WHAT IS THE 'FDOT GREENBOOK'?
The "FDOT Greenbook" was developed by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and is entitled "Manual of Uniform Minimum Standards for Design, Construction and Maintenance of Streets and Highways." The purpose of the FDOT Greenbook is to provide uniform minimum standards and criteria for the design, construction and maintenance of all public streets, roads, highways, bridges, sidewalks, curbs and curb ramps, crosswalks where feasible, bicycle paths, underpasses and overpasses used by the public for vehicular and pedestrian traffic as directed by Section 335.075 Florida Statutes. The FDOT standards are intended to provide the basic guidelines for developing and maintaining a highway system with reasonable operating characteristics and a minimum number of hazards. The standards established by the FDOT Greenbook are intended for use on all new construction projects. It is understood that the FDOT standards cannot be applied completely to all reconstruction projects, however, the standards should be applied to the extent that economic and environmental considerations and existing development will allow. When the FDOT Greenbook refers to guidelines and design standards given by current American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (formerly AASHTO) publications, these guidelines and standards should generally be considered as minimum criteria. The criteria and standards set forth in other Manuals which have been included by reference shall be considered as requirements within the authority of this Manual.
HOW ARE 'SPEED LIMITS' ESTABLISHED?
In Florida, speed limits are set by Florida Statutes, Chapter 316, which deals with the "State Uniform Traffic Control". Florida Statutes Chapter 316.187, authorizes the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to set maximum and minimum speed limits for travel on the roadways under its authority as it deems safe and advisable, not to exceed 55 miles per hour, 65 mph on certain designated segments of interstate highways. Florida Statutes, Chapter 316.189, presents the authority for establishment of municipal and County speed zones maintained by these agencies. This section indicates that the maximum speed on any Municipal or County maintained road is 30 mph. However, the Municipality or County may set speed zones altering such speeds, both as to maximum and minimum after investigation determines such a change is reasonable and in conformity with the criteria established by the FDOT. Traffic engineers throughout the country use the normal driver's speed as a guide in setting speed limits since most drivers tend to regulate their own speed according to traffic, road and weather conditions. For a speed limit to be effective, at least 85 percent of the drivers must voluntarily comply with the law. It is important to remember that the speed regulation informs the driver of the limits in which one can safely operate a vehicle under normal circumstances and within which the driver can be expected to react safely. Setting speed limits at appropriate levels will create a reasonable uniform flow of traffic, discourage violation of the law and help keep streets and highways safe.
The FDOT criteria for setting speed zones are presented in the publication entitled "Speed Zoning for Highways, Roads and Streets in Florida for Compliance with the Florida Statutes, Chapter 316." This publication indicates "The 85th percentile speed is the speed at or below which 85 percent of the observed free flow vehicles are traveling." It also states that a speed limit should not differ from the 85th percentile speed by more than 3 mph and it shall not be more than 8 mph less. The following excerpts were also taken from the FDOT Speed Zoning publication:
"It is common traffic engineering knowledge that most drivers (about 85%) travel at a reasonably safe speed for the various roadway conditions encountered regardless of speed limit signs, but it is for those drivers who don't that the practice of speed zoning does take place for the purpose of providing realistic speed restrictions to which meaningful enforcement can be applied." "The vehicle speed chosen by a driver is influenced by many factors: the presence of other vehicles, weather, road conditions, road geometrics, adjacent land use, and other factors tabulated in this report. A driver's choice of speed is a balance between expediency and safety, and is often a subconscious reaction to environment." "Motorists tend to pay little attention to speed regulations which they consider unreasonable unless there is an inordinate degree of enforcement." "Unreasonably low speed limits are commonly violated by a majority of motorists, making enforcement difficult, with resultant operating speeds sometimes higher than would exist with proper, realistic speed limits."
WHY NOT 'LOWER THE SPEED LIMIT' TO REDUCE HAZARDS IN OUR AREA?
