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How Cities and Parishes Can Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures

By Rudynah Entera Capone, MPA

Louisiana is taking a collaborative and data-driven approach in road safety particularly in its Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures (“FoRRRwD”). A virtual training opportunity will be hosted by LTAP on October 13-15, 2020.

Reducing rural roadway departures is not only part of the FHWA’s EDC initiative, it is also a road safety priority for the Louisiana DOTD and partnering agencies involved in the implementation of the State’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP). The plan’s overall goal is to reach Destination Zero Deaths (DZD), and it is instrumental for inter-agency work to take place in order to reach this goal. This means active collaboration between engineers, planners, educators, health practitioners, law enforcement officers, elected officials, and safety advocates—all happening at the state, parish, and city levels.

So, how can parishes and cities help Louisiana focus on reducing rural roadway departures? Here’s what you can do:
  1. Work with partners in your designated regional safety coalition. There are nine SHSP coalitions across the state established through an agreement between DOTD and the designated Regional Planning Commission (RPC) or the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). Louisiana DOTD has District Offices that work closely with the MPOs, RPCs, State Police troops, and local public entities. Visit www.destinationzerodeaths.com to view the coalitions’ contact information.
  2. Develop and implement Local Road Safety Plans. Approximately 24% of the statewide deaths in Louisiana occurred on local roads. To help bring these numbers down, parishes and cities are encouraged to develop a local safety plan. The plan should mirror the statewide Roadway Departure Action Plan and the infrastructure component of the SHSP but strategically outline local road safety issues, low-cost safety solutions and sources of funding.
  3. Apply for Local Road Safety Program (LRSP) funding. Local public agencies may submit their project applications year-round. Eligible projects include proven safety countermeasures such as signage, markings, rumble strips, friction treatments, safety edge, and curve delineators. These solutions are low-cost and have been proven to avoid roadway departures.

LTAP works closely with the regional safety coalitions, the DOTD District offices, and MPO partners to ensure local stakeholder involvement among municipalities and parishes. Local road agencies are encouraged to consider developing a Local Road Safety Plan to be used as a tool for reducing roadway fatalities, injuries and crashes.