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Effectiveness of a community traffic safety program

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Sicinski, Christine M.; Noyce, David A.; Blume, Matthew C.
Traffic safety education; Traffic safety; Speed control; Safety programs; Public participation; Traffic law enforcement; Police; Neighborhoods; Before and after studies
The Safe Roads program is a comprehensive community traffic safety program providing resources, training, and hands-on assistance for the development of education, enforcement, and engineering initiatives toward traffic crash prevention. Funded through the Massachusetts Governor's Highway Safety Bureau, the Safe Roads program provides cooperating towns in western Massachusetts with tools, techniques, and strategies to address the conditions and behaviors that contribute to traffic crashes, their resulting injuries, and the cost of those injuries. Technical assistance is provided along with equipment and educational materials. Quarterly newsletters describe important safety facts and present local, state, and national safety data. Several recent programs have included increased enforcement patrols, neighborhood speed watch programs, and signage evaluation. This paper provides an overview of the neighborhood Speed Watch program and a preliminary investigation of its potential effectiveness in reducing operating speeds. As part of Citizen Speed Watch, local residents were trained in the use of speed monitors and LiDAR laser speed guns and then were allowed to borrow this equipment to collect speed data on a local street. License plate numbers of vehicles exceeding the posted speed were recorded and submitted to the local police department. The police issued an informational letter to the vehicle owner describing the safety consequences of speeding. A before and after analysis of the Speed Watch program as part of two pilot studies found that average speeds were reduced during and immediately following program activities. Additional facts related to this specific speed study and other important components of the Safe Roads program are provided.
8 p. ; Paper prepared for the Institute of Transportation Engineers conference Transportation Operations: Moving into the 21st Century, April 2-5, 2000, Irvine, California
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