Utah Pedestrian Fatalities Rise 25 Percent in Five Years,
Local Leaders Call for Action to Save Lives
Media invited for passenger’s seat view to experience the real risks plaguing pedestrians and drivers
WHAT: The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) and the Unified Police Department invite media to experience a first-hand view from the passenger’s seat of the risks endangering pedestrians. This media availability will give an unprecedented look at the need for pedestrians to be recognizable, especially at dawn, dusk and dark —and for drivers to pay extra attention and watch out for pedestrians on our roadways.
WHERE: Utah Department of Public Safety Driver License Division (DLD) Test Track , 2780 West 4700 South, West Valley City – enter the parking lot of the DLD office off 4700 South. Participating media must wear long pants, long sleeves and closed-toed shoes.
WHEN: Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 8 p.m.
8 p.m. – media invited to conduct one-on-one interviews
9 p.m.– media invited to experience the driving course after dark
Reporters may also schedule interviews earlier Thursday by contacting John Gleason. On Thursday morning, John will email nighttime b-roll footage of the course, which is embargoed until 9 p.m.Thursday.
Detective Mike Anderson, Crash Analysis Reconstruction Investigator, Unified Police Dept.
John Gleason, UDOT Public Information Officer
VISUALS: Media encouraged to bring GoPro cameras to capture additional dashcam footage
Pedestrian mannequins stationed throughout driving course in various levels of visibility.
Reflective gear display: reflective gear, stickers, lights and other simple solutions for pedestrians of all ages.
Thumb drive of recent “Reflect Yourself” social video – as well as b-roll footage of course.
Zero Fatalities Seeking Utah’s Top Teen Talent for 2017 Super Bowl Spot
Teens can submit videos about traffic safety for the chance to win coveted airtime during the Big Game
SALT LAKE CITY (Nov. 10, 2016) – UDOT’s Zero Fatalities program is calling on Utah teens to submit their best safety video for a chance to have it air during the 2017 Super Bowl. Teens throughout the state are encouraged to submit a 25-second video from now until January 6, 2017, on the Zero Fatalities website.
All entrants will receive five movie ticket vouchers for entering. Entrants submitting before December 10, 2016 will receive five movie tickets to a private, opening-weekend showing of Star Wars: Rogue One, at Jordan Commons, while tickets last.
The winning video will air during the Super Bowl telecast in February.
“When it comes to traffic safety, the most influential spokesperson for teens are their peers,” said Kristen Hoschouer, manager of the Zero Fatalities program for the Utah Department of Transportation. “The aim of this contest is to get teens to pay attention to the very important and serious issue of increasing teen driving safety, while also building a network of teen traffic-safety advocates who understand that zero teen fatalities is the only acceptable goal.”
To be considered, a submitted video must be:
Teen directed and produced
25 seconds in length
Focused on Zero Fatalities and the five deadly driving behaviors. (Note: the video doesn’t have to include all five behaviors [distracted, drowsy, aggressive, impaired driving and not buckling up], but must address at least one behavior.)
Submitted no later than Jan. 6, 2017. Submissions must be made on the Zero Fatalities website, at ZeroFatalities.com/contest/.
Last year, 25 teens died in crashes on Utah roads. As of the end of October, there have already been 26 teen deaths in 2016. More than 60 percent of teen traffic fatalities were unbuckled in 2015. Statistics suggest drivers under the age of 20 are three times more likely to be in a fatal crash.
“When it comes to combating the behaviors killing teens on Utah roads, teen-to-teen communication is incredibly powerful,” Hoschouer said. “Not only will this contest get teens thinking about how they can improve their driving, but it will help further the family and community discussion needed to save lives.”
To learn more about the contest, visit ZeroFatalities.com/contest/.
LAYTON — With Layton Improved construction resuming after a brief winter hiatus, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) is advising motorists to be aware of traffic pattern changes in Layton around I-15 and the Hill Field Road interchange beginning Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016.
The Hill Field Road project will move forward with the demolition of existing interchange bridges and construction of a new single-point urban interchange (SPUI). Workers will also finalize improvements to Hill Field Road. Crews will be working 24 hours a day, six days a week, to finish the project as quickly, efficiently, and as safely as possible while maintaining traffic movement through the area. All traffic lanes will remain open on I-15, and speed limits will not be reduced through the construction zone. Please stay alert and use caution as you drive through the area.
