Six Crosswalk Systems Improve Safety at University of North Florida
Six inpavement lighting systems were installed at major student crossings on campus. In addition, speed humps and raised tables were included as part of a scheduled repaving project. These improvements helped reduce speeds and increase pedestrian safety.
Traffic Safety Concerns
As part of its ongoing campus traffic safety program, the University of North Florida (UNF), located in Jacksonville, recently decided to improve safety at their student crossings. Zak Ovadia, Director for Campus Planning, Design & Construction, shares the motivation behind their decision, "Enrollment was on the rise. We were seeing both an increase in the number of students, and an increase in the amount of traffic on campus. Six non-signalized, mid-block crossings were targeted for the traffic safety enhancements."
As part of a comprehensive traffic safety improvement solution, inpavement warning lights combined with above ground flashing LED signs were used. The decision to use inpavement warning lights was made by Zak Ovadia. Zak comments, "I've seen these systems installed at the University of Western Florida in Pensacola, at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH, and at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. After observing their performance, I knew they would be effective at improving traffic safety at UNF." After due deliberation, Traffic Safety Corp's (TSC) in-pavement warning light system was chosen because of its reputation for effectiveness and reliability.
Installation Work Begins
The project required installing six in-pavement warning light systems, a total of fifty fixtures, plus four sets of flashing LED warning signs. Doug Ribbeck, Owner of DBR Installations Inc., was in charge of getting the equipment operational. He describes the installation experience, "We had never done a TSC installation before, but we were able to complete the installations without difficulty. The documentation from TSC was great. It was comprehensive and easy to understand." Cary Hudkins of Transportation Control Systems, distributor for TSC in Florida, was on site and provided technical assistance. Cary comments, "Following the steps outlined in the installation manual, the installers were able to quickly install the system." Mr. Ribbeck was pleased with the results of their work. "Once we were finished with the first installation, we took a step a back and appreciated how well the system operated. As installers, we were pleased with the ease of the installation, and on how well the system operates."
Systems Operating Effectively
As the systems were installed, installers began noticing changes in driver behavior. Doug Ribbeck describes his observations, "The changes in drivers' behavior were amazing. Drivers began responding to the new systems by slowing down and driving more slowly as they approached the crosswalks." John Hale, Director of Physical Facilities at UNF, comments on the crosswalk systems, "Our crosswalk warning light systems are very reliable and designed to flash continuously. The warning they provide to drivers while they approach the crossings is undeniable. Drivers are slowing down. There's a quantifiable change in their behavior. The warning light systems and the raised roadway [speed humps and raised tables] have cut driver speed in half, from 30 mph to about 15 mph."
Positive Impact on Safety
Zak Ovadia was very pleased with the results, "Personally, I loved it. It's a successful project because it has improved traffic safety on campus." John Hale comments, "The response has been very positive, we've received calls from parents and others asking what they are, asking for more info so they can get them installed in other locations. The lights really help the students by alerting drivers that they are approaching a crossing that may be in use, and to slow down and be prepared to stop. No other area in the city has anything as effective. We're happy knowing that we're doing everything possible to keep our students safe."