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  • EXTRACTING RURAL CRASH INJURY AND FATALITY PATTERNS DUE TO CHANGING CLIMATES IN RITI COMMUNITIES BASED ON ENHANCED DATA ANALYSIS AND VISUALIZATION TOOLS (PHASE II)

    Zhang, Guohui; Yang, Hanyi; Yu, Hao; Li, Zhenning; Zou, Rong; Yuan, Runze; Ma, Tianwei (2022-09)
    This report documents the research activities to investigate the traffic crashes in Rural, Isolated, Tribal, or Indigenous (RITI) communities involving considerable incapacitating injuries and fatalities. The traffic crashes occurring in RITI communities, are different from urban traffic crashes, and are related more to the features like speeding, low application of safety devices (for instance, seatbelt), adverse weather conditions and lacking maintenance and repairs for road conditions, and inferior lighting conditions. Thus, it is necessary to study the properties and attributes of traffic crashes at the RITI area using data analysis methods, such as statistical methods, and data-driven methods. This project is trying to analyze the rural crash injury and fatality patterns caused by changing climates in RITI communities based on enhanced data analysis using latest mathematical method. The mixed logit model to examine the risk factors in determining driver injury severity in four crash configurations in two-vehicle rear-end crashes on state roads based on seven-years of data from the Washington State Department of Transportation. The differences between the MLM and the LCM are investigated for exploring the relationships between driver injury severity in the rain-related rural single-vehicle crash and its corresponding risk factors. Moreover, this project develops a latent class mixed logit model with temporal indicators to investigate highway single-vehicle crashes and the effects of significant contributing factors to driver injury severity. The results of this research will be beneficial to transportation agencies to propose effective methods to improve rural crash severities under special climate and weather conditions and minimize the rural crash risks and severities.
  • DEVELOPING A PROTOTYPE OF A SMART-LIGHTING SYSTEM FOR ISOLATED RURAL INTERSECTIONS

    Vasudevan, Vinod; Kapourchali, Mohammad Heidari (2022-03-30)
    Rural intersections are high-risk locations for road users. Particularly, during the nighttime, lower traffic volumes make it difficult for drivers to discern an intersection despite traffic signs. The lack of alertness may lead to severe crashes. An effective way to reduce the likelihood of crashes at isolated intersections is to warn road users of the intersection in advance. A smart-lighting system can detect approaching vehicles using sensors and transmit this information to a receiver to illuminate the intersection. By deploying a demand-responsive light, it is expected that the system will provide adequate warning to road users, both motorized and non-motorized. This report documents the development and deployment of a smart-lighting system at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA).
  • Improving Safety for RITI Communities in Idaho: Documenting Crash Rates and Possible Intervention Measures

    Lowry, Michael; Swoboda-Colberg, Skye; Prescott, Logan; Abdel-Rahim, Ahmed (2022-03-23)
    This report describes a new set of Geographic Information System (GIS) tools that we created to conduct safety analyses. These new GIS tools can be used by state DOTs and transportation agencies to document crash rates and prioritize safety improvement projects. The tools perform Network Segment Screening, the first step in the Roadway Safety Management Process (RSMP) outlined in the Highway Safety Manual (HSM). After developing these new tools, we conducted two case studies to demonstrate how they can be used. The first case study was for screening intersections. Our analysis included all intersections on the Idaho State Highway System. In practice, the analysis would likely be done only for a subset of intersections, such as only for signalized intersections on urban arterials. We chose all intersections for illustration purposes. The result was a ranking of intersections that would most likely benefit from safety improvement efforts. We applied three performance measures to rank the intersections: Crash Frequency, Crash Rate, and Equivalent Cost. The second case study was for screening roadway segments. Again, the entire Idaho State Highway System was included for illustration. The HSM describes two key methods for screening roadway segments: Simple Ranking and Sliding Window. Both methods are available in the new tools. This case study demonstrates the advantage of the Sliding Window, which would be impractical to accomplish on a large scale without the assistance of our new GIS tools. The final part of the work presented in this report is a synthesis to identify and document possible measures to reduce crashes for RITI communities in Idaho and throughout the northwest region.
  • Evaluation of Delivery Service in Rural Areas with CAV

