Public and private transportation groups were recognized Sept. 29 for their commitment to safety at the American Road & Transportation Builders Association Transportation Development Foundation (ARTBA- TDF) and National Safety Council (NSC) fifth annual “Roadway Work Zone Safety Awareness Awards” program.
The awards were presented during the 2005 Intertraffic North America Trade Show and Convention in Baltimore, MD.
The competition recognizes outstanding efforts to help reduce roadway work zone construction accidents, injuries and fatalities.
The awards are divided into four categories: private outreach campaigns, government outreach programs, safety training and innovations in technology. An independent panel of judges reviewed the entries and selected the winners.
Private Outreach Campaigns
This category recognizes the efforts of national, state and local private sector organizations, such as construction companies, utility companies or trade associations that promote roadway work zone safety through implementation of employee and/or public education campaigns and training programs.
The judges selected two winners.
• State: Ohio Contractors Association and the Ohio Laborers-Employers Cooperative Education Trust, Columbus, for the Ohio Work Zone Coalition.
The organizations initiated a communications effort and assembled a coalition of organizations with similar safety interests to promote driver safety in highway construction work zones. It featured creation of “Bud the Barrel” logo, television and radio public service announcements and educational billboards placed adjacent to targeted work zones.
All communications tools were aimed at offering tips for drivers to help them safely navigate work zones. The coalition also targeted teen drivers with safety messages at the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles where all new drivers must go to receive a driver’s license.
• Local: Ayres Associates Inc., Eau Claire, WI, for the Interstate 94 Bridge over the St. Croix River Project.
Ayres Associates utilized several strategies to boost safety on the bridge project, including use of the “Quickchange Moveable Barrier System” — a tool allowing workers to move barriers in a timely manner and ease traffic congestion.
The firm also implemented an incident management plan that included using tow trucks and state troopers patrolling the site during peak travel times; a shuttle service allowing pedestrians and bicycling to cross the bridge: radio and e-mail updates to motorists and changeable message signs alerting drivers of construction plans.
All of these safety measures were properly coordinated among the various transportation and law enforcement agencies.
The safety measures paid off: the project was completed in six months without a major traffic accident.
Government Outreach Programs
This category recognizes the specific public outreach campaigns or safety programs by federal, state or local government agencies aimed at improving roadway work zone safety.
Three winners were selected at the state level.
• State: Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), Tallahassee, FL, Work Zone Safety: It’s Everyone’s Job.
Spurred by an increasing trend of traffic injuries and fatalities in the state’s work zones, the FDOT’s year-long campaign consisted of law enforcement, engineering, public information and education components.
The program featured state troopers disguised as construction workers in work zones to catch unsuspecting speeders, public service announcements, a dynamic Web site, informative employee newsletter, and distribution of campaign posters and safety cards featuring safe driving habits.
• State: South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT), Columbia, SC, for High Visibility Enforcement Campaign for Work Zone Safety.
Working in partnership with the South Carolina Department of Public Safety and local law enforcement, SCDOT was able to create a safer environment for employees and motorists alike.
The team used radio and TV ads, talk shows, billboards and signs featuring a combination of law enforcement messages and emotional appeals to reach drivers with important safety messages. Officials also distributed printed materials on work zone safety and increased enforcement visibility in construction areas.
The program has been credited with helping South Carolina experience a significant reduction in injuries and fatalities.
• State: Illinois Department of Transportation (lDOT), Chicago, IL, for the Orange Ribbon Campaign.
Through a comprehensive campaign, IDOT distributed orange ribbon lapel pins, bumper and static stickers with safety messages at community events; created the “Keep Us Alive Drive 45” slogan which encouraged drivers to slow down while in designated work zone areas; and promoted the safety message to 200,000 NASCAR fans at the Chicagoland Speedway through signage and billboards at entrances.
The agency also developed the Work Zone Safety Task Force to define measures that would increase the protection of highway workers and introduced photo radar enforcement.
Two winners were chosen at the local level in the Government Outreach category.
• Local: Missouri Department of Transportation, Jefferson City, Mo., for the Work Zone Awareness Campaign.
First created in 2003, this multi-year promotion continues to improve with new and innovative educational components.
Highlights of 2005 outreach activities included radio ads aimed at young drivers, more than 21 billboards located near major work zones throughout the state, traveler outreach with information positioned at rest areas and welcome centers, and a new work zone map Internet Website giving motorists information about the location of current work zone areas.
• Local: Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) Northeast District, Hannibal, MO, for “Outdrive, Outlive, Outlast: Highway Survivor.”
“Highway Survivor” is an interactive game drawing from the popular CBS television series and was developed with a goal of teaching high school juniors and seniors safe work zone safety driving skills.
“Tribes” of students were asked to answer questions relating to highway safety and were given “tribal challenges,” Maintenance and construction workers visited schools and implemented the game with young drivers while providing a personal touch.
Additionally, real-life Survivor star Twila Tanner, returned to her MoDOT job after her success on the show and joined the efforts by traveling with Highway Survivor as a guest celebrity. The program successfully reached more than 500 students in the state.
This category recognizes national, state and local training programs that promote worker safety on the job site.
One winner was selected.
• Arkansas State Highway & Transportation Department (AHTD), Little Rock, MO, for the Work Zone Design Safety Series.
This instructional video tool was designed to allow inspectors and workers to see work zone situations and potential hazards as they develop and change over time.
The series offered five productions ranging in length from 15 to 30 minutes and used a blend of narration, spokespeople and round table discussion to explain construction scenes, graphics and illustrations of actual work zone areas.
The series has been promoted and distributed to all AHTD field offices for inspection personnel to review as needed. The videos also have been distributed free-of-charge upon request to outside organizations.
Innovations in Technology
This category recognizes manufacturers of all types of equipment and products that develop, integrate and market innovative technologies, and organizations that demonstrate the innovative application of existing technologies.
There were two winners.
Methodology: Maryland State Highway Administration, Hanover, MD, for the Work Zone Outreach Campaign.
Maryland’s campaign consisted of various elements including a “License Plate Recognition System” used to survey, monitor and provide feedback on vehicles traveling through targeted work zone segments.
The program also included government outreach, training and technological advancements. State officials attended the Maryland State Fair and distributed safety brochures and pamphlets and the Office of Traffic and Safety trained 1,040 traffic managers and certified 180 flaggers.
Product: The National Institute for the Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Pittsburgh, PA, for the Work Zone Analysis System.
NIOSH was able to enhance data collection and provide analysis capabilities through the use of this high-tech investigation system.
The method collects data such as incidences of “workers-on-foot” within vehicle blind spots, the amount of time a worker-on-foot is in a blind spot or within a specific distance of a vehicle, and the number of times a worker-on-foot is in proximity to operating vehicles.
All systems are housed in one mobile trailer which acts as a base of operations or control center, and gathers information through camcorders, wireless video links, a number of GPS devices and a roof-mounted satellite dish.
For more information, visit www.nsc.org.