What is a Safety Corridor; Its Importance For Road Safety

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Safety Corridor

Safety Corridors are special segments of highway that have been identified based on data analysis to be high collision zones, especially for severe injury and fatal collisions. When they are identified, they are marked with signs to alert drivers of the impending dangers.

What is a Safety Corridor

It can be said to be stretches of state highways where fatal and serious injury traffic crash rates are higher than the statewide average for similar types of roadways.

To reduce the number of these incidents, the stretch of the road is designated as a “Safety Corridor” and becomes subject to heightened enforcement and double fines for traffic infractions, if signed. Drivers may also be asked to turn on headlights during the day, reduce speed and refrain from passing. It has been identified that the primary cause of these crashes is driver behavior (speeding, aggressive driving, impairment and distracted driving).

The corridors are identified by special signs telling drivers when they enter and leave the corridors. If you drive through a Safety Corridor and obey the speed limits and all other driving laws, you have nothing to worry about and can expect to encounter better driver behavior.

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According to Wikipedia;

The Safe Corridor initiative is part of an effort by the New Jersey Department of Transportation, and departments from other states, to improve the safety of its roads. Roads with accident and fatality rates above the average may have some of their lengths designated as “Safe Corridor” areas. In these areas, traffic fines are doubled.

At the program’s inception, there were thirteen roads with Safe Corridors: U.S. Route 1, U.S. Route 9, Route 10, Route 17, U.S. Highway 22, Route 23, U.S. Route 30, U.S. Route 40, U.S. Route 46, Route 47, Route 73, U.S. Route 130, and U.S. Route 206.

The Safe Corridors Program is a part of New Jersey’s “Safety First” initiative, which combines $20 million in highway improvements over five years with stricter police enforcement, increased fines for unsafe equipment and hazardous driving, and enhanced driver education for all motorists. New Jersey’s Safe Corridors Program focuses on improving safety along the State’s most crash-prone corridors – nearly 130 miles (210 km) of state roadway.

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Safety Corridor Designation Criteria in Oregon

  1. The five year average of the local fatal and serious injury crash rate is at or above 150 percent of the latest statewide five year average for a similar type of roadway (as determined by the ODOT Crash Analysis and Reporting Unit).
  2. The initial Designation Team agrees that the corridor length is manageable from an enforcement and education (media coverage) standpoint. The segment of highway must be similar in nature. Two to 10 miles in length is preferable. Rural sections may be substantially longer than urban sections.
  3. State and/or local law enforcement agencies commit to making the corridor a patrol priority.
  4. There is a multi-disciplinary stakeholder group that meets on a regular basis (at least annually, as defined in the charter). Stakeholders are defined as those individuals, groups, and agencies that have expressed a current interest in the safety corridor and are considered to have valuable input in the process.

Importance of Safety Corridors for Road Safety

Safety Corridor

As we have already explain what a Safety Corridor is, in this paragraph we will mention some major importance of safety corridors. They include:

  1. Road maintenance:

Road area undergoing maintenance or due for maintenance are also designated a safety corridor as it creates lots of dangers on the road, some of these dangers are; Potholes, cracks, and other road hazards can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles, leading to accidents.

2. Speed

Due to the high accident rate in this area, and knowing that speed is one of the major cause of collision; designating this area as a high risk area and stating speed limit accepted within the area will also enhance road safety and help prevent accidents and reduce the severity of any potential accidents that may occur.

So the corridor helps implement speed limit.

3. Increase Enforcement

Where s safety corridor is identified and designated it will naturally attracts more enforcement as the area is a focal area. Some of the enforcement measures include increase patrol, installation of speed trap, etc. These increase in enforcement will increase the adherence to traffic laws especially within these areas thereby reducing accident rate.

4. Creates public Awareness

Danger not known cannot be avoided nor managed. Designating an area as a safety corridor with signs and other safety measures help create awareness for the road users. It tell them about the impending danger within the area and guide them on the decisions to take when approaching the area.

How Are Safety Corridors Established?

Safety Corridor

Safety corridors are established following some trends:

1. Analyzing Crash Data and Traffic Patterns

As mentioned that its an area that has recorded many fatal and serious crashes or collisions. How did they know this, its through analysing crashes data and following traffic patterns. Most times this is done by transport agencies or agency authorized to manage road safety. Its based on this data that they can strongly come up with a conclusion that an area should be designated a safety corridor.

2. Identifying and Addressing Root Causes of Accidents

It does not end at identifying the high risk area, the root cause of the accidents should be ascertained. This is needful because it may be possible to resolve the issue without designating the area. Also identifying the root cause may give a clear picture of the measure to adopt to prevent accidents even after the area has been designated.

3. Collaboration between Government Agencies and Law Enforcement

After identifying the area of need and knowing the root cause of the accidents, for the area to be designated, they have to collaborate with the government and law enforcement agency. This is necessary because the government job is just to give an approval for the designation while the law enforcement agency is to ensure its implementation.

Characteristics of Effective Safety Corridors

For your safety corridor to be effective it must have the following:

  • Clear Signage and Markings: The area must be marked for easy identification by road users
  • Enhanced Law Enforcement Presence: There be a sign that shows that the law enforcement agency is on standby to implement and enforce the guideline.
  • Traffic Calming Measures: There must be a traffic calming measures like Speed Bumps, Humps, Traffic Circles, Chicanes, Neckdowns.
  • Regular Monitoring and Evaluation: There should be regular monitoring and evaluation within this area which could provide more insight on how to better manage the location to ensure road safety.

Challenges and Limitations of Safety Corridors

  • Balancing Enforcement with Driver Education
  • Sustaining Long-Term Impact
  • Funding and Resource Allocation

 

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