    Prevedouros, Panos; Alghamdi, Abdulrahman (2022-03-15)
    Urban areas have been experiencing automated delivery technology for several servings of food or a few bags of groceries, with automated (robotic) mini vehicles. The benefits of such automated delivery may be much more significant for rural areas with long distances due to the large potential savings in travel time, travel cost, and crash risk. Compared to urban areas, rural areas have older and more disabled residents, longer distances, higher traffic fatality rates, and high ownership of less fuel-efficient vehicles such as pickup trucks. An evaluation of connected autonomous vehicle (CAV) delivery service in rural areas was conducted. A detailed methodology was developed and applied to two case studies: One for deliveries between Hilo and Volcano Village in Hawaii as a case of deliveries over a moderate distance (~50-mile roundtrip) in a high-energy-cost environment, and another for deliveries between Spokane and Sprague in Washington State as a case of deliveries over a longer distance (~80-mile roundtrip) in a low-energy-cost environment. The delivery vehicles were based on the same compact van: A person-driven gasoline-powered van, a person-driven electric-powered van, and a CAV electric-powered van. The case study results suggest that the CAV van can be a viable option for implementing a delivery business for rural areas based on the evaluation results that accounted for a large number of location-specific costs and benefits and the number of orders served per trip.
  • Barriers and Opportunities for Using Rail-Trails for Safe Travel in Rural, Isolated, and Tribal Communities

    Lowry, Michael; Chang, Kevin (2021-11)
    This project explored barriers and opportunities for more effectively using rail-trails for safe travel in rural, isolated, tribal, and indigenous communities. We investigated using crowdsourced data from a fitness app to estimate bicycle volumes on trails. For 10 locations this new method produced suitable results, but for 19 locations the method was not satisfactory. Future research could identify situations in which this new method is feasible. We also created a new mapping tool to get demographic data surrounding locations where new rail-trails could be built. We identified 8,616 miles of potential rail-trail in the Pacific Northwest and explored the surrounding demographics for 12 locations in rural communities in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. We conducted two separate surveys to solicit community member opinions and usage habits of the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes.
  • Developing a Data-Driven Safety Assessment Framework for RITI Communities in Washington State

    Wang, Yinhai; Sun, Wei; Ricord, Sam; de Souza, Cesar Maia; Yin, Shuyi; Tsai, Meng-Ju (2021-09-10)
    The roadway safety of the Rural, Isolated, Tribal, or Indigenous (RITI) communities has become an important social issue in the United States. Official data from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) shows that, in 2012, 54 percent of all fatalities occurred on rural roads while only 19 percent of the US population lived in rural communities. Under the serious circumstances, this research aims to help the RITI communities to improve their roadway safety through the development of a roadway safety management system. Generally, a roadway safety management system includes two critical components, the baseline data platform and safety assessment framework. In our Year 1 and Year 2 CSET projects, a baseline data platform was developed by integrating the safety related data collected from the RITI communities in Washington State. This platform is capable of visualizing the accident records on the map. The Year 3 project further developed the safety data platform by developing crash data analysis and visualization functions. In addition, various roadway safety assessment methods had been developed to provide safety performance estimation, including historical accident data averages, predictions based on statistical and machine learning (ML) models, etc. Beside roadway safety assessment methods, this project investigated the safety countermeasures selection and recommendation methods for RITI communities. Specifically, the research team has reached out to RITI communities and established a formal research partnership with the Yakama Nation. The research team has conducted research on safety countermeasures analysis and recommendation for RITI communities.
  • NATURALISTIC DRIVING DATABASE DEVELOPMENT AND ANALYSIS OF CRASH AND NEAR-CRASH TRAFFIC EVENTS IN HONOLULU

    Pereira, Luana Carneiro; Prevedouros, Panos (2021-09-30)
    Dashboard cameras and sensors were installed in 233 taxi vans on Oahu, Hawaii which produced several hours of events classified as naturalistic driving data (NDD) in a period of seven months between fall 2019 and spring 2020. The study achieved its objectives to: (1) collect data from NDD events where driving maneuvers caused an acceleration of 0.5g or higher; (2) develop a database suitable for statistical analysis; (3) derive basic statistics for all variables; (4) investigate correlations between variables; and (5) further investigate correlations (which may represent causality effects) for the most frequent types of events, using stepwise linear regression models. The database included a total of 402 harsh events, of which were 398 near-crashes and four were crashes. Several variables such as road, environmental, driver and vehicle characteristics were coded for each event. The installation of Samsara by the CTL company proved to be a successful tool for coaching drivers, and for providing useful insights into traffic safety factors relating to near-miss events.
  • Extracting Rural Crash Injury and Fatality Patterns Due to Changing Climates in RITI Communities Based on Enhanced Data Analysis and Visualization Tools (Phase I)