An unrealistically low speed limit can actually lead to crashes. Here's why: First, many studies conducted over several decades in all parts of the country have shown that a driver's speed is influenced more by the appearance of the roadway and the prevailing traffic conditions than it is by the posted speed limit. Second, some drivers will obey the lower posted speed while others will feel it's unreasonable and simply ignore it. This disrupts the uniform traffic flow and increases crash potential between the faster and the slower drivers. Third, when traffic is traveling at different speeds, the number of breaks in traffic to permit safe crossing is reduced. Pedestrians also have greater difficulty in judging the speed of approaching vehicles. Florida Statutes, Chapter 316.183 deals with unlawful speed. This law states that "No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions, and having regard to the actual and potential hazards, then existing." Florida Statutes, Chapter 316.187 authorizes the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to set maximum and minimum speed limits for travel over these roadways under its authority as it deems safe and advisable, not to exceed 55 miles per hour. Florida Statutes, Chapter 316.189 presents the authority for establishment of municipal and County speed zones on roads maintained by these agencies. This section indicates that the maximum speed on any municipal or County-maintained road is 30 miles per hour. However, the municipality or County may set speed zones altering such speeds, both as to maximum and minimum after investigation determines such a change is reasonable and in conformity with Florida Department of Transportation criteria.
WON'T A 'STOP SIGN' SLOW TRAFFIC ON OUR STREET?
Stop signs installed in the wrong places for the wrong purposes usually create more problems than they solve. One common misuse of stop signs is to arbitrarily interrupt traffic, either by causing it to stop or by causing such an inconvenience that motorists are forced to use other routes. Studies made in many parts of the country show that there is a high incidence of intentional violations where stop signs are installed as "nuisances" or "speed breakers". These studies showed that speed was reduced in the immediate vicinity of the "nuisance" stop signs. But, speeds were actually higher between intersections than they would have been if these signs hadn't been installed.
At the right place and under the right conditions, a stop sign tells drivers and pedestrians who has the right of way. Nationally recognized standards have been established to determine when stop signs should be used. These standards, or "warrants", take into consideration, among other things, traffic speed and volume, sight distance and the frequency of traffic "gaps" which will allow safe vehicle entry or pedestrian crossing. Most drivers are reasonable and prudent. But, when confronted with unreasonable restrictions, they frequently violate them and develop a general contempt for all traffic controls--often with tragic results.
WHY CAN'T WE HAVE A 4-WAY STOP TO REDUCE CRASHES?
Many people believe that installing STOP signs on all approaches to an intersection will result in fewer crashes. This is not always the case, however. Although the crash severity may be lessened, drivers are penalized by the additional delay and higher vehicle operating costs (fuel, brakes, etc.). There is no real evidence to indicate that STOP signs decrease the speed of traffic. Impatient drivers view the additional delay caused by unwarranted STOP signs as "lost time" to be made up by driving at higher speeds between STOP signs. Unwarranted STOP signs breed disrespect by motorists who tend to ignore them or slow down without stopping. This can sometimes lead to tragic consequences. State Law requires the installation of all traffic control devices, including STOP signs to meet State standards adopted by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). Florida Statutes, Section 316.0745, state: "The Department of Transportation shall adopt a uniform system of traffic control devices for use on the streets and highways of the State." The Statutes also state: "All official traffic control signals or official traffic control devices purchased and installed in this State by any public body or official shall conform with the manual and specifications published by the Department of Transportation ...." The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) published by the U.S. Department of Transportation is the national standard for Traffic Control Devices. The FDOT has adopted the MUTCD as the State standard.
The installation of a multiway stop condition must first meet the warrants as set forth in the MUTCD. Any of the following conditions may warrant a STOP sign installation (sec. 2B-5):.
- Where traffic signals are warranted and urgently needed, the multiway STOP is an interim measure that can be installed quickly to control traffic while arrangements are being made for the signal installation.
- A crash problem, as indicated by five or more reported crashes of a type susceptible to correction by a multiway STOP installation in a 12-month period. Such crashes include right and left-turn collisions as well as right-angle collisions.
