Improving Intersections in Tennessee

Posted by on Jul 8, 2014 in Best Practices, Transportation | No Comments

With the ultimate goal to reduce crashes and improve the safety at stop-controlled intersections across Tennessee, our Pulaski, TN office began working on an Intersection Action Plan (IAP) in April of 2011.

We first got involved with the IAP as part of a “Pilot Project” with the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT). Along with RPM Transportation Consultants, we were selected to work with TDOT’s Strategic Transportation Investments Division to assist in the development of a process by which stop-controlled intersections can be systematically evaluated and enhanced to improve safety performance. We started by developing a pilot procedure that led to a procedures manual which is now being followed by the TDOT Strategic Transportation Investments Division and its consultants.

We are now in the process of addressing hundreds of stop-controlled intersections across the state. We are not attempting to include in-depth evaluations of specific crash patterns or comprehensive improvements to address them. We are looking for low-cost, easily implemented enhancement recommendations that have been proven to decrease crashes when implemented.

The study is based on research and guidance documented in “Low-Cost Safety Enhancements for Stop-Controlled and Signalized Intersections,” published by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA-SA-09-020). As outlined in the FHWA document, this study uses low-cost crash countermeasures that are “designed to increase drivers’ alertness to the presence of the intersection and reduce potential conflicts with other entering vehicles.” (FHWA, p.5)

To evaluate and analyze the intersections, five primary steps were involved:

1. Site identification.
2. Office data collection and reduction.
3. Site visit including field data collection and engineering assessment of the intersection.
4. Preparation of a planning packet which includes recommendations for improvements
5. Preparation of a “No Plans Contract” for TDOT to let to a construction contract.

The procedures were rolled out statewide in February 2012. Sain Associates and three other firms focused on Region I and Region III. Currently, we are in our second stage of the project which is focused on the remaining Regions II and IV. Upon completion of this second stage of the plan, approximately 2,390 intersections across the state will have been evaluated and on their way to improved safety.

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