Safety

Plan’s safety goals to be reached by OKI working with jurisdictions

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act continues the mandate set by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act that States establish a performance and outcome-based program for transportation decision making. Targets for five performance measures are required annually: number of fatalities, number of serious injuries, rate of fatalities, rate of serious injuries and number of non-motorized fatalities and serious injuries. MPOs have 180 days following the establishment and reporting of the State targets to make a decision regarding whether to support each state’s targets or to establish their own. States established performance targets as part of required Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) reporting in August 2022. OKI supports each individual state’s Safety Performance Measure Targets and plan and program projects so that they contribute toward accomplishment of each state’s Safety Performance Measure Targets.

Number of Fatalities

In the United States, motor vehicle crashes resulting in fatalities have increased over the last decade. In the years between 2010 and 2020, the last year for which annual data is available, fatal crashes increased from 30,296 in 2010 to 35,766 in 2020.

Crashes are a significant issue for transportation planning due to their impact on the individuals involved as well as the economic impacts on the entire OKI region. Research into the locations where crashes are occurring at a greater rate than the norm can lead to improvement in safety for the traveling public. Safety data from all three states has been reviewed in the preparation of this plan. Moreover, interagency consultation and cooperation result in advancement of projects which address the region’s safety needs.

An estimated 42,915 people died in motor vehicle traffic accidents in 2021, an increase of 10.5 percent from total fatalities in 2020. This equates to someone dying every 12 minutes in a motor vehicle accident somewhere in the nation.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

The National Center for Health Statistics has determined that motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of accidental death for persons of every age from four through 21 years old in 2021.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, WISQARS

One of the primary goals of this plan is to improve travel safety by reducing the risk of crashes that cause death or injuries.

Regional Crash Data

Within the OKI region, more than 66,000 crashes occurred each year between 2017 and 2021, ending, on average, 160 lives, and causing more than 10,500 injuries. Available data indicates that fatalities have decreased 9.4 percent in the OKI region since 2017. Fatalities during the 5-year time period peaked in Hamilton County in 2021 with 72, while one fatality occurred in Campbell County in 2021.

Fatality Rate per 100 MVMT

Fatality rate is calculated as the number of fatalities per 100 Million vehicle miles traveled (MVMT). This metric provides a more accurate measure of the risk of being in a fatal accident based on the number of miles traveled. In the United States, the fatality rate per 100 MVMT for all motor vehicle crashes in 2021 was 1.37. That is an increase of 18.1 percent between 2017 and 2021, the last year for which annual data is made available .

In the OKI region, Butler and Clermont Counties in Ohio, Boone, Campbell and Kenton Counties in Kentucky, and Dearborn County in Indiana, all had a fatality rate above 1.0 during at least one year, between 2017 and 2021. Over the five-year time period, the average rate of fatalities for the OKI Region was 0.84, well below each state’s adopted statewide performance safety target.

Number of Serious Injuries

Serious injuries are those accidents where at least one individual has been incapacitated in a motor vehicle crash during a calendar year. Boone County in Kentucky and Dearborn County in Indiana saw an increase in serious injuries between 2017 and 2021. The OKI region as a whole experienced a 13.2 percent decline in the number of serious injuries over the same time period.

Serious Injury Rate per 100 MVMT

Similar to the rate of fatalities, serious injuries are measured against 100 MVMT. In the OKI region, the rate of serious injuries declined in every county except Boone County in Kentucky and Dearborn County in Indiana, between 2017 and 2021. In Clermont County, the rate of serious injuries declined by 33 percent from a high of 9.43 in 2017. As a whole, the OKI region experienced a decline of 7.3 percent in the rate of serious injuries over the five-year time period.

Number of Non-Motorized Fatalities and Serious Injuries

This metric includes all non-motorized (bicycle and pedestrian) fatalities and serious injuries involving a motor vehicle during a calendar year. Reported bicycle and pedestrian fatalities in the OKI region peaked in 2021 with 36. Bicycle deaths have been minimal and pedestrian fatalities have totaled 31 or less in each year from 2017-2021.

Bicycle and pedestrian serious injuries peaked in 2018 with 172, before dropping sharply to 121, in 2019. By 2021, bicycle and pedestrian serious injuries had fallen to 113. The majority of serious injuries have involved pedestrians.

