Congratulations to the Miami-Dade Transportation Planning Organization (TPO), whose work on a series of road safety audits was recognized with an Award of Merit from APA Florida in the Innovation for Planning for All Ages category. This award recognizes projects, programs and campaigns that emphasize innovative planning in meeting the needs of the 50+ population and demonstrate how communities can become more age-friendly.
The older adult population (defined as 65 years or age and older) in Florida is increasing, and areas where there are high concentrations of older adult citizens need attention from transportation professionals. A 2017 study completed by the Miami-Dade TPO revealed that 11 percent of all crashes in the county between 2008-2014 occurred within a quarter mile of older adult living centers.
As part of its Aging Road Users Strategic Safety Plan, the TPO conducted Road Safety Audits (RSAs) at priority locations and identified opportunities for safety improvements consistent with the procedures outlined in the Federal Highway Administration RSA guidelines.
“With our communities changing and growing older, it is important to ensure that we are planning for, and adapting to, changing needs, especially when it comes to transportation,” said Jacques Defrant, Traffic Operations Engineer with FDOT. “Transportation and road safety play a key role in ensuring people have access to the things they want and need to age in place.”
“Transportation and road safety play a key role in ensuring people have access to the things they want and need to age in place.”- Jacques Defrant, FDOT Traffic Operations Engineer
The cornerstone of this project was community engagement that included workshops at assisted living facilities located in disadvantaged areas, through which the team learned the day-to-day experiences of residents. This type of engagement provided key information that would not have surfaced through just data collection and field observations.
The completed analysis recommended nearly 140 projects including maintenance projects, signage improvements, pavement markings, and signalized crossing evaluations. Some solutions were identified that could be implemented quickly as part of a systemic safety approach, while others will require further analysis and allocated funding to advance. Once implemented, these projects will improve safety conditions for residents of the assisted living facilities, as well as other members of the community who share the roads and utilize area transit stops.