Beginning Wednesday, construction crews will shift I-15 traffic in the area onto a detour bridge on the west side of the interstate. Southbound traffic will shift onto the detour bridge on Wednesday morning, Feb. 17. Northbound traffic will make the shift on Thursday morning, Feb. 18. The traffic shift will be in place in both directions through mid-April.
Left turns on the off-ramps will be closed from now through July 2016, so motorists will need to follow the detour signs to turn right and travel through the ThrU Turns.
Trucking companies that normally use Hill Field Road to access businesses west of Layton should plan to use the Layton Parkway Interchange (Exit 330) or Antelope Drive (Exit 332) to access those businesses and industries through July.
Following the traffic shift, the section of Hill Field Road underneath I-15 will be closed on the evenings of Feb 20-21 so crews can demolish both bridges. It is suggested that motorists pay particular attention to signage that day for detour routes. The new SPUI bridges are being constructed offsite and will be moved into place through UDOT’s innovative accelerated bridge construction process. The northbound part of the bridge will slide into place in early March, and traffic will switch onto the northbound bridge in mid-April. Crews will then complete the southbound bridge and will slide it into place in April.
A single-point urban interchange (SPUI) that will merge traffic at the off-ramps, controlled by one traffic signal.
Since the completion of the ThrU Turns, traffic flow has improved and delays reduced in the area. UDOT and Layton City are working together to tailor solutions that meet the city’s unique traffic challenges, and we’re excited to see the full project benefits realized when all the improvements are completed in fall 2016.
When Clark Fox decided to collect stuffed animals for his Eagle Project, he was totally surprised with the result. The high school junior from Riverton, Utah collected roughly 600 stuffed animals, which were then given to UDOT’s Incident Management Team, the Utah Highway Patrol, and various homeless shelters for distribution to children who find themselves in traumatic situations. He delivered the animals to the Traffic Operations Center in December and was thanked on behalf of the organizations that will receive the stuffed animals.
Clark and his family were then given a tour of the TOC by Wayne Jager to show all the areas that the TOC covers. Clark has a love of “robotics”, so maybe someday we’ll see Clark back at UDOT working on a drone project in the future.
L-R: Richard Shelley, IMT manager Jeff Reynolds, Clark Fox, Clark’s mom, and TOC Director Rob Clayton pose after Fox delivered hundreds of stuffed animals to the IMT for distribution
This post was written by Richard Shelley of the UDOT Traffic Operations Center.
The teddy bear is part of a new program focused on helping those with young children cope in the face of accidents. IMT drivers are now carrying teddy bears to give away to those affected by a crash, especially since it can be a frightening experience for young children.
A mother holds her child and a new teddy bear while the IMT provides assistance.
“The Utah Highway Patrol started handing out teddy bears to young children that had been involved in an accident. It seemed to help the child take his or her mind off the accident and get them something to comfort them,” UDOT state IMT manager Jeff Reynolds said. “The Incident Management Team has adopted the same program, due to limited space in police cruisers. In its short time, we have seen a meaningful impact on those we have been able to help.”
Reynolds said a citizen donation program is being considered in the future. UDOT and the Department of Public Safety will have more news when it becomes available.
A variety of teddy bears and other plush animals await their ride with the Incident Management Team.
The first goal of the IMT team is to make sure those involved in an accident and working an accident scene are safe and then clear the roads for other drivers to prevent secondary crashes. You’ll find them helping to change a tire, putting warning signs up to protect officials at an accident scene, giving a gallon of gas to a stranded motorist, or cleaning up after an accident. After the crash scene is secure, they want to help those in the crash feel safe and get the drivers on their way.
Please remember to give IMT and Highway Patrol adequate room when you see them passing and slow down to decrease the possibility of a secondary accident.
This post was written by Adam McMillan, Traffic Operations Center Intern.
State projects win in “Quality of Life”, “Under Budget” categories
BOISE, Idaho — Dedication and understanding of the impact state-controlled roads have on motorists in Utah was recognized today, as UDOT projects in Southern Utah and Northern Utah garnered two regional awards in the 2015 America’s Transportation Awards competition.
