Road construction work-zone safety is a topic that doesn’t seem to appear in the headlines of daily newspapers nor does it receive a lot of attention from nightly news shows. That may soon change.
In conjunction with the Federal Highway Administration and the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials, the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) plans to spearhead a national awareness campaign for the cause during National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week, scheduled the first week of April 2000.
According to ATSSA, thousands of men, women, and children have been killed or injured in work zones across the nation. Within the past decade, more than 8,000 fatalities were reported in work zones. Fatalities in the year 1998 rose to 772, reversing a three-year decline in work zone fatalities from 1995-1997. Another important statistic to note, approximately 37,000 people were injured in work zones in 1998.
In a recent interview with ROADS & BRIDGES, James S. Baron, ATSSA’s director of communications commented on the number of work zone fatalities in 1998.
"If we lost 772 people in a plane crash, the country would be appalled," said Baron. "This effort (National Work Zone Safety Week) is going to reduce the number of lives lost in work zones each year. The only way to save lives is to get drivers to slow down and disengage from distracting activities, such as talking on a cell phone, as soon as they see orange signs warning them of a work zone."
While the consumer public may be temporarily limited in its exposure to work-zone safety, it is one of the main reasons behind ATSSA’s 30th Annual Convention and Traffic Expo officially scheduled between February 18-22, at the Phoenix Civic Plaza, in downtown Phoenix, Arizona.
Operating under the theme "Safer Roads Save Lives, this year’s event builds on the previous year’s show by offering more training courses, meetings and workshops that cover a wide variety of traffic safety-related topics as well as work-zone safety.
Additonally, the latest innovations in roadway safety also are on display at Traffic Expo 2000, the largest exhibition of traffic control equipment and services in North America, according to ATSSA.
Give your boss a reason to come early and stay late this year to take advantage of opportunities to enhance your traffic safety expertise via training courses.
Scheduled prior to and shortly after the convention, these training courses provide a hands-on, multimedia atmosphere where certification and continuing education units are attainable.
Courses offered between February 15-17, prior to the convention, are the "Traffic Control Technician" (TCT) course and the "Traffic Control Supervisor" (TCS) course.
"Our TCT course, which is a one day course is a prerequisite for the TCS course," said Donna Clark, director of training and products for ATSSA. "It is an introduction to the basic principals of temporary work zone traffic control. It is for people who install, maintain and remove temporary traffic control devices."
TCS involves two days of lectures, multimedia presentations and design workshops. Recommended for any worksite traffic supervisor, coverage includes advanced work zone applications, design and decision making.
"TCS expands on the basics of the TCT course," said Clark. "In addition, it teaches supervisory skills that are necessary to monitor people on the job."
Scheduled on the flip side of the convention, February 23-24, courses include "Pavement Marking Technician" (PMT) and "Flagger Instructor Training" (FIT).
"PMT is a two day course is designed to enhance the skills of personnel who select, design, install, and inspect pavement markings," said Clark.
PMT course participants will learn how to apply traffic control designed specifically for pavement marking installation and how to follow safe, efficient application procedures. Participants also will learn skills such as documenting and complying with environmental and hazardous materials regulations, understanding tort liability and other legal issues.
Finally, the FIT course is a two-day course is designed to prepare qualified persons to present standardized training to those who want to be registered flaggers.
Another highlight of the convention is a full schedule of both technical and administrative-based committee meetings.
Slated for Saturday the 19th are the Technical Committee Meetings from 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. These particular meetings cover topics that include: guardrails, pavement markings, safety, sign and temporary traffic control.
Immediately following the technical meetings are the Administrative Committee Meetings. Scheduled for 1:00 - 5:00 p.m., the meetings cover topics that include education, government relations and membership.
Traffic Expo 2000
Known as Traffic Expo 2000, the exhibit aspect of ATSSA’s 30th Annual Convention and Exhibition offers attendees the opportunity to learn about and experience cutting-edge technology that constitutes the roadway safety technology forum.
According to ATSSA President Keith Griggs, Traffic Expo 2000 is the single largest display of traffic control equipment and devices in the world. Exhibitors focus on work zone traffic control, pavement markings, signage and traffic control safety devices.
Scheduled between February 20-22, approximately 190 exhibitors will show off their equipment in a record-breaking 490 booth spaces. Attendance is predicted to encompass approximately 3,000 roadway safety professionals from around the globe.
Be sure to stop by booth #1017 to find out more information about ROADS & BRIDGES and its counterpart, ITS WORLD, North America’s leading publication on intelligent transportation systems (ITS).
