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Old July 3rd, 2009, 01:25 AM   #4481
HAWC1506
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Old July 3rd, 2009, 01:25 AM   #4482
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More than Half of Highway Fatalities Are Related to Deficient Roadway Conditions

New Study Shows More Forgiving Roads Would Save Lives and Cut Costs; Health Experts & Transportation Leaders Urge Congressional Action

WASHINGTON, July 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More than half of U.S. highway fatalities are related to deficient roadway conditions - a substantially more lethal factor than drunk driving, speeding or non-use of safety belts - according to a landmark study released today. Ten roadway-related crashes occur every minute (5.3 million a year) and also contribute to 38 percent of non-fatal injuries, the report found.

In revealing that deficiencies in the roadway environment contributed to more than 22,000 fatalities and cost the nation more than $217 billion annually, the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) concluded that making the roadway environment more protective and forgiving is essential to reducing highway fatalities and costs.

"If we put as much focus on improving road safety conditions as we do in urging people not to drink and drive, we'd save thousands of lives and billions of dollars every year," principal study author Dr. Ted Miller said. Miller, an internationally-recognized safety economist with PIRE added, "Safer drivers and safer cars remain vitally important, but safer roadways are critical to saving lives, preventing injuries and reducing costs."

Titled "On a Crash Course: The Dangers and Health Costs of Deficient Roadways," the study found the $217 billion cost of deficient roadway conditions dwarfs the costs of other safety factors, including: $130 billion for alcohol, $97 billion for speeding, or $60 billion for failing to wear a safety belt. Indeed, the $217 billion figure is more than three-and-one-half times the amount of money government at all levels is investing annually in roadway capital improvements - $59 billion, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

The report concluded that roadway related crashes impose $20 billion in medical costs; $46 billion in productivity costs; $52 billion in property damage and other resource costs; and $99 billion in quality of life costs which measure the value of pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life by those injured or killed in crashes and their families. The report also found that crashes linked to road conditions cost American businesses an estimated $22 billion at a time when many firms are struggling. According to the report, crashes linked to road conditions cost taxpayers over $12 billion every year.

"Recent concerns about swine flu pale in comparison to the number of crash victims I treat," said Dr. Jared Goldberg, an emergency room physician in Alexandria, VA. "In medical terms, highway fatalities and injuries have reached epidemic proportions, and efforts to prevent further spread of this plague are essential. In the absence of a true vaccine to defend ourselves, fixing dangerous roads would help prevent traffic crashes from occurring in the first place."

On a Crash Course identifies ways transportation officials can improve road conditions to save lives and reduce injuries. For example, immediate solutions for problem spots include: replacing non-forgiving poles with breakaway poles, using brighter and more durable pavement markings, adding rumble strips to shoulders, mounting more guardrails or safety barriers, and installing better signs with easier-to-read legends. The report also suggested more significant road improvements, including: adding or widening shoulders, improving roadway alignment, replacing or widening narrow bridges, reducing pavement edges and abrupt drop offs, and clearing more space adjacent to roadways.

"Although behavioral factors are involved in most crashes, avoiding those crashes through driver improvement requires reaching millions of individuals and getting them to sustain best safety practices," continued Miller. "It is far more practical to make the roadway environment more forgiving and protective."

The report also analyzed crash costs on a state-by-state basis. The 10 states with the:

-- Highest total cost from crashes involving deficient road conditions
are (alphabetically): Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois,
New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas.
-- Highest road-related crash costs per million vehicle miles of travel
are: Alabama, Arkansas, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana,
Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.

-- Highest road-related crash costs per mile of road are: California,
Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland,
Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and South Carolina.


PIRE is a leading independent transportation safety research organization. It has conducted research for a range of organizations, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, National Safety Council and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Drawing upon the most recent available data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, PIRE employed analytic modeling methods to evaluate the causes and costs of U.S. motor vehicle crashes in preparing On a Crash Course.

PIRE conducted the study on behalf of the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC), which hosts the full report, complete state-by-state data and other research findings at www.transportationconstructioncoalition.org. TCC members are calling on Congress to provide significant, dedicated funding for roadway safety improvements and to develop programs that encourage states to invest even more. The federal law that governs transportation funding will expire this fall, and congressional committees are now in the process of drafting successor legislation.

