SPC Journal of Transportation Safety (JOTS)

February 2013 Issue:

Traffic Signal

"The project that we did with SPC was a huge success for Cranberry."
-Duane McKee, Cranberry Twp.






Road Safety Audits







"To date, SPC has completed fifteen (15) Road Safety Audits across the region."












"By analyzing the reports from the database, HCI's
transportation program
manager, Sarah Morgan, could see that the
service is providing more
than 9,000 rides per month."







Welcome To JOTS!

The purpose of the JOTS bi-annual newsletter is to bring you informative and interesting articles about Transportation, Operations, and Safety activities and initiatives that are occurring within the ten county region that SPC serves as well as those occurring on the national and state level. This inaugural issue has articles on work that SPC is doing with traffic signals, road safety audits, transit operations, and bicycle mapping. Enjoy!

SPC Completes First Cycle of Regional Traffic Signal Program

SPC, in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), its planning partners, and over 40 municipalities across the region, recently completed the first cycle of its Regional Traffic Signal Program.

SPC's Regional Traffic Signal Program assists communities with implementation of traffic signal equipment upgrades and traffic signal retiming/synchronization. The first cycle included signal equipment upgrades and/or retiming at over 250 signalized intersections across 40 municipalities.

Based on before/after studies conducted by the program, the first cycle of projects provided $90 of annual public benefits for each $1 expended. Benefits included reduced stops and delay to the public, reduced fuel consumption, and reduced harmful emissions. During the most congested periods of the day, the projects yielded an average improvement in travel time along all corridors of 27%, and an average reduction in vehicular stops of 53%.

Municipalities have also been appreciative of the results of the program. "The project that we did with SPC and our partners was a huge success for Cranberry," said Duane McKee, Cranberry Township Assistant Manager. "Our traffic levels have been changing with the economic development occurring in the area and we need to update our coordinated timing plans. Through teamwork and innovative thinking, plans were developed that handle new volumes without adding more asphalt but still reduce travel times, fuel consumption, and environmental impacts."

SPC is now moving forward with the funded second and third cycles of the program.

For more information regarding the projects in the first cycle of the Regional Traffic Signal Program, please click on this link.

Traffic Signal Work Traffic Signal Work

[ top ]

SPC Performs Road Safety Audits on Region's Roadways

A Road Safety Audit (RSA) is a formal safety performance examination of an existing or future road or intersection by an independent, multi-disciplinary team. It qualitatively estimates and reports on potential road safety issues and identifies opportunities for improvements in safety for all road users. The aim of an RSA is to answer the following questions:

  • What elements of the road may present a safety concern: to what extent, to which road users, and under what circumstances?
  • What opportunities exist to eliminate or mitigate identified safety concerns?

Cars On The Highway

An RSA is a proactive process that provides prioritized suggestions which can be implemented in stages as time and resources permit. As a service to its planning partners, SPC has developed an RSA program as part of its Transportation Operations & Safety planning efforts. The methodology for this program is based on the 8-step RSA process developed by the Federal Highway Administration.

To date, SPC has completed fifteen (15) Road Safety Audits across the region. They include the following locations that were identified with our planning partners as areas in need of a safety examination:

Many of the safety suggestions within these RSA's related to traffic signals, signage, pavement markings, and sight distance have now been completed by the respective road owners. SPC is continuing this effort with 2 RSAs scheduled for completion in 2013 (Route 136 in Westmoreland County and S.R. 954 (South Sixth Street) in Indiana County).

[ top ]

Transit Rider Boarding BusSPC Assists HCI With Transit Operations

As part of our technical planning and assistance to the region's transit operators, SPC staff recently helped an one local project analyze ridership data helping optimize a vital service that gets Mon Valley residents to work. The WorkLink Shuttle service run by Heritage Community Initiatives uses contractor operated vans to connect income-eligible riders in underserved neighborhoods to Port Authority routes and to jobs. This "First Mile" service plays an important role in the economic recovery of the region.