UDOT’s Bluff Street at Southern Hills Parkway Interchangewas recognized in the Quality of Life/Community Development category, which recognizes “a transportation project that has contributed to the general quality of life and economic development of local communities. These innovative projects better connect people to businesses, jobs, health care facilities, and recreational activities while encouraging a mix of transportation modes. ” With comfortable weather and access to many outdoor activities and destinations, the largest city in Region Four provides so much of what St. George and Washington County residents who value quality of life are looking for.
So many new residents have come to the area seeking this quality of life that existing transportation infrastructure has been over-taxed. Nearly 43,000 cars travel along Bluff Street (SR-18) each day, and another 13,700 go through Red Hills Parkway. The clash of rural vs. urban can best be seen here, where a state highway suddenly becomes a city road where many cyclists and runners converge to get to and around the natural preserve. It’s the meeting point four multi-use trail systems, and is included in the course of many major sporting events in the area. All of this activity in a traditionally constructed intersection places residents and visitors at risk.
This was how the intersection looked before the project
In order to accommodate the current population as well as the expected growth through 2030, UDOT, the City of St. George and the Southern Utah Bike Alliance (SUBA) collaborated to reconfigure the intersection by creating a center exit interchange.
The center exit interchange creates a safer section of road, while also maintaining a steady flow of traffic. Highway travelers can continue on their way on the outside lanes, while those needing local access take the inside lanes to an intersection that allows east-west travel.
The construction team saved $4 million in construction costs by utilizing the natural topography of the area and building the project within natural grades.
The project after it was finished. Note the center offramp and bike trails
The project also integrated bike/pedestrian paths into the design, with box culverts under SR-18 allowing for safer multimodal transportation under busy roadways, thus connecting the community in a safe, efficient and positive way.
“UDOT should be commended for their positive design process that encourages outside voices and ideas,” said Craig Shanklin, SUBA President. “This was a great example of how the community can be involved in the design process and lead to a better outcome for all users.”
The Diverging Diamond Interchange at Brigham City’s US-91/1100 South location was honored in the “Under Budget” category. That category honors “a project demonstrating transportation efficiency while promoting economic and fiscal responsibility. The award recognizes a successful project brought in under budget that provided the greatest cost savings to the state(s) while offering maximum performance.”
How do you move a steadily increasing traffic flow through an aging, small interchange at the connection of US-91 and Interstate 15, near the northern Utah city of Brigham City? With more than 20,000 vehicles a day — many of them trucks — originating throughout the region, this old, inefficient interchange was reducing the economic lifeblood of local communities to a trickle.
The new DDI at Brigham City on the day it opened.
The 40-year-old interchange would frequently clog when vehicles at its ramps tried to enter the traffic flow. The predominant west to south-bound traffic on US-91 was so steady during the day that it was nearly hopeless for other movements to occur. This prompted risk-taking by trapped motorists at the ramps – and frequent crashes when they did. Regional special events, like local university football games, would bring traffic to a complete halt.
UDOT traffic planners needed a solution, but the answer was elusive. Soils adjacent to the Great Salt Lake were saturated by surface groundwater, making the interchange increasingly unstable. Engineers wondered how to upgrade it without a massive redesign to accommodate the increasing pounding from trucks. Similar rebuilds had cost upwards of $100 million – prohibitive under state budgets at the time.
The answer: innovate. Engineers used an innovation to solve the water issue — geofoam — which allowed the new interchange to “float” on soggy soils. Another innovation — advanced bridge construction — replaced the interchange’s old bridge over I-15 while adding a completely new span in a little more than 10 months. Finally, the innovative diverging diamond traffic pattern was added to the design to solve the problem of congestion and safety.
The white blocks are geofoam, which was used to construct the DDI in a environmentally- and structurally- sound way
The result? An efficient interchange that allows all traffic movements to occur safely and congestion-free, and all for less than $14 million.
“What UDOT and the project team eventually chose to do was not only innovative, but a brilliant solution to an extremely difficult situation with many built-in constrictions,” said Bradley Humpherys, a Senior Transportation Project Manager for Stanley Consultants.
Utah’s two projects — along with projects in California, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Texas — will compete against projects from other regions in the U.S. for a National Grand Prize, the People’s Choice Award and $10,000 prizes to be given by the winners to a transportation-related charity or scholarship program.
The top two national winners will be announced in September at the AASHTO Annual Meeting in Chicago.
