ITS Centers Receive $2.5 Million to Improve Road Safety

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California’s Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) has awarded nearly $2.5 million in grants to two research and education centers affiliated with the Institute of Transportation Studies to improve safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and drivers.

The Safe Transportation Research & Education Center (SafeTREC) and the Technology Transfer Program (Tech Transfer) will use the funds to study better ways to prevent crashes and to help local agencies identify potentially hazardous surface roadway conditions.
 
In announcing the awards on Wednesday, OTS Director Christopher Murphy said the state had made substantial progress in reducing traffic fatalities in recent years.
 
“But with thousands still dying and tens of thousands being injured, there is an on-going need for the multi-faceted approach provided by these grants. We need to do all we can to work toward our vision of Toward zero deaths, every 1 counts.”
 
Tech Transfer will receive $515,000 to continue administering two award-winning programs that have sent traffic and pedestrian safety experts to communities throughout California on more than 200 occasions to help local agencies identify and implement safety programs.
 
The center’s Traffic Safety Evaluation program has been in operation since 1999.  A companion program, the Pedestrian Safety Assessment program, began in 2008 and won a national award from the Institute of Transportation Engineers and a California Best Practices Award from the American Planning Association in 2009.
 
The state funding will allow Tech Transfer to expand on the success of the older programs by launching a bicycle safety component in 2013 in collaboration with SafeTREC.
 
“Our goal is to make roadways safer for all users, including bicyclists,” said Laura Melendy, director of Tech Transfer. “We are grateful to Chris Murphy for his encouragement and for allowing us to extend our services to the growing bicycling public. This funding also allows us to continue targeting communities who most need our help.”
 
Nearly $2 million will support a variety of SafeTREC projects, including core SafeTREC operations as well as 12 to 15 graduate student researchers.
 
SafeTREC, which changed its name from the Traffic Safety Center in 2009, has received funding from OTS since 2000. Projects receiving funding include the California Active Transportation Safety Information Pages website (CATSIP); teen driver safety; motorcycle safety; community pedestrian safety training; and the Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS), which allows users to interactively explore a geo-coded database of 10 years of California collisions.
 
“We are delighted and grateful to the Office of Traffic Safety for its continued support of SafeTREC’s traffic safety activities. We look forward to building on the achievements of our longstanding partnership and continue to work toward making California’s roads safer,” said SafeTREC Director David Ragland.