- Minimum traffic volumes: (a) The total vehicular volume entering the intersection from all approaches must average at least 500 vehicles per hour for any 8 hours of an average day, and; (b) The combined vehicular and pedestrian volume from the minor street or highway must average at least 200 units per hour for the same 8 hours, with an average delay to minor street vehicular traffic of at least 30 seconds per vehicle during the maximum hour, but; (c) When the 85-percentile approach speed of the major street traffic exceeds 40 miles per hour, the minimum vehicular volume warrant is 70 percent of the above requirements. STOP signs should not be viewed as a cure-all for solving all safety problems but, when properly located, can be useful traffic control devices to enhance safety for all roadway users.
WHAT ARE THE "WARRANTS" FOR MULTIWAY STOP SIGNS?
In order to insure multiway stop signs are installed only where necessary, warrants have been developed by the U.S. Department of Transportation and accepted by traffic engineers throughout the country. The "Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices" (MUTCD) describes the conditions that may warrant a multiway stop sign installation. Multiway stop signs should only be used when traffic volumes on intersecting roads are approximately equal. ALL APPROACHES MINOR STREET Average Vehicles/ Vehicles/Hr. + Hr. for the Pedestrians/Hr. WARRANT Highest 8 Hrs. during same 8 hours
- At intersections where - -traffic signals are already warranted prior to actual signal installation
- 5 or more crashes - - (Right turn, left turn, right angle) in a 12-month period
- Minimum traffic volumes 500 200 + 30 sec./ vehicle delay during maximum hour
- When 85 percentile speeds 350 140 + 30 sec./ exceed 40 MPH the minimum vehicle delay traffic volume warrant is during maximum 70% of the normal warrant hour Source: Adapted from Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, (MUTCD) by U.S. Department of Transportation.
WON'T A 'TRAFFIC SIGNAL' REDUCE CRASHES AT OUR INTERSECTION?
Traffic signals don't always prevent crashes. In many instances, the total number of crashes and injuries increase after they're installed. Where signals are used unnecessarily, the most common results are a reduction in right-angle collisions but an increase in total crashes, especially the rear-end type collision. In addition, pedestrians are often lulled into a false sense of security. In deciding whether a traffic signal will be an asset and not a liability, traffic engineers evaluate the following criteria:
- Does the number of vehicles on intersecting streets create confusion or congestion?
- Is traffic on the main street so heavy that drivers on the side street will try to cross when it is unsafe?
- Does the number of pedestrians trying to cross a busy main street create confusion, congestion or hazardous conditions?
- Does the number of school children crossing a street require special controls for their protection? If so, is a traffic signal the best solution?
- Will the installation of a signal allow for continuous, uniform traffic flow with a minimum number of vehicle stops?
- Does an intersection's crash history indicate that a signal will reduce the possibility of a collision?
Traffic engineers compare the existing conditions against nationally accepted minimum standards established after many years of studies throughout the country. At intersections where standards have been met, the signals generally operate effectively with good public compliance. Where not met, compliance is generally reduced resulting in additional hazards. While a properly placed traffic signal improves the flow and decreases crashes, an unnecessary one can be a source of danger and annoyance to all who use an intersection: pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.
WON'T A 'CHILDREN AT PLAY' SIGN HELP PROTECT OUR KIDS?
At first consideration, it might seem that this sign would provide protection for youngsters playing in a neighborhood. It doesn't. Studies made in cities where such signs were widely posted in residential areas show no evidence of having reduced pedestrian crashes, vehicle speed or legal liability. In fact, many types of signs which were installed to warn of normal conditions in residential areas failed to achieve the desired safety benefits. Further, if signs encourage parents with children to believe they have an added degree of protection--which the signs do not and cannot provide--a great disservice results. Obviously, children should not be encouraged to play in the roadway. The "children at play" sign is a direct and open suggestion that it is acceptable to do so. Federal standards discourage the use of "children at play" signs.
