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Engineering - Traffic Division

The Traffic Division of the Engineering Department is responsible for the engineering, design, installation, and maintenance of all traffic control devices, including signals, signage, and lane markings. Speed limits are also established by this group, which conducts speed studies in some cases to determine if a speed limit should be changed. Various traffic studies are performed in the planning of future roadway projects utilizing data that is collected and maintained by the Department, including traffic counts and accident data.

Traffic Resources and Information

Below you will find a wealth of safety resources and helpful information, including brochures, traffic counts, speed limit information, and links to outside web sites with essential and oft-requested information. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Traffic Division at 513-785-4109 or email us at info@bceo.org.

RECORD LOW ROADWAY FATALITIES

Many states reported record low roadway fatality numbers in 2013. Read the full report here.

Toward Zero Deaths - National Strategy on Highway Safety

TRAIN THE TRAINERS

Reckless and distracted driving is the number one killer of teens in America. Impact Teen Drivers is sponsoring a Train-the-Trainers workshop for how to effectively communicate the importance of safe driving to teenage drivers.

Train-the-Trainers Workshop - Details including schedules and how to sign up.

RURAL DRIVING

Nearly 70 percent
of Ohio's crash fatalities occur in rural areas dispelling the myth that the back roads are safer than high-speed interstates or congested city streets.

Rural Driving Safety - Eye-opening tip sheet from the Ohio Department of Safety on safe driving in remote areas.

WATCH OUT FOR DEER

Although motor vehicle-deer collisions can happen year-round, November is the month with the highest risk, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Here are some tips from ODOT to help avoid collisions with deer:

See the Signs: Deer-crossing signs are posted in high-risk areas. Drive with extreme caution, especially in the posted areas.

Deer Don’t Roam Alone: deer often run together. If you see one deer near or crossing the road, expect that others will follow.

Danger from Dusk to Dawn: watch for deer especially at dawn and after sunset. About 20 percent of these crashes occur in early morning, while more than half occur between 5 p.m. and midnight.

Safety Begins Behind the Wheel: always wear safety belts, avoid distractions and drive at safe, sensible speeds for road conditions.

If a vehicle strikes a deer, motorists should report the crash by calling local law enforcement, the sheriff’s department, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, or the Ohio Department of Natural Resources – even if there is no damage to the motorist’s vehicle.

NATIONAL CHILD PASSENGER SAFETY


CAR SEAT RECOMMENDATIONS

From our partners with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration comes the latest Car Seat recommendations:

NHTSA has released a new guideline on child restraints categorizing by age rather than by type of child seats in order to keep pace with the latest scientific and medical research and the development of new child restraint technologies. Under the new guidelines, NHTSA is advising parents and caregivers to keep children in each restraint type, including rear-facing, forward-facing and booster seats, for as long as possible before moving them up to the next type of seat.

Please go to the NHTSA website for a copy of the complete guidelines.

New car seat recommendations for children
Growth chart with car seat recommendations

OHIO'S CHILD BOOSTER SEAT LAW CHANGES

Ohio's Child Passenger Safety Law was modified effective October 7, 2009. Get the details here

INTERNATIONAL WALK TO SCHOOL MONTH

Each October is International Walk To School Month, sponsored by the National Center for Safe Routes to School (SRTS). During 2013, the BCEO utilized SRTS funds to build new sidewalk in conjunction with the Lakota School District along Kyles Station Road for Cherokee Elementary School and along Walnut Creek Drive for Heritage Elementary School.

iWalk - Visit the I Walk to School web site for more info

NATIONAL WORK ZONE AWARENESS

The summer months bring lots of road construction in Butler County and across the nation. This is a perfect time to brush up on Work Zone Awareness.

As the number of workers on the road rises, the risk of crashes and fatalities also increases. 80-85 percent of victims in work zone crashes are passengers and drivers and 10-15 percent are workers.

We all must work together to ensure highway crews and drivers on the road get home safely. Sign our pledge to slow down when you see orange. Even one death is too many.

