5 State DOTs Recognized for Safety Excellence

AASHTO Journal, 18 November 2011

Twelve transportation projects — including six managed by five state transportation departments — were honored Tuesday as recipients of the 2011 National Roadway Safety Awards. Winners were chosen in the categories of Infrastructure Improvements; Operational Improvements; and Program Planning, Development, and Evaluation.The awards competition showcases exceptional highway safety projects across the country and provides a platform for winners to share their success stories with other communities. The competition is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, and the Roadway Safety Foundation. Awards were presented Tuesday at a ceremony on Capitol Hill.

“These awards are a small way for us to thank those of you who have increased the odds of our loved ones getting home safely,” Greg Cohen, Roadway Safety Foundation executive director, said during the ceremony. “The roadway safety itself — the engineering work and the planning work — often just doesn’t get recognized. So we’re here as a foundation to make sure it does.”

U.S. Deputy Transportation Secretary John Porcari congratulated the winners and gave them their awards during Tuesday’s event.

“There is an old expression that the real judge of a person’s character is doing what’s right when no one is looking,” Porcari said. “The men and women of the organizations we’re honoring today — and so many of your colleagues around the country — live by this motto. You’re doing the right thing, whether the public directly knows you’re doing this or not.”

Porcari noted it’s hard to prove a negative.

“You don’t get credit for the accidents that don’t occur, the lives that are not in danger,” he said. “But on behalf of our 314 million citizens around the country, thank you for everything you do. You really make a difference.”

State transportation departments who received 2011 National Roadway Safety Awards:

  • Minnesota DOT — “Using Micro Surfacing to Reduce Wet Weather Crash Rates” and “Minnesota County Road Safety Plans”
  • California DOT — “California’s HSIP Application and Evaluation Tool for Local Roadways”
  • Florida DOT — “Making Roadways Safer for Motorcycles”
  • Mississippi DOT — “Mississippi Cable Median Barrier Safety Initiative”
  • Utah DOT — “Evaluation of Moveable Barriers in Construction Work Zones”

Though these projects and many others have proven to work and save lives, Porcari reminded the audience that more progress is still needed to further reduce automobile injuries and fatalities.

“We’ve achieved the lowest number of roadway fatalities nationwide since we started keeping track 60 years ago, and that’s great,” Porcari said. “But what it points to is we have even harder work ahead. … We need to work together to continue to bring that number down.”

More information on the National Roadway Safety Awards is available at bit.ly/2011roadsafety.

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