The high degree of mobility that northern New Jersey enjoys does not come without certain risks for users of its roadway system. For pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and bus passengers, injury or death is a small but real possibility. Though our society often focuses on other sources of danger, motor-vehicle crashes caused over 33,808 deaths in 2009 nationally and are the leading cause of death for people aged 2 to 33. At a regional level, the total number of crashes in the region dropped between 2003 and 2006, from a high of 248,521 to a low of 223,923. In 2007, these crashes resulted in about 70,000 injuries, including about 4,000 pedestrian injuries. Clearly, while much progress has been made to make our roads safer, there is more to do to continue to reduce these levels.
Many years of vehicle safety and traffic engineering improvements have resulted in generally safer conditions for automobiles, with fewer fatalities and fewer crashes per miles of vehicle travel. However, an increase of automobile travel in the country and in our region means that the number of actual crashes and fatalities have remained level (see figure below). In addition, there has been a growing awareness of the need to protect the most vulnerable road users - pedestrians and bicyclists. Of the region’s 352 crash-related deaths in 2009, 33% were pedestrians, even though walking accounts for less than 10% of all trips in the region. This trend shows why pedestrian safety has been, and will continue to be, a top priority of the NJTPA’s safety improvement efforts.
NJTPA has embraced the challenge of improving safety for all travelers in the NJTPA region. This can be best addressed by both safety-specific studies based on crash data analysis, as well as an integration of safety concerns into all of our transportation planning and prioritization efforts. When it comes to roadway improvements, NJTPA recognizes the value of directing limited funds at high-crash locations, with relatively low cost, high impact improvements that benefit all modes. Each year on October 10th, every driver is encouraged to be exceptionally careful so that for at least one day, there will be no fatalities on New Jersey's roads. For more information on the October 10th "Put the Brakes on Fatalities" please visit: N.J. Division of Highway Traffic Safety
Regional: NJTPA Regional Safety Priorities Studies (2005 & 2008)
State: 2007 Comprehensive Strategic Highway Safety Plan
Approximately 750 people lose their lives every year on New Jersey's roadways with thousands more injured. This document identifies strategies and actions for reducing fatalities and injuries on New Jersey's roadways.
National: Federal Highway Administration Safety Program
The FHWA Office of Safety's mission is to reduce highway fatalities by making our roads safer through a data–driven, systematic approach and addressing all “4Es” of safety: engineering, education, enforcement, and emergency medical services.
The Office of Safety's Roadway Safety
Professional Capacity Building (RSPCB) website is an online resource devoted to increasing the knowledge, skills, and abilities of roadway safety professionals. The RSPCB Program aims to develop a roadway safety workforce that possesses the skills necessary to reduce roadway fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads. The RSPCB Program has four major goals:
- Help agencies obtain technical assistance from experienced peers or technical experts.
- Facilitate connections among peers on a wide range of roadway safety topics through discussion boards.
- Provide noteworthy practices that describe projects, processes, or programs that improve safety or more effectively utilize resources.
- Assist roadway professionals in locating training and education resources.
NJTPA Regional Crash Data: NJTPA has created a regional crash database, which is updated every year, and available for public use in the crash data section of the NJTPA website. This allows us to examine overall crash characteristics and trends as well as investigate the crash history of locations that may have general or particular safety issues. This data set enabled the identification of crash-prone locations in NJTPA’s Regional Safety Priorities Studies, completed in 2005 and 2008. Those efforts have enabled NJTPA to target safety investments to these places. Individuals with questions about using regional crash data for their own analyses are encouraged to contact NJTPA central staff.
NJDOT State Crash Data: Plan4Safety is a decision support tool created for the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) and is a multi-layered decision support program for transportation engineers, planners, enforcement, and decision makers in New Jersey's transportation and safety agencies to analyze crash data in geospatial and tabular forms.
State and Federal monies are available for engineering countermeasures, as well as education and enforcement initiatives that aim to improve transportation safety in New Jersey. New Jersey receives federal safety funds through the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) as part of SAFETEA-LU.
NJTPA Local Safety Program administers federal funds every year for improvements at high-crash locations on municipal and county roads. The emphasis is on moderate cost, short time-frame, and high impact improvements that are construction ready. NJTPA High Risk Rural Roads Program provides set-aside federal safety funds to address travel safety needs in rural areas
N.J. Division of Highway Traffic Safety (NJDHTS) Pedestrian Safety Education and Enforcement Grant and NJDHTS Drunk Driving Enforcement Grant Fund offers, on an annual basis, federal grant funding to agencies that wish to undertake programs designed to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities on the roads of New Jersey. Municipal, county, and state governmental and law enforcement agencies, as well as non-profit organizations, are encouraged to apply for NJDHTS grant funding to address specific, local traffic safety issues. Funds are available for education, and enforcement.
NJDOT Local Aid and Economic Development has a number of federal and state transportation grant programs which are not geared specifically to safety improvements but may fund projects with safety elements.
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a federal, state and local effort to enable and encourage children, including those with disabilities, to walk and bicycle to school - and to make walking and bicycling to school safe and appealing.
For more information on Safety Planning at NJTPA, contact Scott Rowe, Manager of Sustainability and Safety Planning, at 973-639-8425, or firstname.lastname@example.org.