Take the Traffic Safety Coalition Work Zone Safety Pledge:

SEE ORANGE, SLOW DOWN

When I approach a work zone I pledge to:
Slow down
Keep a safe distance between me and the car ahead
Pay attention to signs an obey road crew flaggers
Stay alert and expect the unexpected
Never use a cell phone
Be patient

Here are the facts:

87,606 crashes occur in work zones. That's 240 crashes each day.
514 people are killed in work zones. That's one person killed every 15 hours.
37,476 people are injured in work zones. That's one injury every 14 minutes.

Take the pledge as a reminder to be alert and expect the unexpected in work zones.

DISTRACTED DRIVING AWARENESS

Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person's attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. These types of distractions include:

Texting
Using a cell phone or smartphone
Eating and drinking
Talking to passengers
Grooming
Reading, including maps
Using a navigation system
Watching a video
Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player

Research on distracted driving reveals some surprising facts: almost 20 percent of injury crashes in 2010 were reported as distracted-affected crashes. (NHTSA)

In 2011, 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver compared to 3,267 in 2010. An additional 387,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver, compared to 416,000 in 2010.

The age group with the greatest proportion of distracted drivers was the under-20 age group - 11 percent of all drivers younger than 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported to have been distracted while driving. (NHTSA)

Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)

Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted. (Source: Virginia Tech Transportation Institution)

Using a cell phone while driving, whether it’s hand-held or hands-free, delays a driver's reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. (Source: University of Utah)

Please check out the National Highway Traffic web site on Distracted Driving at: www.distraction.gov.

Additional resources and links:

Distraction.gov - U.S. Department of Transportation launches web site to address the growing problem of distracted driving.
Distracted driving brochure - Six steps to prevent distracted driving for your teen.
Distracted driving tip sheet - Excellent resource from the Ohio Department of Transportation.
Distracted driving flyer - Strong visual impact. Can be printed out and placed on the fridge as a reminder to your teen.
Hazards of texting while driving - Public Service Announcement video.
DistractedDrivingHelp.com - A good source for the latest information on distracted driving.
Stay Alive! don't TXT & drive - This flyer clarifies Ohio's new texting law.
Understanding the distracted brain - Interesting article from the National Safety Council.

TRAFFIC ENGINEERING WORKSHOP

The 33rd series of the Traffic Engineering Workshop took place on June 5, 2013. The Workshop is presented as a public service for people involved in traffic and transportation activities in their communities. Presentations for this year's workshop are available for download:

Keynote I-75 update - Northern Ky to Montgomery County
Crash Data Safety Study - ODOT Safety Program overview
Risk Management - When working with public infrastructure
Where the Rail Meets the Road - Traffic signal and rail preemption
Underground Utilities - Making Ohio a safer place to excavate
Public Involvement Methods - Why public involvement is important
Road Safety for Everyone - Separating myth from reality

ENGINEER'S OFFICE TRAFFIC SIGNAL RE-LAMPING RE-LAMPING

During 2013
, the Butler County Engineer's Office re-lamped signals at 17 intersections with a total of 350 new LED lamps at an approximate cost of $10,000. This was a continuation of the LED re-lamping program begun in 2004.

The intersections that received new LED lamps replaced the first round of LED lamps installed in Butler County back in 2005. The first re-lamp equates to eight years of use out of the LED traffic signal lamps. Prior to installing the energy efficient LED lamps in traffic signal heads, an annual blanket replacement of incandescent light bulbs was required. Thus, Butler County has benefited from significant savings in labor hours as well as 90 percent less energy consumption.

The new LED lamps are purchased using the ODOT Cooperative Purchasing Program. The ODOT Cooperative Purchasing Program permits political subdivisions to purchase specified items at the best unit price available.

NATIONAL TEEN DRIVER SAFETY

Crashes are the leading cause of death among teens in the U.S. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that drivers ages 16 to 19 are four times more likely, than older drivers, to get into an accident. Parents and other adults are being encouraged to talk to teens before they head out on the road; and also show them what it means to be a responsible driver. National studies have shown that teens usually learn their bad driving skills from, you guessed it, their parents.

DRIVE IT HOME: Helping You Keep Your Teen Driver Safe - A great resource for parents of teen drivers.

OHIO BANS TEXTING WHILE DRIVING

Effective August 31, 2012, it is illegal to write, send, or read text-based messages from behind the wheel of a car for all persons. It is illegal to use any mobile communications device while driving if you are under the age of 18.