SPC staff took raw data from the van operator, showing detailed passenger on/off information for every van, and built a customized, user-friendly database for HCI. By analyzing the reports from the database, HCI's transportation program manager, Sarah Morgan, could see that the service is providing more than 9,000 rides per month. The database helped Morgan solve issues with a particular stop by pulling up historical data about that stop quickly rather than wading through daily data. In addition, the database reduced the time needed for the monthly metrics report from a day-long project to just five minutes.

[ top ]

SPC's Bicycle Suitability Mapping Project

Bicyclist in OaklandAs part of SPC's intermodal initiatives, our transportation planners have undertaken a project to evaluate the cycling conditions of the regional state highway network and create bicycle suitability maps. The suitability maps rate road segments as above average, average, or below average for cycling. Bicycle suitability maps have been completed for Allegheny, Armstrong, Butler, Greene, Indiana, and Westmoreland counties. This effort involves both data/mapping analysis and engaging local cyclists to assist in calibrating the suitability maps.

The county bike suitability maps have been an instrumental input to the development of County Bike Plans in Allegheny and Indiana County. In Butler County, the bike suitability maps were utilized in developing aspects of the County Trail and Recreation Plan. The local cyclist group assembled for the bike suitability map project in Butler evolved into the City of Butler Bicycle Commission. This commission has been successful in establishing an identified network of shared lane bike routes connecting community facilities to trails in Butler. In Armstrong County, a link to the bicycle suitability
maps was included on the County Visitor's Bureau Website .

For more information regarding SPC's bicycle suitability maps, please click here.

By analyzing the reports from the database, HCI's transportation program manager, Sarah Morgan, could see that the
service is providing more than 9,000 rides per month.

[ top ]

From Our Planning Partners . . .

US Department of TransportationFederal Highway Administration

Pennsylvania Department of TransportationPennsylvania Department of Transportation

[ top ]

SPC MeetingUpcoming 2013 SPC Meetings of Interest

February 26, 10:00 AM: SPC Ops & Safety Committee meeting

March 5, Time TBD: Airport Corridor Local TIM Team Meeting #1

March 13, 10:00 AM: Ped and Bike Committee

March 14, 10:00 AM: CommuteInfo Partners

March 20, 10:00 AM: Regional TIM Steering Committee @ SPC

April 12, 9:00 AM: Annual Freight Conference
SPC's annual Freight Conference brings together local elected officials, planners decision-makers and industry representatives from a three state area to discuss and explore freight issues and opportunities affecting the region.

April 17, Time TBD: I-79/I-76 Local TIM Meeting #3

June 18, 10:00 AM: SPC Ops & Safety Committee meeting

July 13, Time TBD: Regional TIM Steering Committee and combined Airport Corridor and I-79/I-76 Local TIM training at PennDOT District 11-0

Meeting dates and time are subject to change. Please check SPC's website at spcregion.org or call 412-391-5590 for meeting confirmation. All meetings are held on 4th floor at SPC offices unless otherwise noted.

[ top ]

We hope that you have enjoyed this edition of JOTS. We welcome your comments on this issue and ideas for future issues at JOTS@spcregion.org.

[ top ]

Wish to unsubscribe? Please e-mail JOTS@spcregion.org and use the Subject line "Please Unsubscribe Me From JOTS"

Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission
Two Chatham Center, Suite 500
112 Washington Place
Pittsburgh, PA 15219-3451
Phone: 412-391-5590
Fax: 412-391-9160

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC) is the cooperative forum for regional collaboration, planning, and public decision-making. The Commission serves as the official Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for a 10-county region including the City of Pittsburgh and the counties of Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington, and Westmoreland. The Commission develops plans and programs for public investments; fulfills Federal and State requirements for transportation, economic development, and local government assistance programs; and operates with public involvement and trust.