For the second consecutive year, workshops will be held in the mornings preceding the opening of the exhibit area. The workshops commence Sunday shortly after the Opening General Session and conclude midday Tuesday.
Workshops will focus on topics such as ITS, TEA-21, retroreflectivity, older driver issues, bringing guardrails up to standards in your state, and a myriad of business issues including employee/employer issues among other topics. Below is a brief listing of the workshops to be held during the three-day period. Please consult an ATSSA brochure for a complete schedule and description of the workshops.
Sunday, February 20, 2000
UTAH - I-15 Project; "Back at Ya; " Innovative Technologies & New Training Tools for Latin America; An NCHRP 350 Review of Barriers and Terminals; and A Smart Approach to Studying "Smart" Work Zone Technologies.
Also scheduled for Sunday is the National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week session.
The workshop provides attendees the opportunity to possibly help save a life by becoming active within your own community during Work Zone Safety Awareness Week. It also provides information about how to work with local media and government.
Monday, February 21, 2000
Using Pavement Markings to Control Speed; Teaching Basic Survival Skills to Highway Workers; Seven Habits of Highly Effective People; "Get on the Bus" for an ITS Adventure; Providing Traffic Control to Meet the Needs of Older Drivers; Becoming Export Ready: How to Prepare for Latin American Markets; Emerging Highway Safety Technology; Seizing Signing Opportunities; and Site Specific End Terminal Design.
Tuesday, February 22, 2000
Finding and Accessing "Hidden" TEA-21 Roadway Safety Dollars; Preserving the Value of Your Family-Owned Business; Smart Staffing; Performance Contracting Update; and Financing Alternative for the New Millennium
Public Officials Forum
The ATSS Foundation, which exists to promote safety education, invites local, state and federal employees to attend the Public Officials Forum, Tuesday February 22nd.
One of the primary goals of the Foundation is to provide educational opportunities for transportation officials who work everyday to better the safety records of the nation’s highways. This particular forum provides a hands-on, give and take discussion of who’s doing what to solve their particular safety challenges.
Focus on ITS
ITS is establishing a significant role within the ever-evolving traffic safety community.
Some of the ITS-related events scheduled during the convention include the ITS Council Meeting 2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 17th, and a workshop entitled "Get on the Bus" slated for Monday, February 21st.
The ITS workshop will cover how the state of Arizona has incorporated the AZTech ITS Model Deployment Initiative, a seven-year project that incorporates an integrated ITS for the Phoenix metropolitan area. The project involves freeway and arterial street networks that are safer and more efficient for the traveling public, while decreasing travel time and enhancing traveler mobility.
The ITS workshop is to take place en route to the AZTech Center, the hub of Arizona’s ITS activities.
It’s not all about business
The 9th Annual ATSS Foundation Golf Classic is scheduled for Friday, February 18th at the Wigwam Resort and Country Club. Playing just short of 7,000 yd, the course was created by Robert "Red" Lawrence.
Format for the tournament is a best ball scramble and teams consist of players with a broad range of ability. A reception and awards program immediately following the last putt.
While golf may be the attraction, the reason for the event is that it is the flagship fund raising program for the ATSS Foundation’s education endeavors, which include the Mid-Career Scholarship Program.
"More than $300,000 has been awarded to public officials across the country in the past nine years," said Myers.
Road the Cup
There is a good chance that the road to the NHL’s Stanley Cup may go through Phoenix this year.
This is your chance to see hockey Phoenix Coyote-style. Led by Jeremy Roenick and Keith Tkachuk, the Pacific Division leaders of the Western Conference take on an expansion team, the Atlanta Thrashers, Sunday February 20th.
Round trip transportation to the arena and an ice level seat is included in the $55 charge.
Located within walking distance of most hotels, Phoenix Live! will host ATSSA delegates for an evening of entertainment complete with live entertainment, dancing, video games and pool tables Monday the 21st.
For those who enjoy hands-on entertainment, a sumo-wrestling arena complete with suits for both competitors is available.
Tickets are included with the purchase of a full convention registration. If additional tickets are needed, they can be purchased for $40 in advance or on-site.
Plenty of additional events, in addition to those mentioned, are scheduled throughout the entire convention.
For more information on the 30th Annual ATSSA Convention and Traffic Expo, contact the American Traffic Safety Service Association, 15 Riverside Parkway, Suite 100, Fredericksburg, VA 22406; or phone 877/642-4637, fax 540/368-1722 or check out their website at www.atssa.com.