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 representatives, 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 Wednesday of the month
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


Regional Transportation Safety Plans

Louisiana's Strategic Highway Safety Plan is a data-driven approach intended to reduce by half transportation-related fatalities and serious injuries 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 four emphasis areas: impaired driving, young drivers, occupant protection, and infrastructure and operations. The New Orleans region has also developed a Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Plan based on higher than average numbers of fatalities and serious injuries. The most recent plans are available for download through the links below:

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 will be used to determine locations for Road Safety Audits, as well as to identify physical characteristics of roadway design that lead to higher crash rates so proactive, low-cost improvements 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.

Reports, Publications and Presentations

Occupant Protection

This 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.

Reports, Publications and Presentations

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. An emphasis area with goals to reduce fatalities and injuries among this age group was established in both of RPC’s regions, with strategies that 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 are researching potential alternatives that may include shuttles to and from popular locales or ride share programs.

Reports, Publications and Presentations

Bicycles and Pedestrians

Bicyclists and pedestrians are overrepresented in the New Orleans region in terms of fatality and serious injury rates. For this reason, the New Orleans Regional Transportation Safety Coalition has adopted a strategic plan to focus on these vulnerable users. RPC employees were leaders in drafting the Bicycle and Pedestrian 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 pedestrian and bicycle 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, bicycle 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.

Reports, Publications and Presentations

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. While data indicate that progress has been made in recent years in reducing impaired driving, coalition coordinators are researching innovative national and international methods to further reduce impaired driving incidents and reach the goal of a 50% reduction by 2030.

Reports, Publications and Presentations


RPC's role

RPC employees work as coordinators of the North Shore and New Orleans Regional Transportation Safety coalitions. In that role, they 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. The New Orleans Regional Traffic Safety Coalition and the North Shore Regional Safety Coalition encompass the eight parishes of Southeast Louisiana: all six of RPC's member parishes as well as Washington and St. Helena, both in the North Shore region.:

Outreach

Coalitions participate in regular outreach efforts, including organizing safety awareness events, organizing joint press conferences, publicizing safe driving with Saved by the Belt awards, and supporting Sudden Impact (teen driving program that educates students on safe driving skills at their high schools) and national enforcement campaigns like "Click It or Ticket" and "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over." Coordinators also produce quarterly newsletters highlighting member events and achievements, news and reports relevant to transportation safety, and upcoming events and campaigns, in order to keep current members updated and engaged. View our interactive calendar of events.

Intelligent Transportation System

Emilie Bahr, left, a past coordinator of the New Orleans Regional Transportation Safety coalition, shares information about bicycle and pedestrian safety at a Safety Summit hosted by the New Orleans coalition at Zephyr Field in July.

Highway Safety Improvement Program

Regional coalitions and the SHSP are also important for funding purposes. Projects hoping to receive Highway Safety funding must be shown to be in support of one or more strategies in the Safety Action Plan, and must be approved by the local coalition before moving on to the state. DOTD and the regional coalitions are in the process of developing procedures applicants must follow in order to complete this first step toward receiving funding. Coalition coordinators from each region in the state and statewide emphasis area leaders are also members of the Implementation Team, the group that is responsible for final approval.


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.
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Safety documents

New OrleansTraffic Safety Coalition Newsletters

North Shore Traffic Safety Coalition Newsletters


Monthly Meeting Presentations

Monthly Meeting Notes
 

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