About the Authors

Ted R. Miller, Ph.D., Regional Science (economics); M. City Planning and M.S., Operations Research, Principal Research Scientist

Dr. Miller is an internationally recognized safety economist, who has led more than 150 studies and authored more than 200 scholarly papers. He is a leading expert on injury incidence, costs and consequences, as well as substance abuse costs. His cost estimates are used by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Justice Department and several foreign governments. He has estimated benefit-cost ratios for more than 125 health and safety measures. He is a Fellow with the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine and has received several national awards for his work.

Eduard Zaloshnja, Ph.D., Applied Economics
Research Scientist


Dr. Zaloshnja has a background in applied economics and econometrics, specializing in safety/substance abuse issues. At PIRE, he has estimated U.S. highway crash and bus and truck crash costs, as well as the costs of crashes to employers and the frequency and costs of traumatic brain injuries. He also has conducted effectiveness and benefit-cost analyses of diverse crash safety countermeasures including safety belts, child safety seats, booster seats, red light cameras, cattle guards, and streetlights. Currently, Dr. Zaloshnja is investigating how often people become Medicaid recipients in order to pay their medical bills following catastrophic injuries.

About PIRE

The Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) is a non-profit public health research organization. For more than 30 years, PIRE has studied transportation safety, doing groundbreaking work on issues related to driver behavior, including studies of safety belt use, driver distraction, hazard perception, aggressive driving, cell phone use, and fatigue. PIRE has been an international leader and made seminal contributions in research to understand and prevent impaired driving and reduce harm consequent to it. PIRE has conducted transportation safety research for, among others, the Federal Highway Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, National Safety Council, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). More at www.pire.org.

About TCC

The Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) includes 28 national groups - representing contractors, engineers, manufacturers, suppliers and labor unions - with a collective interest in federal transportation policy and funding. More at www.transportationconstructioncoalition.org.

Source: Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE)
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Old July 3rd, 2009, 01:39 AM   #4483
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Successful Regeneration Adjacent Highways

Hi there,

I was wondering if anyone out there could think of any good examples of urban regeneration in areas adjacent to major arterial roads, highways etc.

We have a situation where we'd like to look at redevelopment either side of one such road, the final scale being possibly 8 to 10 stories of mixed use building with links between / over the highway.

Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks...
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Old July 3rd, 2009, 07:29 PM   #4484
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
I think the new HOT lanes in the US will be ETC only. No manned toll booths.
I still wonder how those High-Occupancy Toll ('HOT') lanes will be enforced. You'll need someone to actually look into each vehicle and compare those observations with records of whether or not tolls were paid.



Mike
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Old July 3rd, 2009, 08:07 PM   #4485
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Weren't inflatables or mannequins popular as HOVs in LA?
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Old July 4th, 2009, 12:41 AM   #4486
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgk920 View Post
I still wonder how those High-Occupancy Toll ('HOT') lanes will be enforced. You'll need someone to actually look into each vehicle and compare those observations with records of whether or not tolls were paid.
I guess they have a camera that takes a picture of everyone without a valid transponder and send them the bill (+ a hefty surcharge). Same as in EZ-Pass only lanes.
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Old July 4th, 2009, 03:33 PM   #4487
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I was thinking about this pic:


And I got myself the calculator:

Houston metropolitan area has 5,700,000 inhabitants. That comes down to about 3.5 million vehicles in my humble estimate. To handle 3.5 million vehicles in 24 hours, you need (3,500,000 / 24 / 2200 ) = 66 lanes outbound.
Even Houston doesn't have that. So no wonder that it becomes massively jammed.
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Old July 4th, 2009, 08:12 PM   #4488
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Was that pic taken during Hurricane Rita (or a different one)?
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Old July 4th, 2009, 08:18 PM   #4489
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Yeah it was Rita. More people died during evacuaction than due to the hurricane I believe. Evacuations on this scale always turn out to be disasters. You can maybe evacuate cities like Charleston, Savannah or Daytona Beach, but multi-million agglomerations like Miami and Houston are not suited for such a mass evacuation. Another problem is most freeways narrowing to only 4 lanes outside the urban area, which can handle only 200,000 vehicles per 24 hours if all lanes are outbound.
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Old July 5th, 2009, 01:34 AM   #4490
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
Yeah it was Rita. More people died during evacuaction than due to the hurricane I believe. Evacuations on this scale always turn out to be disasters. You can maybe evacuate cities like Charleston, Savannah or Daytona Beach, but multi-million agglomerations like Miami and Houston are not suited for such a mass evacuation. Another problem is most freeways narrowing to only 4 lanes outside the urban area, which can handle only 200,000 vehicles per 24 hours if all lanes are outbound.
I live three miles from where that photo was taken. Last year, when Hurricane Ike hit, most people didn't bother leaving because of those memories. Luckily, the wind damage this far north was not very bad, with maximum speeds of 90 mph (145 km/h). People would have still stayed even had the wind become worse - the maximum predicted speed two days beforehand was somewhere around 145 mph (220 km/h).

