TECHNOLOGY

For more information, visit our Web site www.ltrc.lsu.edu/ltap/index.html

VOL. 20, NO. 1 Spring 2005

Benefits of Access Management

Submitted by John Broemmelsiek, FHWA Traffic Engineer

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Access control on roadways is the management of the frequency, location, and design of driveways and street intersections. Access management is the process of balancing the competing needs of traffic movement and land access. When access is excessive, roadways originally designed to connect communities lose their intended function and become congested with local traffic. Engineers have long recognized the direct relationship between poor access control and the increase in traffic congestion. Current research indicates that poor access control is also a serious safety issue that is driving up the number of crashes on our nation’s highways. Numerous safety studies have been conducted on the consequences of poor access management. The Colorado DOT has reported that access-related crashes on Colorado highways cost the State approximately $900 million in 1994 alone. In Oregon, access-related crashes on non-interstate, state highways cost at least $816 million per year. An estimated $380 million of this was attributed to only 632 miles of state highways in urban areas with very poor access management. Washington DOT has found a direct relationship between the number of crashes and the number of access points per mile. Why does access management save lives? Longer driveways, median openings, and traffic signal spacing result in fewer locations at which traffic conflicts occur. Drivers have adequate time to respond to one access
Cont. on page 7

Work Zone Safety is Everyone’s Concern
Who is responsible for work zone safety? Everyone. We are all responsible for driving, walking, and biking safely through work zones. Engineers and planners must make sure the work zone is designed and operating properly—with safety in mind. Drivers and pedestrians are responsible for being alert and obeying the traffic laws. Passengers should always buckle up and act responsibly. The police and the courts must ensure that the traffic and work zone laws are enforced. Public safety agencies are responsible for responding to and securing crash locations and enforcing traffic laws. Local communities and

Celebrate Work Zone Safety Week in Louisiana May 15-21, 2005

county and state governments need to allocate funding for safe roads and increase public awareness about work zone safety. Everyone should take responsibility for work zone safety.

With more than a 55 percent increase in work zone fatalities nationally between 1997 and 2002, work zone safety is a growing roadway safety concern. In 2002, there were 1,181 work zone fatalities; this figure represents 2.8 percent of all roadway fatalities for the year. Four out of every five work zone fatalities were motorists. In all, there were 117, 567 work zone
Cont. on page 2
A LOCAL TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM OF THE LOUISIANA TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH CENTER IN COOPERATION WITH LADOTD, FHWA, AND LSU.

In this issue: 1 Driving Safely in Work Zones - 3 1 Signs and Pavement Markings - 3 1 Drainage - 4 1 TTEC - 5 1 Rural Transportation Web Resource - 5 1 Customer Service Matters - 6 1 Calendar - 8 1

Page 2 Work Zone Safety, Continued from page 1
crashes and over 52,000 injuries in work zone crashes (1.8 percent of all roadway injuries). To put this in perspective, consider these national statistics:
w One work zone fatality occurs every 7 hours (3/day). w One work zone injury occurs every 15 minutes

w A financial loss of $3 billion resulted from work zone

(143/day).

Since 1998, 86 work zone-related fatalities have been reported in Louisiana. Work zone safety training should be a top priority for anyone who works on our roads and highways. The Louisiana LTAP offers a variety of training programs to help local communities and parishes attain their training needs. In 2005, we will offer Work Zone Safety, Part II.

crashes in 2001 alone (http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/ nwzaw_events/factsheet04.htm).

