A group of FDOT Active Work Zone Awareness Devices awaiting deployment.
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) received a 2021 National Roadway Safety Award for the successful use of advanced technologies to improve safety in arterial roadway work zones, demonstrably slowing down drivers and improving driver behavior.
FDOT also received a National Roadway Safety Award Honorable Mention for the successful transition from in-person training to online virtual webinars, helping enhance the skills and knowledge of Florida's transportation workforce on a wide variety of roadway safety issues.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, speaking about FDOT and the other award winners, said: "Congratulations to today's seven honorees for the remarkable work they've done to protect the traveling public. They are proof that we have no shortage of willpower or good ideas for improving roadway safety."
The National Roadway Safety Awards are a biennial awards program sponsored jointly by the Federal Highway Administration and the Roadway Safety Foundation. First presented in 1999, the awards recognize roadway safety achievements that move the nation toward zero deaths and serious injuries on U.S. roadways.
The 2021 National Roadway Safety Award recognizes FDOT's use of innovative work zone safety technologies for arterial roadways, specifically through the utilization of Active Work Zone Awareness Devices (AWADs). AWADs employ radar combined with flashing LED signs that warn drivers of an upcoming active work zone for arterial roads. These devices indicate travel speed and display safety "active work zone when flashing, and speeding fines doubled" signage. Additionally, FDOT linked the AWADs to drivers using the Waze navigation app.
The initiative's significant results on an average of over six pilot implementation sites include decreasing speeds entering arterial work zones by 10.6 percent, increasing safe driving behavior by 39 percent, and reducing risky driving by 34 percent.
FDOT also received an Honorable Mention for the successful transition of education and skill-building from traditional in-person sessions to online training. FDOT uses its Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) to improve skills and increase staff knowledge of roadway safety issues in Florida's transportation system. Through this transition, FDOT has added more than 50 new safety-related courses to the LTAP curriculum, and its virtual training attracts an impressive average of 434 attendees per session.
"These awards are an incredible honor and an example of FDOT's unwavering commitment to the development of innovative solutions for safer roadways," said FDOT Secretary Kevin J. Thibault. "FDOT will continue to celebrate the innovations and achievements of our staff and prioritize ways to make Florida's roadway infrastructure safer and more efficient for years to come."
"FDOT's use of smart work zone safety technologies is saving lives by slowing down drivers and discouraging risky driving behavior," said Roadway Safety Foundation Executive Director Greg Cohen. "Additionally, the department's success with online training is fostering its professionals' abilities to advance other safety-enhancing projects and programs.
"Future travelers in Florida, whose lives and limbs will be spared by this innovation, will owe an unknowing debt of gratitude to the State's traffic engineers. We urge DOTs across the nation to look at FDOT and other awardees' innovations and replicate them wherever possible."
The panelists evaluated the National Roadway Safety Awards projects based on three criteria: Effectiveness, Innovation and Efficient Use of Resources. The program honors outstanding projects involving infrastructure, operational or program-related innovations. Of the nationwide applicants, the other six winners included:
- City of Bellevue, Wash., for its video analytics traffic safety program;
- Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization for its Complete Streets Master Plan;
- North Carolina Dept. of Transportation for its long-life pavement markings safety effort;
- Village of Whitefish Bay, Wis., for its community-wide roadway safety improvements;
- California Dept. of Transportation for its 2020-2024 Strategic Highway Safety Plan update; and
- Texas Dept. of Transportation's tool to assess the safety of rural highway design elements.
Winners were selected by an expert panel of judges from a variety of disciplines.
For complete details on each winner and more information on the national awards program, visit www.safety.fhwa.dot.gov/roadwaysafetyawards/.
Today's top stories