Caltrans honored for Strategic Highway Safety Plan
The Roadway Safety Foundation and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has recognized the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) for its Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP), a plan to reduce highway fatalities by 20 percent.
The SHSP proactively identifies and establishes priorities for the state’s highest transportation safety issues.
To develop the SHSP, Caltrans partnered with safety stakeholders from federal, state, and local agencies, as well as private groups and individual citizens.
More than 300 safety stakeholders representing 80 different agencies and organizations are working together to implement the Actions within the SHSP. For example, during this past year, Caltrans acted to improve safety by making school districts more aware of the Safe Routes to School program, expanded safety training for highway workers and CHP officers in construction zones, and trained engineers who design transportation projects on how to better accommodate older drivers and pedestrians.
“Delivering safety improvement projects is Caltrans’ utmost priority in order to achieve safety benefits as quickly as possible,” said Caltrans Director Randy Iwasaki. “All safety improvement projects meeting the eligibility criteria are guaranteed funding and are resourced from both federal and state funds.”
Roadway safety programs are a critical part in preventing injuries on the state’s highways. Caltrans implements many measures that make our highways safer. As a result of the SHSP, additional safety measures are being taken. The department has a long history of designing and building roadway projects such as straightening curves,
and installing median barriers and safety hardware to improve safety. In 2008, California’s traffic fatalities decreased 13.2 percent, reaching their lowest level since 1975.
California has seen several consecutive years of improved safety in many areas. Traveler fatalities on state highways in 2006 were 1.01 fatalities/100 million vehicle miles traveled (MVMT). The fatality rates went down to 0.94 fatalities/100 MVMT in 2007, and down again to 0.81 fatalities/100 MVMT in 2008. Traffic fatalities decreased by 14 percent, from 3,995 in 2007 to 3,434 in 2008. Some of the decrease in traffic fatalities may be related to the decrease in the number of miles traveled by the state’s drivers in 2008.
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