Specific warnings for schools, playgrounds, parks and other recreational facilities are available for use where clearly justified.
WHAT IS THE HARM OF INSTALLING AN UNWARRANTED TRAFFIC CONTROL DEVICE?
Traffic Control Devices (TCD's) such as Traffic Signals, Stop Signs and Speed Limit Signs are installed to regulate traffic flow and improve safety. The installation of these TCD's should be based on the professional judgement of Traffic Engineers after careful study of the location to be controlled. The study should consider such factors as crash frequency and type, vehicle speeds and traffic volumes. On occasion, an elected official, with a true "politician's" zeal to please everyone, influences the installation of a traffic control device against the advice of the Traffic Engineer. The elected official's motivation is often an angry or persistent citizen rather than the objective professional judgement of the Traffic Engineer. Many elected officials do not realize that there are National guidelines for the installation of Traffic Control Devices. The Manual On Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) gives Transportation Engineers the uniform standards to safely assist motorists as they travel. It defines a series of uniform Traffic Control Devices (Signals, Signs and Pavement Markings) which are clear in their messages as applied on the nation's roadway system. The March 1990 issue of "Public Roads" magazine, published by the U.S. Department of Transportation, contained an article on "Motorist Compliance With Standard Traffic Control Devices." The article examined the following forms of motorist noncompliance:
- Not coming to a full stop at STOP signs
- Failing to yield right of way to pedestrians
- Ignoring active railroad crossing devices
- Making illegal turns
- Using lanes improperly
- Violating traffic signal indications
- Driving too fast through work zones
- Encroaching on centerlines
- Violating passing zone restrictions
The behavioral studies collected compliance and other data at a large number of typical sites over extended periods of time. In the process, hundreds of thousands of motorists were observed. The clear conclusion was that motorist noncompliance does take place.
One of the recommendations in the US DOT article was: "To ensure that the motoring public maintains a healthy respect for TCD's, traffic professionals must use them prudently. Through concerted efforts of the nature outlined above (Engineering, Enforcement and Education), the safety and efficiency of our streets and highways can be maximized." Another recommendation was to "Apply TCD's consistently to ensure they command respect."
HOW DO 'TRAFFIC SIGNALS' WORK?
When installed under conditions that justify its use, a traffic signal is a valuable device for traffic control. However, an ill-advised or poorly designed signal is not only annoying, but can be dangerous to pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. Therefore, it is essential that, before traffic signals are installed, engineering studies be made by qualified personnel. A traffic signal provides alternate right-of-way for different traffic movements at an intersection. It provides a degree of control that is second only to physical barriers. A good general guide is to use the least traffic control required to provide for the safe and efficient movement of vehicles and pedestrians. Specifications for signals and their placement as well as warrants for their use are contained in a publication entitled "Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices" published by the U.S. Department of Transportation. A signal that minimizes vehicle stops and delay also cuts fuel consumption and emissions. The signal controller switches the signal indications on and off to assign right-of-way correctly and safely.
Two basic kinds of controllers are used: pretimed (also known as fixed-time) and traffic-actuated. Pretimed controllers operate on a predetermined, regularly repeated sequence of signal indications. They are used frequently where traffic volumes are predictable and stable.
Traffic-actuated controllers differ from pretimed controllers in that their signal indications are not of fixed length, but change in response to variations in traffic demand. They are frequently used where traffic volumes fluctuate widely or irregularly, or where interruptions to major-street flow must be minimized.
Signal Timing is the division of the cycle into seconds for each of the phases. It assigns right-of-way to alternate traffic movements in order to reduce traffic delay and crash-producing conflicts. Signal timing is constrained by the cycle length – the time for one complete sequence of the signal indications. Cycle lengths usually fall between 45 and 120 seconds. There are three common techniques for coordinating traffic signals to operate as a system. This is done to improve the progressive flow of traffic along an arterial street or in a network, any of which can work with either pretimed or actuated controllers.
The simplest system is the basic programmed system in which a master controller simply sends a periodic pulse to all intersections to instruct the local controllers that this is the system reference point.