Media release from the Ohio Department of Public Safety
More information on the ODPS BMV web site
Stay Alive! don't TXT & drive - This flyer clarifies Ohio's new texting law

AND WE THOUGHT WE HAD TRAFFIC ISSUES....

This video clip shows why we have traffic control devices and standards.

Watch video

MOTORCYCLE SAFETY AWARENESS

Motorcyclists have all the same rights and privileges as any motor vehicle driver on the roadway. Drivers of all vehicles and all road users are reminded to safely "share the road" with motorcyclists, and to be extra alert to help keep motorcyclists safe.

Shared Respect Among All Road Users Can Save Motorcyclists’ Lives

Motorcyclist fatalities increased slightly in 2010 to 4,502 accounting for 14 percent of total fatalities for the year. This increase in motorcycle fatalities for the year picks up the overall increasing trend over the last 13 years that saw a one-year decline in 2009 when 4,469 motorcyclists were killed. However, the greatest decrease in the estimated number of injured people is among motorcyclists, with an 8.9 percent decrease.

With respect to motorcyclist fatalities, fatalities among motorcyclists 50 and older increased by 119, whereas fatalities among motorcyclists under 50 declined by 84.

Per vehicle mile traveled (VMT) in 2009, motorcyclists were 25 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a motor vehicle traffic crash and 5 times more likely to be injured.

In 2010, 42 percent of fatally injured motorcycle riders and 51 percent of fatally injured motorcycle passengers were not wearing helmets at the time of the crash.

Alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities (fatalities in crashes involving a driver or motorcycle rider (operator) with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or greater) declined by 4.9 percent in 2010 accounting for 31 percent of overall fatali­ties.

In fatal crashes in 2010, a higher percentage of motorcycle riders had blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher than any other type of motor vehicle driver. The percentages for operators involved in fatal crashes were 28 percent for motorcycles, 23 percent for passenger cars, 22 percent for light trucks, and 2 percent for large trucks.

Forty-two percent of the 1,921 motorcycle riders who died in single-vehicle crashes in 2010 had BAC levels of .08 g/dL or higher. Sixty-five percent of those killed in single vehicle crashes on weekend nights had BACs of .08 g/dL or higher.

In 2010, more than one-fifth of motorcycle riders (22%) involved in fatal crashes were riding with invalid licenses at the time of the collision.

NHTSA estimates that helmets saved the lives of 1,483 motorcyclists in 2009. If all motorcyclists had worn helmets, an additional 732 lives could have been saved.

The economic cost savings due to helmet use was approxi­mately $2.9 billion in 2008, and an additional $1.3 billion could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.

According to the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS), the use of DOT-compliant helmets decreased to 54 percent in 2010, from 67 percent in 2009. Use of helmets that do not comply with the DOT standard increased dramatically from 9 percent in 2009 to 14 percent in 2010.

Over the past decade, the age group with the largest increase in motorcyclist fatalities (from 1,261 in 2001 to 2,523 in 2010) was the 40-and-older age group. During this same time period, riders of the largest motorcycles (those with engine size 1,000 cc and above) saw the largest increase in fatalities.

PRACTICE IS THE KEY TO A NOVICE DRIVER'S EDUCATION

To help parents succeed as a driving coach, the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) has produced a new edition of The Novice Driver’s Road Map, an 8-step guide for parents. The Road Map is an easy-to-follow “curriculum” for parents to guide teens in the practice needed to be a safe, focused driver — and in most states, also required to be licensed.

To view more information on “The Road Map” go to the following link: http://trafficsafety.org/promo/the-novice-drivers-road-map

NEW STUDY: TEEN DRIVER DEATHS INCREASE IN 2011

On February 16th, the Governor’s Highway Safety Administration issued a news release titled New Study: Teen Driver Deaths Increase in 2011 – First Increase in Eight Years Raises Concerns. This report shows deaths of 16-year-old drivers increased from 80 to 93 (16 percent) while the number for 17-year-olds went from 110 to 118 (7 percent), a cumulative increase of 11 percent.