National Work Zone Safety Week, scheduled for April 3-9, 2005, is a nation-wide campaign that helps increase public awareness of work zone safety. It also brings to the attention of the motoring public and the media the fact that hundreds are killed senselessly in work zones each year. The American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) partnered with the Federal Highway Administration and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials in December 1999 to conduct this event annually. Since then, countless partners such as ARTBA, AGC, OSHA, DOT’s have joined the cause with ATSSA chapters around the country. Local community activities help educate the nation on work zone related injuries and fatalities and the hazards and dangers that can be encountered and avoided when driving through a roadway construction zone. This year, Louisiana chose the week of May 15 to spotlight work zone safety to coincide with the arrival of a traveling work zone safety memorial. For more information, visit the Work Zone Safety Clearinghouse mentioned above, and www.atssa.com/public/nwzsaw.asp. Available from the LTAP Video Library Work Zone Tort Liability (Texas A&M, Time 13:02). Re-creation of an actual court case showing issues related to inadequate training.

Work Zone Safety Resources A wealth of available information is available to help reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities at work zones. The National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse (http://wzsafety.tamu.edu) is an example of a successful educational tool that reaches out to the public and the highway community. Started in 1998 by FHWA and the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), this clearinghouse is the first centralized, comprehensive work zone information resource. Topics covered include training, standards and practices, laws and legislation, education and outreach, equipment and technology, and accident and crash data.

Contact us for more information and to schedule a work zone safety training class for your agency.

The FHWA distributes a Best Practices Guidebook that highlights good work zone practices of state transportation agencies throughout the United States. It is available on the Internet at www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/ wz/workzone.htm.

Since October 1, 1998, virtually all roadside hardware installed on the National Highway System must meet the crash evaluation criteria identified in NCHRP Report 350 (see http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ report350hardware). This site provides information on accepted devices and related FHWA policies.

LTAP is pleased to launch its new Web site with more features and resources and the most up-todate information concerning upcoming course offerings and events. On it you will find details about classes, a complete catalog of resources in our lending library, downloadable copies of the newsletter, a full calendar of events and more. Check it out at www.ltrc.lsu.edu/ltap/index.html.

Visit our newly re-designed Web site!

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10 Tips for Driving Safely in Work Zones

Signs and Pavement Markings
New Roads Scholar Class and Technical Information Sheets
LTAP is pleased to offer Roads Scholar Course #9 (a), Signing from the Ground Up, in April and May. This newly designed class incorporates the latest FHWA and LADOTD standards for proper sign material selection, installation and maintenance. Visit our Web site for more information and to register! www.ltrc.lsu.edu/ltap/index.html Three Technical Information Sheets concerning signs and pavement markings are available from the Pennsylvania Local Roads Program for downloading and printing. Technical Information Sheet # 59, Effective Stop Sign Placement covers improper use of stop signs, stop sign warrants, multi-way stop intersections, and unwarranted sign locations. The report is available at www.ltap.psu.edu/TS59.pdf.

1. Expect the unexpected. Normal speed limits may be reduced, traffic lanes may be changed, and people may be working on or near the road.

2. Slow down! Speeding is one of the major causes of work zone crashes. 3. Don’t tailgate! Keep a safe distance between you and the car ahead of you. The most common crash in a highway work zone is the rear end collision, so leave two car lengths between you and the car in front of you. 4. Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and construction workers and their equipment. 5. Pay attention to the signs! The warning signs are there to help you and other drivers move safely through the work zone. Observe the posted signs until you see the one that says you’ve left the work zone.

6. Obey road crew flaggers! The flagger knows what is best for moving traffic safely in the work zone. A flagger has the same authority as a regulatory sign, so you can be cited for disobeying his or her directions. 7. Stay alert and minimize distractions! Dedicate your full attention to the roadway and avoid changing radio stations or using cell phones while driving in a work zone. 8. Keep up with the traffic flow. Motorists can help maintain traffic flow and posted speeds by merging as soon as possible. Don’t drive right up to the lane closure and then try to barge in.

9. Schedule enough time to drive safely and check radio, TV, and Web sites for traffic information. Expect delays and leave early so you can reach your destination on time. Check the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse (http://wzsafety.tamu.edu) for information on work zone delays throughout the country. 10. Be patient and stay calm. Work zones aren’t there to personally inconvenience you. Remember, the work zone crew members are working to improve the road and make your future drive better.