The second method, called "time based coordinators," replaces the central controller and the interconnecting communications completely and places a very accurate timer directly at each location.
The third system uses a sophisticated central computer control that exerts more external control on the individual controllers.
WHAT IS FLORIDA LAW REGARDING SCHOOL SPEED ZONES AND SCHOOL BUSES?
The approach of a new school year brings out old questions on school zones and school buses. In Florida, school zones are governed by the Florida Traffic Laws, Florida Statutes, Section 316.1895. This Statute states that "No school zone speed limit shall be less than 15 miles per hour except by local regulation. Such speed limit shall be in force only during those times 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after the times necessary and corresponding to the periods of time when pupils are arriving at and leaving regularly scheduled school sessions." The Statute also states that "Permanent signs designating school zones and school zone speed limits shall be uniform in size and color, and shall display the times during which the restrictive speed limit is enforced clearly designated thereon. The Department of Transportation shall establish adequate standards for the signs." Different types of speed limit signs are used for school zones in Florida. Some have flashers which serve the purpose of advising motorists when the school zones are in effect. When these flashers are set and used properly, they are very effective. They alert the motorist to the need for caution and slower driving when the appropriate conditions exist. A school speed limit sign without flashers, while not as helpful to the motorist, is just as legally binding as the flasher sign. Drivers are reminded to be especially alert during those hours when children are on the streets. Chapter 316.172 of the Florida Statutes indicates that traffic must stop for school buses. This law states that:
(1) "Any person using, operating, or driving a vehicle on or over the roads or highways of this State shall, upon approaching any school bus used in transporting school pupils to or from school which is properly identified in substantial accordance with the provisions of Florida Statute 234.051 and which displays a stop signal, bring such vehicle to a full stop while the bus is stopped, and the vehicle shall not pass the school bus until the signal has been withdrawn."
(2) "The driver of a vehicle upon a divided highway where the one-way roadways are separated by an intervening unpaved space at least 5 feet or physical barrier, need not stop upon meeting or passing a school bus which is on a different roadway."
FDOT Safe Routes to Schools
DO BICYCLE RIDERS HAVE TO FOLLOW THE SAME RULES AS VEHICLE DRIVERS?
Florida Law treats bicycle riders of all ages the same as motor vehicle drivers, except for licensing requirements and laws which by their nature can have no application to bicycles. The law imposes additional requirements on bicyclists, most of which are contained in Section 316.2065, Florida Statutes. The major requirements are summarized below.
A bicyclist must travel in the same direction as other traffic and obey all traffic control signs and signals (stop signs, traffic lights, etc.). Bicyclists also are required to use hand signals when turning or stopping. Except when turning left or passing, bicycles must be kept as close as practicable to the right side of the road (or left if on a one-way street). Unless signs are posted prohibiting access, Florida law permits bicycles to be ridden on all streets and highways other than interstates, Florida's Turnpike, and similar limited-access roads. Bicycles also are permitted on sidewalks except where prohibited by local ordinance.
Bicycles may not be ridden more than two abreast. When ridden two abreast, bicycles may not impede the normal flow of traffic and must occupy only a single lane.
When on a sidewalk or crosswalk, a bicyclist has the same rights and responsibilities as a pedestrian. However, a bicyclist must yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian and must give an audible signal before overtaking and passing a pedestrian.
When operated between dusk and dawn, a bicycle must be equipped with a headlamp exhibiting a white light visible from at least 500 feet and both a lamp and a reflector on the rear, each exhibiting a red light visible from at least 600 feet. Additional lights and reflectors, both on the bicycle and on the rider, are permitted and encouraged when riding at night in order to increase the visibility of the bicycle for drivers of other vehicles. All bicycles must be equipped with brakes. The brakes must be capable of stopping a bicycle going 10 miles per hour within 25 feet on dry, level, clear pavement. The driver of a bicycle must be on a permanent seat and keep at least one hand on the handlebars at all times. Bicyclist may not attach themselves or their bicycles to other vehicles.
