New Orleans awarded $400K grant to improve transportation safety policies

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Muni light rail cars rest dormant at a Geneva Ave. storage and maintenance facility on Monday, March 30, 2020, in San Francisco. On Monday, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) indefinitely suspended all light rail service due to plummeting readership caused by coronavirus shelter-in-place orders. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

NEW ORLEANS – The City of New Orleans, in partnership with the Regional Transit Authority, University of New Orleans Transportation Institute, and Toole Design Group, has received a $400,000 grant award from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT Safety Data Initiative.

The Safety Data Initiative helps communities devise policies to reduce roadway fatalities and advances USDOT’s efforts to develop, refine and deploy safety tools that address specific roadway safety problems. 

“This is an exciting opportunity for New Orleans to improve the safety of our roadways for our residents while also being a national leader in utilizing data-driven approaches to safety,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “Traffic safety is one of the core goals of my Administration’s Moving New Orleans Transportation Action Plan, and this grant helps deliver on that goal through data-driven safety investments.” 

“As the RTA works to build a world-class multi-modal transit system, this grant award is a great step in delivering the critical infrastructure improvements that will minimize risk to pedestrians, bicyclists, motorist and transit operators,” said Alex Wiggins, RTA CEO. “Mayor Cantrell’s commitment to safety enhancements not only improves transit connections for riders, it also moves the needle on developing a culture of safety for pedestrians, residents, and transit system riders in New Orleans.” 

“UNO Transportation Institute (UNOTI) has long supported local and statewide efforts to improve transportation safety through data collection, research, and analysis, with a particular focus on vulnerable road users,” said Bethany Stich, Director, UNOTI. “We’re thrilled to collaborate with the City, RTA, and the research team to take these efforts to the next level by developing analytic tools that can be applied locally and nationally in support of safer streets for all.” 

“Toole Design is honored to be part of the outstanding team assembled to develop this critical traffic safety tool, and so grateful to the City of New Orleans and USDOT for having the foresight to invest in this timely and necessary resource,” said Andy Clarke, Director of Strategy, Toole Design.

New Orleans was one of eight proposals selected for funding from across the country.

The New Orleans team will develop a tool to aid local and regional agencies in the development of a High Injury Network and integrate the results with the existing USDOT Pedestrian Fatality Risk Map model. By layering historic crash data with predicted risk, this approach will provide a model for a more focused approach to identify factors impacting road safety and prioritize safety improvements. This work will complement efforts underway by the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and the Regional Planning Commission to develop a Local Road Safety Plan

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