Technical Information Sheet #90, Advanced Warning Signs for Turns and Curves, addresses the installation of warning signs placed in advance of turns and curves. It includes a general overview of advanced warning signs, choosing the appropriate sign for the location, advisory speed plaques, and the use of ball bank indicators to determine recommended speed for advisory speed plaques. A handy chart for calculating distances between signage and turns and curves is also included. It is available at www.ltap.psu.edu/TS90.pdf. Technical Information Sheet #91, New Pavement Markings Provide Curve Warning, introduces pavement markings in advance of troublesome curves (Advanced Curve-Warning Treatment) that encourage a driver to reduce speed. This report is available at www.ltap.psu.edu/TS93.pdf. For more information about signs and pavement markings, contact us or visit the Information Center at our Web site at www.ltrc.lsu.edu/ltap/info.html.

Louisiana is known for its bayous, rivers, lakes, and wetlands, as well as its heavy seasonal rains and naturally occurring high water tables. These natural resources provide fantastic benefits for industry, tourism, and recreation, but they also create unique drainage problems for our transportation system. In the recent Roads Scholar Course #3, Drainage: The Key to Roads That Last, participants learned techniques to identify and address the drainage problems facing Louisiana roads. Many engineers consider good drainage to be the most important design consideration for a road, both to minimize road maintenance costs and maximize the time the road is operational. The lack of good drainage can lead to the ingress of water into the road structure, which in turn can cause structural damage and costly repairs. Surface water can form a road safety hazard, especially on high-speed roads where it can result in hydroplaning.

In rural locations, drainage systems often consist of an open ditch parallel to the roadway with culverts at regular intervals to disperse the run-off to local watercourses. This type of drainage, while effective, can present a considerable hazard to errant vehicles leaving the roadway and reduce the effective roadway width, as many drivers like to keep their vehicle well away from the edge.

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TTEC Construction Underway
In August 2004, construction crews broke ground on the Transportation Training and Education Center (TTEC), a progressive partnering effort between the public and private sectors of the transportation industry AND the future home of the Louisiana LTAP Center. Weather permitting, LTAP should be in its new home by the fall of 2005.

TTEC will greatly enhance Louisiana Transportation Research Center’s mission by facilitating the delivery of transportation training, professional development opportunities, and technology transfer to engineers, technicians, and professionals from both the public and private domains.

The 14,000-square-foot facility is being constructed adjacent to the current LTRC office building on Gourrier Avenue. This new building will house a lecture facility for 100, a computer-based training classroom for approximately 30, and two general classrooms for about 40. Each of these will be equipped with advanced education and training equipment and distance learning/video-conferencing capabilities. A comprehensive transportation library and offices are also included in the plans.
Above: Architect’s rendering of TTEC Left: Side view of TTEC as of February 2005

New Rural Transportation Web Resource Now Available

The 2nd Annual Rural Economic Development conference was held February 2-3, 2005, at the University Center on the campus of Southeastern Louisiana University. The Governor’s Office of Rural Development and the Police Jury Association of Louisiana co-hosted the conference, which focused on the theme “Technology: The Back Road to Rural Louisiana.”

The nation’s rural transportation system is a complex network of airports, highways, railroads, ports and transits services, which all play a fundamental role in providing residents and companies with access to jobs, family, and markets.

The National Association of Counties (NACo) and the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) are proud to launch RuralTransportation.org, a new Web-based resource tool for rural transportation stakeholders, including local elected officials and regional development professionals.

Through this new web site, the two national associations are also dedicated to sharing best practices, providing forums for peer learning, highlighting local initiatives, and identifying useful and informative resources related to rural transportation.Visit www.ruraltransportation.org today!

To ensure that this multimodal system continues to meet the needs of local residents and business, NACo and NADO are committed to increasing the level of coordination between federal, state, and local officials.

