The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has awarded TEEX’s Lone Star Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) a special grant to provide direct technical assistance to traffic signal technicians. It is part of FHWA’s Accelerating Safety Activities Program (ASAP), which provides “seed” funding to spur innovative efforts to improve safety and drive down traffic crashes.
The Lone Star LTAP Center, which is managed by TEEX, plans to retool its long-standing traffic signal training program and expertise to better address the most pressing safety issue in Texas, traffic crashes, said Lone Star LTAP Director William Lowery of TEEX’s Infrastructure Training & Safety Institute. Each year, Texas experiences over 2,000 traffic fatalities and more than 200,000 serious injuries, he added.
“We are pleased about this grant because it will allow us to dispatch experienced experts to several small communities where technicians may lack the guidance of a qualified traffic engineer,” Lowery said. “The training will be tailored to the needs of each set of technicians, and will introduce some of the latest techniques for improving safe operations.”
The project has two fundamental goals: to teach technicians how to properly phase and time signals to enhance safe traffic movement, and to build skills for troubleshooting signal equipment, Lowery said. One expected outcome is that technicians will grasp the importance of conformity with the latest Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (TMUTCD).
The project will also introduce two important new countermeasures: the use of signal head back plates with retroreflective borders to help draw drivers’ attention during darkness and inclement weather, and use of the pedestrian hybrid beacon to reinforce safety at mid-block pedestrian crossings.