MPO must consider ways to collect accident data

By LARRY C. BOWERS Staff Writer
Posted 9/25/17

Josh Suddath, manager of the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s Long Range Planning Division, paid a visit to the local Municipal Planning Organization last week.

A graduate of East …

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MPO must consider ways to collect accident data

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Josh Suddath, manager of the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s Long Range Planning Division, paid a visit to the local Municipal Planning Organization last week.

A graduate of East Tennessee State University with a master’s degree in Planning and Development, Suddath was in Cleveland to explained another unfunded federal mandate being handed down from Washington, D.C.

This federal legislation is targeting highway safety and safety performance measures. He said the national goal of this legislation is to reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads across the state and nation.

“The objective for the state is to invest resources in collecting data and making progress toward improvement,” he said. “It requires state departments of transportation to access fatalities and serious injuries, and to compile a rate for these statistics. Local agencies are required to compile nonmotorized fatalities and serious injuries.”

Suddath said these statistics will determine if states are making significant progress (improvement).

“If not, here are consequences,” Suddath added.

The TDOT official said key factors of obtaining these statistics are behavior, nonmotorized fatalities (cycling/biking), population and travel growth, technology, funding resources and the economy.

He said there are requirements for Municipal Planning Organizations and MPO Coordinators.

“You can support standards established by the state, or you can take a hybrid approach (establishing your own standards),” he said.

“You have to do this, since it’s directed by the federal government,” Suddath continued. “This is a long-range plan, and Transportation Improvement Programs (TIPs) are used to monitor progress.”

“My office is committed to going around the state and talking to MPO boards, or technology committees, concerning the safety measures,” said Suddath. “You guys have to make a decision on what standards you’re going to make by Feb. 1, 2018. This is a federal directive.”

The MPO board, and MPO Coordinator Greg Thomas, will now consider the adoption of specific standards for these safety measures.

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