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Customer Service Matters

For anyone who works in public service, customer service skills and training are essential. Good customer service skills will not only please your customer, but will also make your work experience easier and more efficient. You will have the additional satisfaction of knowing that you are doing your job well. In December 2004, LTAP provided several successful workshops to help people who work with the public improve their customer service skills. Comments from participants included: “Outstanding course. Thank You!”; “I think more people need to take this course.”; and “Wow! Hard to say anything but keep up the good work.”

What signs are we sending our customers? Orange barrels, speed limit signs, flagmen … all give motorists specific, necessary information on how they need to behave while driving through a construction site. However, too often, when a customer calls to complain, we give customers signs that are the opposite of good customer service. Consider these examples: “That’s our policy.” Customers hear “STOP.” “We are not responsible for that road.” Customers hear “DETOUR.” You can begin a good customer service strategy by being excited, happy, and enthusiastic about a complaint. The very best organizations see complaints as an opportunity to show what they can really do for the customer and to build a more positive relationship in spite of a problem. In some industries, the complaint is almost seen as a gift from the customer. If they hadn’t complained, how would you know to make changes in your services?

The real dirt on what a customer wants Roads are built with clear and accurate planning tools. However, when it comes to customer service, customer questions, comments, and complaints are frequently rushed through the process without a similar planning tool to get everyone through safely. We need a plan for customer service, too.

The customer is not always right, but he’s always the customer There are certain policies, safety issues, and financial concerns that dictate an organization’s abilities to answer the customer’s needs. In addition, sometimes customers ask for foolish things that are just not good for them or you. So, if you can’t deliver what the customer is asking for, why do you have to take the wrath of an irate customer?

The complaint may be hard to listen to, but it is the only way we know for certain how our customers want us to run our organizations. So, should we not only welcome these tirades from our customers, but also actively solicit them? Well, if you want to improve your customer’s opinion of you, the answer is “absolutely.”

Research shows that even if you cannot completely satisfy every customer’s demands, the mere fact that you are willing to listen and share with the customer the things that are within your power, then your perceived customer service level will improve—even when you have made absolutely no changes whatsoever! Powerful, isn’t it? Handling bumps in the customer service road Yes, complaints are hard to listen to. However, if you develop a service strategy that encourages feedback and trains its people in the best ways to respond to complaints, they soon become opportunities.

We’ve all heard the parable of the Emperor’s New Clothes. Well, think of your agency as the emperor and all of his subjects as your public citizens. If the emperor is unwilling to hear the bad news, he will also never hear the good. Sure, there will be many customer calls you simply cannot help because their proposed changes would not make good, sound sense. However, if you fail to seek out customers’ opinions, you’ll be working in a fairy tale existence without all of the input you need to make informed decisions and changes in your work.

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The following seven steps will work in almost every situation you find yourself in, even when you cannot or will not make the changes being requested. When they fail, it is primarily because steps 1 and 7 were not followed. 1. Listen to the complaint and speak only to ask for clarification. 2. Say “thank you” for bringing the complaint to your attention.

7 Easy Steps to Turn a Complaint into an Opportunity

5. Ask for the necessary information from the caller and document it.

6. Solve the problem, find out the timing, determine whether or not changes can be made and why, correct the mistake, or contact the person responsible for the issue. 7. Call the customer back with the information you have gathered—even if you cannot solve the problem to their satisfaction. Starting today, decide to really listen to the next customer who calls with a complaint, and try out these seven steps to see how they work for you.

3. Be willing to say “I’m sorry for the inconvenience” even if you cannot make a change or the initial problem is not one “owned” by your agency. 4. Promise to do something (whatever is in your abilities, or job responsibilities. Or, offer to find out who the responsible party is).