The number of people allowed to ride on a bicycle is limited to the number for which the bicycle is designed or equipped. Passengers may not be carried on the handlebars or frame of the bicycle. However, an adult may carry a child in a sling or a backpack while riding a bicycle (this is not recommended for very young infants). Trailers may be attached to bicycles for carrying cargo.
For children under 15 years old, the fine for a violation of a traffic law when operating a bicycle is $17. Bicyclists 15 and older receive the same fines as motor vehicle drivers, but are not assessed points against their driver licenses. Parents or legal guardians may be cited for a non-moving traffic violation for knowingly allowing their minor children to operate a bicycle in violation of the special bicycle regulations contained in Section 316.2065, Florida Statutes.
FDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Focused Initiative
WHAT CAN A CITIZEN DO TO HELP REDUCE TRAFFIC CRASHES?
In Florida, over 250,000 traffic crashes each year account for approximately 2,900 fatalities, 217,000 nonfatal injuries and $600 million dollars in property damage.
Citizens can do their part to help reduce the high cost of traffic crashes by taking the following actions: DRIVE CAREFULLY - Concentrate on driving and use seat belts; do not speed or drink and drive. DON'T TAKE CHANCES - Play it safe. Drivers should not try to "beat the light" or "beat the train" at railroad crossings. Drive defensively at all times. REPORT ROADWAY HAZARDS as soon as possible to city, county or state officials responsible for road maintenance and safety. Roadway hazards that should be reported are:
- Traffic signs obstructed by vegetation.
- Traffic signal malfunctions.
- Traffic signs down or damaged.
- Obstructions, potholes, bumps or dips in roadway.
- Shoulder washouts.
- Water ponding on roadway.
PROPERTY OWNERS SHOULD KEEP VEGETATION TRIMMED to ensure that good intersection and driveway sight distance is provided and that traffic control signs are visible. REPORT ACTS OF VANDALISM to law enforcement, traffic engineering and maintenance officials. SUPPORT TRAFFIC SAFETY OFFICIALS to ensure that they have adequate budgets for staff, equipment and supplies to do their job properly. TURN ON VEHICLE HEADLIGHTS between dusk and dawn and anytime visibility is reduced by rain, smoke, fog, etc. KEEP VEHICLES IN GOOD MECHANICAL CONDITION by regularly checking brakes, tires, wipers and other safety equipment.
OBEY TRAFFIC CONTROL DEVICES such as signs, signals and pavement markings. These devices were installed to enhance safety.
City of Cape Coral 311 Center
WHAT CAN A PEDESTRIAN DO TO REDUCE PEDESTRIAN CRASHES?
Pedestrian injuries in Florida are prevalent. 1985 Statistics indicate a pedestrian fatality rate of 5.71 per 1000 population. Florida ranked second in the nation for pedestrian fatalities with 655. California with 843 pedestrian fatalities was highest for that year. The major crash types most often associated with pedestrian crashes are: Mid-block dartouts; Intersection dash; Vehicle Turn/Merge; Multiple lanes crossing; Bus stop related; Vendor--Ice Cream Truck and Backing Up. Walk Defensively - Be prepared for the unexpected--don't let cars surprise you even if a motorist does something wrong like running a stop sign or making a sudden turn. Walk Facing Oncoming Traffic - When there are no sidewalks, walk near the curb, or off the road, if necessary. Cross Streets at Intersections Whenever Possible - Look in all directions before entering the street. Be especially alert to vehicles that may be turning right on a red signal. If there are crosswalks, use them but don't assume you are completely safe in a crosswalk. Don't cross at mid-block because "jaywalking" is dangerous and against the law. At Intersections, Look for the Signs or Signals - They will help to cross safely. Use the push-buttons for crossing protection at signalized intersections that have pedestrian indications. The lighted "Walk" and "Don't Walk" signals are meant for the pedestrian. If the "Don't Walk" light is blinking while you are in the street, continue quickly and carefully. If there are no walk signals, watch the traffic signals. When there are only STOP or YIELD signs, look in all directions and cross when traffic has cleared. Be Careful in Parking Lots - Pedestrians are supposed to have the right of way but many drivers don't wait for pedestrians. Parking lots can be as dangerous as streets. On streets, the direction of cars is usually known but in parking lots, cars might be moving in all directions, including backwards. Avoid Dangerous Moves - Any movement a pedestrian makes that drivers aren't expecting, could be dangerous. When leaving a school bus, wait a second before crossing. Drivers