The New Orleans and North Shore Regional Transportation Safety Coalitions

The New Orleans and North Shore Regional Transportation Safety coalitions are two of nine similar bodies across the state formed to implement and sustain Louisiana's Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) by bridging gaps between the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, local governments, law enforcement, public health organizations, education leaders, civic organizations, and other safety stakeholders working in Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington parishes

New Orleans Regional Traffic Safety Coalition

3rd Thursday of every other month

(Jan, Mar, May July, Sept, Nov.)
Regional Transportation Management Center
10 Veterans Boulevard, New Orleans
11:30 am

North Shore Regional TrafficSafety Coalition

1st Thursday of the month
Mandeville Trailhead
675 Lafitte Street, Mandeville
11:30 am



Louisiana's Strategic Highway Safety Plan is a data-driven approach intended to reduce transportation-related fatalities and serious injuries 50% by 2030. The state's traffic fatality and injury rate is higher than the national average, and the New Orleans region unfortunately reflects some of the highest in the state. Multidisciplinary regional coalitions working on the North and South shores have developed local strategic highway safety plans that identify strategies in engineering, education, enforcement and emergency services targeted toward five emphasis areas: distracted driving, impaired driving, infrastructure and operations, occupant protection, and young drivers. The New Orleans region has also developed a Walking and Bicycling Action Plan based on higher than average numbers of fatalities and serious injuries. The Coalition Coordinators are tasked with helping to implement, sustain and update SHSP strategies, evaluate their effectiveness and communicate progress to the state and other regional coalitions and entities.

Meetings

The New Orleans Regional Transportation Safety Coalition meets every other month (January, March, May, July, September, November) on the third Thursday from 10:30am-12:00pm. The individual emphasis area teams meet as needed, plus in June to develop priority areas for the fiscal year starting July 1.

The Northshore Regional Transportation Safety Full Coalition meets quarterly (January, April, July, October) on the first Thursday of the month from 10:00-11:15 am. Emphasis areas meet quarterly in the months between the full coalition meetings on the first Thursday of the month from 9:30-11:45 am. Young Drivers, Impaired Driving and Distracted Driving meet in February, May, August, and November; and Infrastructure and Operations and Occupant Protection meet in March, June, September, and December.

Meeting minutes from all coalition and emphasis area meetings are archived here

Emphasis Areas

Distracted Driving

The newest statewide emphasis area, distracted driving, is a growing issue on Louisiana roadways. While distracted driving is often associated with the use of cell phones, many other distractions can take a person's attention from the road, including: eating, reaching for objects, and passengers. Louisiana defines distracted driving as: a distracted or inattentive driver is one who is actively engaged in any activity that diverts his/her attention away from the task of driving. The distraction could be manual, visual, or cognitive and be inside or outside the vehicle.

Infrastructure and Operations

Regional coordinators work with DOTD and the Louisiana Transportation Research Center to identify road segments with high rates of roadway departure and intersection crashes resulting in fatal or serious injuries. This information informs locations for Road Safety Audits, as well as identifying physical characteristics of roadway design that lead to higher crash rates so proactive, low-cost countermeasures can be implemented system-wide. Infrastructure improvements are vital to reduce crashes in other emphasis areas as well: for example, many roadway departure incidents also involve impaired and distracted driving or young drivers, and the results are exponentially worse if vehicle occupants aren't properly restrained.

Impaired Driving

Louisiana's rates of alcohol- and drug-related fatalities have been higher than the national average and the same holds true for both the New Orleans and North Shore regions. Coalitions are attempting to address this through coordinating increased and strategic enforcement, as well as training law enforcement; education and marketing directed toward at-risk populations; and finding and promoting alternatives to driving while impaired. This last piece is a challenge, particularly in rural areas where there isn't always viable public transit or taxi service. Coordinators are presently researching how other similar communities have provided alternative transportation options, including the possibility of a ride-sharing service, and have recruited representatives from the local, demand-response transit agency and other stakeholders to participate in coalition meetings and offer their insights

Occupant Protection

This emphasis area includes seatbelt use, proper child restraint, and helmet use on motorcycles and bicycles. The coalitions' strategies to encourage proper usage of this equipment have mostly been targeted toward increased enforcement and education. Data show that young males have the highest risk of not protecting themselves in vehicles, so both regional and statewide coalitions intend to target marketing toward this population, as well as incorporate ways to incentivize seatbelt use. New Orleans and North Shore coalition members also regularly sponsor proper child restraint education and car seat giveaways.

Walking and Bicycling

People walking and bicycling are overrepresented in the New Orleans region in fatal and serious injury rates, leading the New Orleans Coalition to adopt the regional Walking and Bicycling Emphasis Area. RPC employees were leaders in drafting the Walking and Bicycling Action Plan and play major roles in implementation beyond the tasks of the coalition coordinators. Strategies include improving infrastructure; marketing campaigns to educate all users on walking and bicycling laws; improving crash data reporting; offering design and education workshops; and utilizing Complete Streets approaches to design, among many others. While this is not an emphasis area on the North Shore, walking and bicycling infrastructure and master plans are being quickly developed and expanded, and the number of people utilizing alternative modes of transportation is expected to grow, particularly in St. Tammany Parish. Coalition leaders intend to work with local governments, advocates, and law enforcement from the beginning to ensure the relationships and communication necessary to create a safe, multi-modal system.

Young Drivers

Teen and young adult drivers have a higher risk than other age groups of being involved in serious crashes across the United States, and that is unfortunately no different in Southeast Louisiana. This emphasis seeks to bridge gaps between school boards, universities, local governments, trauma center educators, and law enforcement. Police officers and trauma center educators give presentations and demonstrations to high school students and their parents that encourage engaged, safe and responsible driving. Crashes involving university students often also involve drug and/or alcohol impairment, so the coalitions engage with more than a dozen local universities around potential alternatives such as shuttles to and from popular locales or ride share programs.

Performance Measures

Upon finalization of the 2017 crash data (expected in September 2018), updated performance measures will be provided based on the measures included in the Strategic Highway Safety Plan's 2017 Update.

For more information, contact Dan Jatres at djatres@norpc.org or Nelson Hollings at nhollings@norpc.org.

Useful web resources


Destination Zero Deaths www.destinationzerodeaths.com. Information on statewide traffic safety efforts.

Highway Safety Research Group hsrg.lsu.edu/. Information on traffic-related fatalities and causes.

Louisiana Highway Safety Commission www.lahighwaysafety.org.

University Community Injury Prevention Program www.umcno.org/injuryprevention. Information on Child Safety Seat Resources, and Sudden Impact.

Meeting Minutes

New Orleans Regional Transportation Safety Coalition Meeting Minutes.

Northshore Regional Transportation Safety Coalition Meeting Minutes.

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