You can view the news release at the following link:
http://www.ghsa.org/html/media/pressreleases/2012/20120216_teens.html

BICYCLE SAFETY

As spring gets closer, many of you are looking forward to getting your bike out of the garage. Biking is a great activity to enjoy with the family, an eco-friendly option for commuting or going to the corner store, and has many health benefits. But before you dust off the bike and take off down the road, check out the links below for bike safety reminders. Some estimates show that 500,000 people go to the hospital each year due to bicycle accidents and another million people each year go to their physician's office. That's why the tips contained in the following links are a great way to keep you AND your family safe this summer.

Some information provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

Kids and bicycle safety
Easy steps to properly fit a bicycle helmet
NHTSA also has great videos on fitting a helmet, kid bike safety, and adult bike safety. Simply go to www.nhtsa.gov/Bicycles and then under "Useful Information," click on "Videos and Clips" to see the videos available.
Share the Road Tip Card - Safety tips for motorists, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

WINTER DRIVING TIPS

Winter Driving Tips by the Ohio Department of Public Safety.
Ice & Snow...Take It Slow link to the Ohio Department of Transportation.

SUMMER ROAD SAFETY TIPS

Summer Road Safety Tips by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety.

SUPERSTREET INTERSECTION

Construction of three new Superstreet intersections along Bypass 4 have generated numerous inquiries to the BCEO from curious motorists. The Superstreets are being built in conjunction with the Bypass 4 widening, a project that started in 2010 and is expected to last through 2011 and 2012. While the BCEO has been heavily involved in the planning and coordination of this project, the Superstreets were mandated by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT).

For the benefit of our Butler County citizens, we have prepared a brief explanation of the Superstreet concept as well as a Superstreet video demo. If after reviewing these you still have questions, please direct all inquiries to ODOT District 8.

Superstreet Intersection overview
Superstreet video demo

 ABOUT ROUNDABOUTS

Traffic roundabouts made their first appearances on major Butler County roads in 2008. Modern roundabouts were built at the Hamilton Mason Road / Liberty Fairfield Road / Vinnedge Road intersection as well as at the Lakota Drive West and Eagleridge Drive intersection. Since then additional roundabouts have been installed and more are being planned.

This alternative to typical at-grade intersections offers improved safety while keeping traffic flowing at slower speeds through the intersection. Some motorists may require a little tutoring on just how roundabouts function and how to best use them. So we've assembled a brochure that explains the benefits of a roundabout and how to approach, yield, enter, and exit a roundabout.

 

Guide to Single-Lane Roundabouts

Roundabout Instructional Video - Link to a short, excellent video depicting how roundabouts work and why they have so many advantages over typical at-grade intersections.

BCEO Roundabout Experience - Follow-up and overview of our roundabouts. PDF version of a PowerPoint presentation to the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI).

Roundabouts - A Case Study and Brief Overview - Presentation at 2012 Traffic Engineering Workshop.

Some feedback from local motorists on our new Butler County roundabouts:

"I love the traffic circles...I'm glad to hear you're engaging with the schools and driving schools (to educate motorists on how to properly use a modern roundabout)." - Brad H.

"As a resident of Butler County, I would like to commend you on the installation of roundabouts for traffic flow at intersections. Having lived in the United Kingdom and Europe where they are extensively used, I find them safer and better assist the flow of traffic than regular stop intersections...Keep up the good work." - Mark L.

On the Hamilton Mason/Vinnedge/Liberty Fairfield Road roundabout....."It is SO cool. Good job (Mr. Wilkens)! Only other place I have experienced this wonder of roadwork is in Sarasota FL at St. Armands Circle. Agan, So Cool! Thank you for making my morning and evening commute easier." - Marty S.

"Very innovative! I like the roundabouts." - Ann M.

"I first had the privilege of using roundabouts in Hilton Head and I love them. Thanks for constructing a few of them here. I have used both the Hamilton Mason and the Lakota West roundabouts and they are very smooth. The landscaping is coming along and should look great next spring. I think these will be great experimental areas to try these and I look forward to seeing more throughout the county. Thanks again." - Paul S.

CNN report on Carmel, Indiana's 65 roundabouts - This community of 80,000 people is replacing nearly all of its signalized intersections with roundabouts.

