, the City got interim approval to paint what are nicknamed “elephant tracks,” the wide green painted stripes used to guide bicyclists through an intersection.

The roadway and traffic signal improvements were originally to be bid as one project, but ultimately the project was divided up to prevent the traffic signal portion of the project from holding up construction on the other components of the cycle track.

Future Opportunities

Vulnerable road users are killed on New Haven’s streets every year, including twelve in the year 2020, but the City is working hard to reduce that number. In 2009, the City conducted a planning study to identify gaps in the bicycle network and to identify short-, medium- and long-range improvements that would make travel safer for bicyclists and pedestrians. The City continues to use the plan to guide investment in infrastructure for vulnerable road users with the goal of having a citywide network of protected bicycle routes.

If you have traffic signal systems questions, please contact:
Theresa Schwartz, P.E., P.T.O.E. – Traffic Signal Circuit Rider

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