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John Hennessy III,

Reducing Crashes on Louisiana Roads

Posted by Content Coordinator on Monday, November 11th, 2013



Approximately 700 people lose their lives and 50,000 are injured each year in traffic crashes on Louisiana’s roadways. Traffic crashes cost the citizens of Louisiana $6.03 billion dollars each year, which accounts for about 4.5% of personal income and $2,104 for every licensed driver in Louisiana. In 2006 Louisiana traffic fatality rate (fatalities per 100 million VMT) was 2.2, while the national average was 1.41; the lowest rate was 0.78, in Massachusetts. Although Louisiana has made great strides in reducing the number of crashes, particularly fatal crashes, in recent years, our fatal crash rate of 1.56 is still higher than the national average of 1.10, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1   Highway fatality rate by year [5]

To improve highway safety, DOTD has developed a Louisiana Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) aimed at reducing fatal and severe injury crashes on Louisiana roadways. The goal of Louisiana SHSP is to reach Destination Zero Deaths on Louisiana roadways, which calls to cut the fatalities by half by 2030, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2 Goal of Louisiana Strategic Highway Safety plan [7]

To reach such a hefty goal, a list of actions is proposed, aiming to reduce crashes and crash severities in all 4E aspects (engineering, education, enforcement, and emergency service). Developing Louisiana crash reduction factors is one task proposed by the SHSP. A crash reduction factor is a multiplicative factor used to compute the expected number of crashes after implementing a given crash countermeasure at a specific site. Crash reduction factors (CRF) have been used to identify and prioritize the most effective safety improvement measures. The estimated economic benefits depend on the expected crash reductions from each countermeasure. Many states use CRF as a tool to evaluate the cost-benefit relationships between various roadway improvements and their effectiveness in reducing crashes and/or reducing the severity of those crashes. DOTD is currently using CRFs developed by FHWA, titled “Desktop Reference for Crash Reduction Factors” dated September 2007 .

As has been long recognized, the effectiveness of a crash countermeasure may vary from state to state because of the differences in road-user behavior and travel environment, as well as the quality and sources of research used to determine CRF. Not all CRF listed in the FHWA desktop references are clearly related to particular situations in Louisiana. There is a need to compile and present crash countermeasures in a way that would make it easier for DOTD engineers and planners to apply CRF for a given situation.

Download full version (PDF): Developing Louisiana Crash Reduction Factors

About the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development
LA DOTD exists to serve the transportation and water resources needs of the public. We are committed to teamwork, quality, integrity, professionalism, innovation and excellence in serving our customers.

About the Louisiana Transportation Research Center
Since its creation by the legislature in 1986, the Louisiana Transportation Research Center (LTRC) has grown to national prominence through its efforts to improve transportation systems in Louisiana. The center conducts short-term and long-term research and provides technology assistance, engineering training and continuing education, technology transfer, and problem-solving services to DOTD and others in the transportation community. 


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