“These projects are a small sampling of the many ways in which state DOTs are improving peoples’ quality of life and providing for a vibrant economy,” said John Cox, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials President and Director of the Wyoming Department of Transportation.
The America’s Transportation Awards – co-sponsored by AASHTO, AAA and the US Chamber of Commerce – annually recognizes the best of America’s transportation projects in four regional competitions. Learn more about the projects and the competition at: AmericasTransportationAwards.org
New Variable Message Sign campaign reminds drivers to stay safe
SALT LAKE CITY — (May 22, 2015) — Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of what is known as the ‘100 Deadliest Days’ of travel on Utah roads, and the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) is urging motorists to stay alert and drive safe this summer.
According to UDOT’s most recent fatality report, 89 people have lost their lives this year on Utah roads, compared with 73 at this time last year. That’s an increase of 22 percent. Compared to the rest of the year, traffic fatalities traditionally rise 35 percent between Memorial Day Weekend and Labor Day. During this stretch last year, 97 people were killed during the ‘100 Deadliest Days’—nearly a fatality a day.
“That’s just not acceptable,” said UDOT Executive Director Carlos Braceras. “When you consider the human cost of these nearly daily tragedies, and their impact on families and communities throughout Utah, you begin to understand why we are doing everything we can to make our Zero Fatalities goal a reality, especially during these critical months of the year.”
Beginning May 22, UDOT will launch a new variable message sign (VMS) campaign, to serve as a reminder that Zero Fatalities will require driver effort and attention. Each Friday, the overhead signs will highlight the number of days during the past week we achieved Zero Fatalities on Utah roads. On Mondays, the signs will display a weekly safety message to engage the public and increase traffic safety awareness.
VMS signs like this one on I-80 will have various safety messages during 100 Deadliest Days.
Through this campaign, motorists are being urged to:
Drive alert. Make sure you’ve had enough sleep before hitting the road.
Motorists planning trips on Utah highways during the Memorial Day weekend should plan ahead and check road conditions through the UDOT Traffic website (udot.utah.gov/traffic) or by downloading the UDOT Traffic smartphone application through the iPhone App Store or Android Market. These free tools allow drivers to access up-to-the-minute road conditions and traffic information.
UDOT ran this thought-provoking ad to raise awareness about the danger an unbuckled passenger poses to others. The ad ran on television during Super Bowl XLVIII, and was met with some controversy. Initial social media responses indicated that some viewers were appalled by the hard-hitting commercial, especially with families and young children watching.
After the first 24 hours, the tone on social media had shifted as the majority recognized the ad was meant to spark awareness and conversation. Car crash victims and family members spoke out, applauding Zero Fatalities for talking about seat belt safety.
The campaign was successful because it got people talking, regardless of what side of the argument they were on.
“Twist” reached nearly half a million Utahns aged 18 to 49 who were watching the Super Bowl
Posts about “Twist” on just the Zero Fatalities Facebook page reached 148,032 people and featured 389 likes, 198 shares, 146 total comments
Within 24 hours after the ad aired, there were 1,385 positive comments and only 325 negative comments on all of the local media’s Facebook feeds (81 percent favorable, 19 percent negative)
In a survey conducted three months following the Super Bowl, 72 percent of all respondents said they were influenced by “Twist” to always wear a seat belt
SALT LAKE CITY — In an effort achieve the goal of Zero Crashes, Injuries and Fatalities, the Utah Department of Transportation unveiled a new reminder for state employees last week. The message isn’t new, but the placement is, and people are noticing (and hopefully remembering to buckle up).
Elevators at the State’s Calvin Rampton Complex in Salt Lake now remind employees and visitors to buckle up their seat belts to save their own lives as well as the lives of those riding with them.
“Convincing people to buckle up, not drive impaired, stop texting and stay awake while driving is no easy task,” said Zero Fatalities Program Manager Stacy Johnson. “These elevator doors grab your attention and, in a very creative way, encourage seat belt usage.”
Executive Director Carlos Braceras said while UDOT’s mission and goals touch a variety of topics, one item is more important than any.
“Nothing that we do is more important than safety,” Braceras said recently to employees. “Zero is our number one goal. Zero fatalities. Zero crashes. Zero injuries.”