Coordination with Statewide Plans

To reach this plan’s safety goals, OKI will coordinate fully with the individual states and local communities in its planning area. In compliance with the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act requirements that were established in MAP-21 and a continuance of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana have developed State Highway Safety Plans (SHSP). OKI’s coordination with the region’s three states’ SHSPs is mandated to “include, at a minimum, high-level goals, objectives and strategies that are consistent with those in the SHSP.” Source: Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) Interim Guidance, FHWA Office of Safety, January 18, 2023

OKI is contributing to the fulfillment of each individual state’s safety goals by analyzing crash data on roadways within the agency’s tri-state planning area. While implementing state and local governmental agencies are responsible for determining engineering improvements to the roadway system, OKI assists in identifying high-risk locations. These analyses result in the identification of locations where safety needs are greatest in the OKI region. To conduct this analysis, OKI acquires the individual crash records for the most recent five years for which data is available (2017-2021) from each state in the region. Each state gathers different types in different formats which OKI normalizes and combines for analysis.

In the five year period from 2017 through 2021, OKI staff reviewed state crash data and determined that there were 749 fatal crashes on on-system (interstates, other freeways, arterials and collectors) roadways in the OKI planning area. Beyond the potential individual devastation wrought by crashes, the costs of such incidents impact every person in the OKI region. These costs are felt by an incremental loss in productivity due to non-recurring congestion, actual property damage costs and monetary costs associated with medical expenses, increased insurance premiums, and legal fees. Improving travel safety will have positive impacts for everyone in the OKI region.

In a review of crash data, a crash rate which is expressed as the number of crashes per 100 MVMT, is a more accurate measure of the safety condition of the roadway than a simple crash tally because it takes into account traffic volume.

OKI has incorporated the cost of excessive crashes into its project prioritization process. This approach combines crash rates, expected crash rates and costs by accident type to enable the identification of potential high value investment locations. Locations that have high excess expected costs are awarded higher points in the prioritization process. This can assist state and local agencies in pinpointing transportation needs for further study and, when possible, finding resources to meet those needs.

Safety Countermeasures for Motorized Vehicles

In October 2021, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) revised their list of research-proven roadway safety countermeasures, first developed in 2008 and updated in 2012 and 2017. This fourth generation of countermeasures adds nine new safety treatments and strategies to a growing list that now includes 20 proven countermeasures that FHWA is advocating for implementation across the country. Source: “Guidance Memorandum on Promoting and Implementing the Updated Proven Safety Countermeasures,” Federal Highway Administration, 2021.

These proven countermeasures include:

  • Roadside design improvements at curves
  • Reduced left-turn conflict intersections
  • Systemic application of multiple low-cost countermeasures at stop-controlled intersections
  • Local road safety plan
  • Safety edge
  • Roundabouts
  • Corridor access management
  • Backplates with retroreflective borders
  • Longitudinal rumble strips and stripes on two-lane roads
  • Enhanced delineation and friction for horizontal curves
  • Median barrier
  • Dedicated left- and right-turn lanes at intersections
  • Yellow change intervals
  • Road safety audit
  • Appropriate speed limits for All road users (New)
  • Speed safety cameras (New)
  • Variable speed limits (New)
  • Wider edge lines (New)
  • Lighting (New)
  • Pavement friction management (New)

State departments of transportation are encouraged to incorporate these countermeasures when planning transportation projects.

Safety Countermeasures for Pedestrians and Bicyclists

To improve pedestrian and bicycle safety, the National Highway Safety Administration, in its 2006 Highway Safety Program Guideline No. 14, specifies that the following engineering measures be incorporated into a state’s highway safety program:

  • Bicycle lanes (New)
  • Crosswalk visibility enhancements (New)
  • Leading pedestrian interval
  • Medians and pedestrian crossing islands in urban and suburban areas
  • Pedestrian hybrid beacon
  • Rectangular rapid flashing beacons (New)
  • “Road diets” (roadway configuration)
  • Walkways

Older Driver Safety

During the planning period 2020 to 2050, a safety challenge will present itself in a magnitude not seen previously in the OKI region: the older driver. More than 364,000 persons aged 65 and older are projected to populate the region in 2050, compared with 329,396 in 2020, and will constitute roughly one-fifth of the population of driving age in the OKI region.

Nationally and locally, crash data analysis indicates that the older driver is more frequently involved in right angle crashes and in crashes at intersections compared to the general motoring population. Furthermore, drivers 65 and older are at greater risk for more severe crashes due to bodily frailty.

Countermeasures to help seniors drive more safely include explanatory signage, larger signage, redundant signage, advance notice signage, explicit pavement markings and back plating on signals. All of these countermeasures are low-cost and able to be implemented within the confines of the existing roadway. Because the elderly may need additional time to cross a street due to shorter stride, slower gait and slower reaction time, educational plaques and leading pedestrian intervals on signals can improve pedestrian safety. An added value of countermeasures addressing the needs of the elderly is the fact that they also enhance safety for travelers of all ages.

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