The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has recently embarked on a groundbreaking mission with its “Target Zero” initiative. This statewide program aims to eliminate serious transportation-related injuries and deaths, bringing the toll to an unprecedented ZERO. Mark Manwell, Vice President of Traffic at ETM, delves into the key aspects of this program and how our firm is helping the FDOT meet its goals.
What is Target Zero?
“Target Zero” is the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT’s) initiative to eliminate transportation-related fatalities and injuries. FDOT’s program is proactively “taking evolutionary steps to improve how Florida connects, interacts, plans, designs, operates, and maintains its transportation system.” Target Zero is focused “on identifying behaviors that contribute to crashes and understanding why those behaviors are occurring, identifying who the specific target audience is, and creating impactful messages to influence safe driving.”
According to the FDOT, “Target Zero is a data-driven, multi-faceted behavior change initiative that was created, in part, from direct conversations with those drivers that are most involved in crashes that resulted in serious injuries and fatalities. Target Zero focuses on influencing change in these specific behaviors before they occur.”
Target Zero’s ambitious goal highlights the FDOT’s commitment to safeguarding the lives and well-being of Florida’s 22 million residents, as well as the 137 million people who visit Florida each year (Census; VisitFlorida).
Why is Target Zero Needed?
In 2022, there were nearly 400,000 crashes in Florida, leading to 3,600 fatalities and more than 252,000 injuries. Of these, approximately 5,250 were alcohol-only-related crashes, which resulted in more than 400 fatalities. In addition, there were about 600 drug-impaired-driving crashes and 360 alcohol-and-drug-impaired-driving crashes. These crashes resulted in almost 700 fatalities.
According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, impaired driving was responsible for more than 1,100 fatalities, or 31.2% of the total crash-related fatalities in Florida.
How ETM is Helping
Since 2008, ETM has been providing professional consulting services to FDOT through continuing contracts (signal retiming, traffic-operation studies, and safety studies). For the past 15 years, ETM’s goal has been to assist the Department by reducing fatalities and serious injuries in the 11 emphasis areas of the Strategic Highway Safety Plan. These contracts require multi-modal solutions that optimize safety and mobility for all users. For example, the recommendations included in each safety study must support Target Zero’s objective of eliminating all fatal and incapacitating crashes.
Similarly, ETM is currently supporting FDOT’s District Five Safety Office in achieving Target Zero, by focusing on a “Safety First” approach to address contributing factors that lead to lane-departure crashes, intersection-related crashes, bicycle/pedestrian crashes, and more. Utilizing a Safe Systems Design Approach and the Safety Needs Dashboard, ETM reviews and incorporates speed management techniques to encourage established Target Speeds, prepares designs for human mistakes/limitations, and enhances pedestrian and bicycle facilities by addressing the needs of vulnerable users.
About the Florida Department of Transportation
FDOT’s “continuing mission is to provide a safe transportation system that ensures the mobility of people and goods, enhances economic prosperity, and preserves the quality of our environment and communities. [The FDOT] is committed to building a transportation system that not only fits the current needs of Florida’s residents and visitors but also enhances mobility throughout the state to accommodate its consistent and rapid growth.”
About Mark Manwell, PE
Mark is a Vice President and Shareholder at ETM. He has nearly 35 years of traffic operations and design experience, with an extensive background in analyzing unique situations and producing reasonable and cost-effective solutions. In his role at ETM, he specializes in traffic operations analyses, traffic signal designs, signal timing, traffic modeling/simulations, corridor/sub-area traffic studies, and cost/benefit analyses.
About England-Thims & Miller, Inc.
Founded in 1977, ETM is a Florida-based civil engineering consulting firm, specializing in Transportation Planning/Design, Construction Engineering & Inspection (CEI), Land Development, Program Management, Geospatial Technologies, and Surveying. ETM provides services to both public and private sector clients throughout North and Central Florida.