Ninety-three percent of all crashes are due to driving behavior
National traffic fatalities are the lowest they’ve been since 1958, but people who don’t buckle up represent more than half of those fatalities
Unbuckled passengers can become a projectile, and increase the risk of hurting or killing others in the car by 40 percent
People are 30 times more likely to be ejected from a vehicle during a crash
75 percent of people who are ejected during a crash die from their injuries
While road engineering and law enforcement help to decrease fatalities, education is an important part of the road to Zero Fatalities as well. The education comes in a number of ways:
School Assemblies and Events: With programs like Zero Fatalities, Don’t Drive Stupid, and Click it or Ticket targeting soon-to-be-drivers and their parents, over 500,000 people have been reached in the first five years. In 2014 alone, Zero Fatalities did approximately 214 presentations to schools around the Beehive State.
Commercial Public Service Announcements such as this one, which was originally shown during the 2014 Super Bowl.
Results: The number of traffic fatalities in Utah has dropped 22 percent since the Zero Fatalities program began in 2006. In the year 2000, Utah had 373 fatalities, but by the end of 2013, Utah had 221 fatalities. And awareness of the program is rising: public opinion research shows that 3 out of 4 Utahns (age 18 to 54) are aware of the Zero Fatalities message. Of course, awareness does not always translate to behavior modification, but of those who are aware of the Zero Fatalities message, an average of 51 percent admit that the Zero Fatalities program “definitely” or “probably” influenced them to avoid the five Zero Fatalities behaviors: driving drowsy, distracted, aggressive, impaired, or unbuckled.
Zero Fatalities program has also become a model for other states: Arizona, Iowa and Nevada have embraced the Zero Fatalities message and are running similar programs at varying levels. We’re happy that Utah’s Zero Fatalities program is the state’s contribution to the national and international visions to reduce traffic fatalities, and we wanted to make sure the message started at home as well.
SALT LAKE CITY — The pioneering sprit has always been in Utah’s blood. From the Winchester rifle, Word Perfect and wider Pioneer Streets, to the Roadometer and Television, Utah has always tried to be at the forefront of technology.
In the digital age, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) has continued as a technological pioneer, especially in the field of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS). It was recently awarded a “Best of ITS” award by the ITS World Congress this fall for its Citizen Reporter app, which was piloted during the 2012-2013 winter season.
A screenshot of the Citizen Report app
The app, which is the first of its kind in the United States, is aimed at Keeping Utah Moving, specifically during winter months. It allows citizen volunteers to report on road weather conditions along specific roadways across the Beehive State, after a short training session. These reports give enhanced road weather information to travelers when the stakes are the highest — during inclement weather.
In large, sparsely populated states like Utah, state DOTs have trouble providing up-to-the-minute accuracy on road conditions to travelers. It’s especially tough in Utah, where nearly 1,000 cameras statewide still can’t see every inch of roadway. But that’s where crowd sourcing from citizen reporters comes in, providing more accurate and timely information to the traveling public on conditions around the state.
Lisa Miller, UDOT’s Traveler Information Manager, said the program was extremely successful, with over 1100 reports last year from approximately 500 reporters. She predicts four times the usage of the app this coming year.
“Our early concern was that the data might not be reliable,” Miller said. “But what we’ve found is that the incoming data is 99% accurate.”
Other states, such as Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska and North Dakota have requested information from UDOT to create similar programs in those states. The success of the program has spurred the department to produce another app, called Click N Fix, which allows the public to report potholes, burnt out highway lights, and other safety issues. The app will be more widely available to the public in early 2015.
UDOT was awarded a “Best of ITS” award for “Best New Innovative Practice” in September.
“Crowd-sourcing is emerging as an effective means to both engage and serve the public, Miller said. “The public can now make more informed travel decisions, which impacts everything: safety, mobility, and the economy.”
To become a Citizen Reporter:
In order to become a UDOT Citizen Reporter, you will need to complete a brief training (either online or in person), take a short quiz and complete a sign-up form. The training takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. Once a volunteer has completed these steps, they will be provided with a login and PIN, and can begin submitting reports. Reports are submitted through the UDOT Citizen Reporting app, downloadable for Android and Apple devices from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
If you would like to become a Citizen Reporter, please follow this link to take the online training: www.udottraffic.utah.gov/training/citizenreporter. For more information or to schedule an in person training, email UDOTCitizenReporter@utah.gov.
You can download the Citizen Reports app for your iPhone or Android device.