Benefits of Access Management (cont. from page 1)

Adapted from an article by Susan Hunt, owner of The Hunt Consulting Group, a firm focused on development, communication, and media issues that affect today’s business organizations.

conflict at a time, and improved access design gives drivers better visual cues. As a result, improved access management provides fewer brake light activations by drivers, fewer difficult driving maneuvers, and lower crash rates and ultimately reduces property damage, injuries, and fatalities.

Of course, good access management has many other benefits that include a significant improvement in traffic flow, reduction in travel times, higher property values, and more livable communities. Yet despite the numerous benefits of access management, regulating the construction of driveways, median openings, and other access features on an existing roadway is often controversial and can be difficult to implement. However, research is beginning to show that access management is not only a safety issue, but is good for business and significantly extends the useful life of a highway. For technical assistance on access management contact John Broemmelsiek, Traffic Operations/ITS Engineer, FHWA Louisiana Division, (225) 757-7614. Additional information may be found at: http://trb.org/news/blurb_detail.asp?id=1427 http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/access_mgmt/ http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/geometric/accessmgmtbrochure/what.htm.

John Broemmelsiek (brum-ul-sic) is the ITS and Traffic Operations Engineer for the FHWA Louisiana Division, a position he has held for five years. He also spent 10 years with LADOTD as an Electrical Engineer and worked in the areas of Traffic Signalization, Traffic Operations, IT, and Telecommunications. John holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and a Masters in Business Administration, both from LSU.

The Access Management Task Force (composed of federal, state, and local representatives from the private and public sector) is working to address access management in Louisiana. An educational workshop is scheduled for May 5, 2005, in Baton Rouge Louisiana. For more information on this workshop, visit our Web site at www.ltrc.lsu.edu/ltap/index.html or contact Marie Walsh at (225) 767-9184.

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Work Zone Safety Week April 3-9, 2005, National May 15-21, 2005, Louisiana www.safety.fhwa.dot.gov

Mark Your Calendar

LPESA Spring Conference May 26-27, 2005 Lafayette

Louisiana Access Management Conference May 5, 2005, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Holiday Inn Select, Baton Rouge www.ltrc.lsu.edu/ltap/index.html National Bike Month May 2005 www.bikemonth.com

Roads Scholar #9(a) Traffic Sign Installation and Maintenance April 19 April 20 April 21 April 26 April 27 April 28 May 3 May 4

The Louisiana Local Technical Assistance Program was established at the Louisiana Transportation Research Center on the LSU campus in 1986. The purpose of the center is to provide technical materials, information, and training to help local government agencies in Louisiana maintain and improve their roads and bridges in a cost-effective manner. To accomplish this purpose, we: w publish a quarterly newsletter w conduct seminars, workshops, and miniworkshops covering various aspects of transportation, w provide a lending library service of audio/visual programs on a variety of transportation topics,

National Public Works Week May 15-21, 2005

Slidell Jefferson Parish Slidell Bossier City Ruston Alexandria Sulphur Lafayette

w provide technical assistance through phone and mail-in requests relating to transportation technology, w undertake special projects of interest to municipalities in Louisiana.

Newsletter Staff

Sher Creel, Executive Editor Emily Wolfe, Writer/Editor Vicki Dischler, Designer Nick Champion, Photographer Jenny Speights, Webmaster

Technology Exchange is published quarterly by the Louisiana Transportation Research Center. It is the newsletter of the Louisiana Local Technical Assistance Program. Any findings, conclusions, or recommendations presented in this newsletter are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of LSU, LADOTD, or FHWA. 225-767-9117 800-595-4722 (in state) 225-767-9156 (fax) LALTAP @ltrc.lsu.edu (e-mail)

Publication Statement

Dr. Marie B. Walsh............................ Director David McFarland............................. Teaching Associate Robert D. Breaux............................... Office Manager

Need Technical Help?..........Contact Our LTAP Center Staff:

LTAP Center

Louisiana Transportation Research Center 4101 Gourrier Ave. Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70808

@ Louisiana State University