don't always stop for unloading school buses; so stop, look both ways and then cross. Don't step into traffic from between parked cars since this is a sure way of surprising drivers. Keep Your View of Traffic Clear at All Times - A pedestrian needs to be able to see cars around him. Don't block your view with packages, umbrellas or other objects. After Dark, Wear Light Colored or White Clothes - Drivers can see you better if you wear light colored or white clothes. Carry a lighted flashlight and swing it back and forth to improve your chances of being seen by drivers. In spite of the relatively small percentage of pedestrian travel during darkness, more than one-third of pedestrian crashes occur during dark conditions. Following all these tips while you are a pedestrian will greatly improve your chances of safely walking your estimated lifetime average of 75,000 miles.
FDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Focused Initiative
WHAT ARE THE DRIVERS' RESPONSIBILITIES WHEN A TRAFFIC CRASH OCCURS?
- Stop. If you are in a crash while driving, you must stop. If anyone is hurt, you must get help.
- Report the crash. If the crash causes injury, death, or property damage of $100.00 or more, it must be reported. Call the local police or the Florida Highway Patrol. If the crash involves a charge of driving while impaired (DWI), results in death or injury, or involves a vehicle rendered inoperative, an officer will fill out a report. If no report is written by an officer, you must report the crash to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles within 5 days. The officer will provide you with a crash form, or you may use the form in the back of the Florida Drivers Handbook. Keep a copy of the form for your records.
- Move your car if it is blocking traffic. If your car is blocking the flow of traffic, you must move it. If you cannot move it yourself, you must get help or call a tow truck. This is true anytime your vehicle is blocking the flow of traffic, whether it has been involved in a crash or not.
- Appear in court. If you are involved in a crash, you will probably have to go to court. The officer who comes to the scene of the crash will file charges against any driver who broke a traffic law. Anyone who is charged will have a chance to explain to the court what happened. The court will then decide what the penalty will be. Anyone who is not charged with breaking a law will usually have to come to court as a witness. A driver leaving the scene of a crash involving death or personal injury will have his or her license revoked. The driver can also receive a jail sentence. If while driving, you hit a vehicle with no one in it or if you damage any object that belongs to someone else, you must tell the owner. Give the owner your name and address in person or in a note attached to the object that was hit.
WHAT IS GIS?
The term "GIS" is used to refer to Geographic Information System. The computerized GIS is used to automate everything from simple mapping functions to complex land use analysis, site selection and network modeling. GIS has created a new dimension in map making which allows an enhanced ability to manage our cities, natural resources, parcels of land and utility systems. Using GIS, public officials can quickly evaluate the impact of proposed facilities. For example, public works engineers can assess the impact of a pollution spill on all areas along a water distribution path and fire and police departments can dispatch vehicles based on a detailed analysis of the quickest path between two points. Tasks that once took months can now be accomplished in a few minutes, using GIS. Through GIS, geographic information from maps, aerial photographs and batches of descriptive records are fed into computers as overlays representing property parcels, political and man-made boundaries, utility distribution networks, natural land base features, land use patterns, demographic data, etc. This information is tied to these graphic pictures by the numerous records that describe them. For example, the dimensions and ownership data associated with each land parcel, or the height, diameter, material, number and other information associated with a utility pole. An urban planner could quickly find all industrially zoned land that meets minimum acreage criteria and is within 100 yards of a major transportation feeder. GIS provides the means to point to a parcel on a display screen and have instant access to all publicly available information about that address. A technology similar to GIS, is called AM/FM which is an acronym for Automated Mapping/Facilities Management. GIS is used within a planning, natural resources and land records management environment AM/FM is used more often by the utility environment.