The sad thing is that you could get out of the area fairly quickly during Rita if you knew the back roads - one of my friends in college had his girlfriend drive up to Oklahoma (where we were), and it took maybe 30 more minutes than usual - because we knew the back roads to take to leave the city to the north. Of course, navigation in Houston is so dependent on freeways for the most part, that I literally think no one knew to stay off.
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Old July 5th, 2009, 09:38 AM   #4491
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
Yeah it was Rita. More people died during evacuaction than due to the hurricane I believe. Evacuations on this scale always turn out to be disasters. You can maybe evacuate cities like Charleston, Savannah or Daytona Beach, but multi-million agglomerations like Miami and Houston are not suited for such a mass evacuation. Another problem is most freeways narrowing to only 4 lanes outside the urban area, which can handle only 200,000 vehicles per 24 hours if all lanes are outbound.
Since Houston has such a good highway system it wouldn't be near as a nightmare as with Miami or any other major Florida city, we just haven't seen a mass evacuation yet.
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Old July 5th, 2009, 09:44 AM   #4492
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Major evacuations will screw up any city regardless of how many freeways or or alternative routes you have.
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Old July 5th, 2009, 10:00 AM   #4493
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Well the more alternatives or the better the roads the better the evacuation.
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Old July 5th, 2009, 09:36 PM   #4494
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Here a few pics of my Southwest trip of last summer :

Interchange near LAX airport


Double decker freeway in LA


I105/I110 stack interchange


Golden Gate bridge SF


Bay Bridge SF


Tioga Pass Yosemite NP


Road to Death Valley NP


Death Valley NP


Cattle Jam on the road to Capitol Reef NP


Capitol Reef NP


Million dollar highway in the Rockies


Road to Monument Valley


Route 66 in Flagstaff AZ


Phoenix stadium


Desert highway I8


Another one


El Toro LA I5


Nearing downtown LA


Sunset Blvd LA


Up to Hollywood
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Old July 5th, 2009, 10:17 PM   #4495
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Quote:
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Major evacuations will screw up any city regardless of how many freeways or or alternative routes you have.
Either that, or the procedure hasn't been optimized. Considering the improvements in forecasting accuracy for tropical storms, once an evacuation is determined to be in the cards, there's no reason an area can't be subdivided into small portions, perhaps by ZIP code, something practically everyone is required to know, each of which have a pre-determined evacuation route (either freeway or back road) attached to it. This wouldn't be too hard to manage given the levels of computer analysis available today.

The main issue would be promotion and compliance to the pre-determined routes; it's often difficult to get past people's self-preservation instincts, which leads to classic tragedy of the commons situations such as the Rita issues.
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Old July 6th, 2009, 04:56 AM   #4496
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Nice pics, SkyView! I'd love to see the natural scenery in the Southwest US one day.
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Old July 6th, 2009, 09:47 AM   #4497
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Interstate 69 in Mississippi.
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Old July 6th, 2009, 10:30 AM   #4498
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkyView View Post

Route 66 in Flagstaff AZ


Nice pictures.

As for U.S. 66 I always thought it was a stupid idea to decommission U.S. 66. The government should bring it back as a real highway.
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Old July 6th, 2009, 10:43 AM   #4499
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No point now. All the interstates that took over it's route pretty much, making it useless.

US highways are nice and all, but they're kind of irrelevant in this day and age...US 66 is just nostalgia.
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Old July 6th, 2009, 10:51 AM   #4500
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Yeah, I-40 and I-44 were mostly build across US 66. There are some parallel sections though, mostly known as State Route 66 in various states. Some parallel sections are abandoned too.
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