Delaware Department of Transportation roundabout video - Excellent educational video highlighting the benefits of modern roundabouts.

A bird's eye view of Butler County's new roundabouts:

Click on images to enlarge.
Lakota Drive West roundabout nears completion (fall 08)
Lakota Drive West roundabout nears completion (fall 08)
Hamilton Mason / Vinnedge / Liberty Fairfield Rd roundabout under construction (fall 08)
Hamilton Mason / Vinnedge / Liberty Fairfield Rd roundabout under construction (fall 08)..

SAFETY

Safe and efficient motoring for the transport of goods and people is what the Butler County Engineer's Office is all about -- making our roads, bridges, and intersections safer by easing congestion, upgrading to modern design standards, and eliminating dangerous situations.

You the motorist can help too by practicing safe driving at all times. Take our quiz below and also check out our list of safe driving tips.

Driver safety quiz
BCEO safe driving tips



PEDESTRIAN TRAVEL

Shared Space - Rules of the road for pedestrian travel. This pamphlet covers the rights and responsibilities of pedestrians in the public right of way.
Share the Road Tip Card - Safety tips for motorists, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

TRAFFIC SIGNALS

The BCEO maintains 74 traffic signals. The timing and operation of these signals are carefully observed by the Traffic Division.

BCEO traffic signal inventory list - As of Sep 19, 2013
BCEO school flashers inventory list - As of Sep 19, 2013
Traffic Signals 101 - A primer for the geek in all of us. Answers questions such as 'What are the parts of a traffic signal?' and 'What is signal timing?'

We are often asked why we can't install signals at a dangerous intersection to make it safer. It isn't that simple. Like speed limits, which you'll read about below, there are strict guidelines set forth by the State of Ohio that govern the use of traffic signals. For an in-depth explanation, please see Question 10 on the FAQs page:

FAQ Q10: Why can't you install traffic signals at an intersection or turn it into a four-way stop?

OHIO MANUAL OF UNIFORM TRAFFIC CONTROL DEVICES and TRAFFIC ENGINEERING MANUAL

All signing, speed limits, and traffic control devices are regulated by the State of Ohio. The State has implemented these rules to provide uniformity throughout Ohio which makes driving safer for all motorists. These regulations are set forth in a 900-plus page guidebook called the Ohio Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (OMUTCD).

The Traffic Engineering Manual (TEM) has been developed to assure uniformity in application of ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) traffic engineering policies, guidelines, standards, and practices. The OMUTCD establishes the basic, minimum traffic control standards for all public roadways in Ohio, and all supplemental ODOT traffic engineering design, construction, and operations related information is either contained in the TEM or referenced from it.

Ohio Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices - 2005 (Large PDF. File may take some time to download.)
Traffic Engineering Manual - 2008 (Large PDF. File may take some time to download.)

SPEED LIMITS

Speed limits are not randomly set. They are strictly determined by the State of Ohio Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices, per the Ohio Revised Code. Every speed limit change must be approved by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). A speed study must be performed and submitted to ODOT for approval. There are many variables that are looked at as part of the study.

* Speed limit study process
* Butler County speed zone map

For a more in-depth explanation of speed limits and how they are determined, please see Question 9 on the FAQs page:

FAQ Q9: Why can't you lower the speed limit on my road? How are speed limits determined?

Link to ODOT web site for overview of speed zones and Ohio speed limits

WARNING SIGNS OF INTEREST

Children At Play signs - ODOT guidelines
Hidden Drive signs - ODOT guidelines
Trucks - No Engine Braking - ODOT sign guidelines
NO PARKING REGULATIONS

Regulations for Vehicle Parking - Ohio Revised Code
TRAFFIC COUNTS

Butler County traffic counts by township and road
Butler County traffic count map
TRAFFIC IMPACT STUDY

BCEO Traffic Impact Study Guidelines, eff. February 2006

ACCESS MANAGEMENT

Access Management is the process by which government agencies regulate the location and spacing of driveways, street connections, median openings, and traffic signals.

Why Access Management / safe access is important and good for business
BCEO Access Management Regulations Manual, eff. January 1, 2005

LINKS

Ohio State Highway Patrol - Butler County Activity Statistics


Questions or comments about this web site? Email to BCEO Webmaster.

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