The AM/FM stems from an evolution of computer-aided drafting technology. The basic hardware components of a GIS include:
Central Processing Unit (CPU) is where the information processing tasks are performed and software commands executed. Disk Drives are the storage medium for the GIS database. Tape drives are the medium for loading data from other systems, backing up and storing GIS data. Output Devices include printers, plotters and copiers.
Digitizing Device is the mechanism for electronically tracing manually produced maps to produce a digital version of the information. Workstation includes a graphics display screen and a keyboard used for data input, editing and manipulation.
City of Cape Coral GIS
WHAT ARE TRAFFIC VOLUME COUNTS AND WHAT ARE THEY USED FOR?
Traffic volume counts are basic to all phases of highway development and operation. No other single reference tells an engineer as much about a road as the number of vehicles which use it. Traffic volumes are needed for street and highway project development, financing considerations, project cost-benefit comparisons, project priority determinations, analyzing, monitoring and controlling traffic movement on roadways, traffic accident statistics, research purposes, street and highway maintenance, public information, highway legislation and other public and private purposes.
Traffic volumes vary from place to place, even along the same highway or roadway segment. Traffic volumes also vary from hour to hour, day to day, month to month and year to year. Both location and time elements must be properly identified and related to one another to develop accurate traffic volume data.
Traffic counts are the major source of traffic data. Traffic counts are very specific in that they only apply to one location and to the time period for which they have been obtained. Some of the major types of traffic counts in general use by engineers are annual counts, peak hour counts, turning movement counts and classification counts. Annual counts refer to traffic volume counts that are taken over a period of days throughout the year and converted to a single number known to engineers as Average Annual Daily Traffic (AADT). This number is reasonably close to the traffic volume that one could expect to see on any given day of the year.
These volume counts are used for a number of engineering, economic and public purposes:
- As a yardstick for evaluating present highway problems
- As a criterion for safety evaluation
- As a basis for planning and design estimates
- As a basis for establishing need and priorities
- As a reference for public information purposes
- As a reference for other traffic volume computations
- Peak hour counts are traffic volume counts taken during the time period of the day most likely to produce the highest volumes during any particular 24-hour period. For instance, the most common peak hour counts of interest to engineers are those that occur in the morning and afternoon. These usually occur around the times that most people are traveling to and from work; however, there are times when the peaks occur at less obvious times. These peaks may be due to a large employer having a staggered starting or quitting time, a school or college, or some other out-of-the-ordinary occurrence. The traffic engineer needs to have this information to properly evaluate the impact of this traffic pattern on the roadway network.
Among the uses for this type of volume count are:
- As a capacity consideration
- For traffic signal system operations
- As an aid to determining appropriate use of traffic control devices
- Turning movement counts are taken at intersections to determine the actual movement of traffic through the intersection. Traffic engineers and others have a number of uses for these counts:
- For roadway planning and alignment studies
- For intersection design
- For traffic signal system design
- For evaluating traffic volume impacts
- Classification counts are just a little different from simple traffic volume counts. In addition to determining the numbers of vehicles passing a given point on the roadway, classification counts also separate the traffic stream into its vehicle-type components and/or speed components; that is, how many passenger cars, how many trucks, how many vehicles with trailers, etc., and the variations in speed of the traffic stream.
This data is very important to engineers for a variety of reasons:
- As a means of determining percentages of trucks, buses, etc. with respect to the overall traffic stream
- For neighborhood traffic calming studies with respect to "cut-through" traffic
- As an aid in speed studies
- For determining the appropriate use of traffic control devices
The foregoing discussion of traffic volume counts is an introduction to what this data is and why it is important to engineers, planners and the public. Traffic volume count data is one of the basic resources in determining the most efficient use of our limited tax revenues for streets and highways and supporting project selection decisions.