    Zhang, Guohui; Prevedouros, Panos; Ma, David; Yu, Hao; Li, Zhenning; Yuan, Runze (2021-09)
    Traffic crashes cause considerable incapacitating injuries and losses in Rural, Isolated, Tribal, or Indigenous (RITI) communities. Compared to urban traffic crashes, those rural crashes, especially for those occurred in RITI communities, are heavily associated with factors such as speeding, low safety devices application (for instance, seatbelt), adverse weather conditions and lacking maintenance and repairers for road conditions, inferior lighting conditions, and so on. Therefore, there exists an urgent need to investigate the unique attributes associated with the RITI traffic crashes based on numerous approaches, such as statistical methods, and data-driven approaches. This project focused on extracting rural crash injury and fatality patterns due to changing climates in RITI communities based on enhanced data analysis and visualization tools. Three new interactive graphic tools were added to the Rural Crash Visualization Tool System (RCVTS), to enhance the visualization approach. A Bayesian vector auto-regression based data analysis approach was proposed to enable irregularly-spaced mixture-frequency traffic collision data interpretation with missing values. Moreover, a finite mixture random parameters model was formulated to explore driver injury severity patterns and causes in low visibility related single-vehicle crashes. The research findings are helpful for transportation agencies to develop cost-effective countermeasures to mitigate rural crash severities under extreme climate and weather conditions and minimize the rural crash risks and severities in the States of Alaska, Washington, Idaho, and Hawaii.
  • BUILDING CAPACITY FOR CLIMATE ADAPTATION Assessing the Vulnerability of Transportation Infrastructure to Sea Level Rise for Safety Enhancement in RITI Communities

    Shen, Suwan; Shim, Dayea (2021-09-01)
    Sea level rise (SLR) and more frequent extreme weather events are an emerging concern for transportation infrastructures in coastal areas. In particular, the livelihoods and transportation safety of vulnerable populations such as indigenous rural communities may be at higher risk to sea-level rise and exacerbated coastal flooding due to their heavy dependence on natural resources, settlements in relatively isolated fringe land, limited accessibility to services, and alternative economic activities, as well as lack of resources and tools for adaptation. Despite existing studies on sea-level rise’s impacts, there is a lack of understanding of how the impacts of tidal flooding and sea-level rise may be unevenly distributed both spatially and socially, and how vulnerable (e.g. rural, relatively isolated) communities have experienced such impacts and perceive future risks. Using survey data, this project helps to better understand the current experience and risk perception of different communities when facing sea-level rise and more frequent coastal flooding. It helps to understand different communities’ perceived travel challenges with coastal flooding, the social sensitivity to different types of challenges, and the priorities and concerns to access various types of resources with the projected sea-level rise. The findings could be used to develop adaptation strategies that improve communities’ safe access to highly valued resources and activities.
  • DEVELOPMENT OF GRASS-ROOTS DATA COLLECTION METHODS IN RURAL, ISOLATED, AND TRIBAL COMMUNITIES

    Chang, Kevin; Hodgson, Cody (2021-07-05)
    While extensive procedures have been developed for the collection and dissemination of motor vehicle volumes and speeds, these same procedures cannot always be used to collect pedestrian data, given the comparably unpredictable behavior of pedestrians and their smaller physical size. There is significant value to developing lower cost, lower intrusion methods of collecting pedestrian travel data, and these collection efforts are needed at the local or “grass-roots” level. While previous studies have documented many different data collection methods, one newer option considers the use of drones. This study examined its feasibility to collect pedestrian data and used this technology as part of a school travel mode case study. Specific information with regard to the study methodology, permissions required, and final results are described in detail as part of this report. This study concluded that while purchasing and owning a drone requires relatively minimal investment, the initial steps required to operate a drone, along with processing time required to analyze the data collected, represent up-front barriers that may prevent widespread usage at this time. However, the use of drones and the opportunities that it presents in the long-term offer promising outcomes.
  • Investigation of Drone Applications to Improve Traffic Safety in RITI Communities

    Ban, Xuegang (Jeff); Abramson, Daniel; Zhang, Yiran; Cano-Calhoun, Cristina (2021-06-30)
    Transportation and traffic safety is a primary concern among the Rural, Isolated, Tribal, or Indigenous (RITI) communities in the U.S. Although emerging technologies (e.g., connected and autonomous vehicles, drones) have been developed and tested in addressing traffic safety issues, they are often not widely shared in RITI communities for various reasons. This research aims to explore, understand, and synthesize the opportunities and challenges of applying drone technologies to alleviate or resolve traffic safety and emergency related issues within RITI communities. The project team first sent out online surveys to communities on the outer Pacific coast of Washington State and selected the City of Westport as the study area based on the feedback. A pilot study using drones for mapping and sensing in Westport was then conducted, followed by two community meetings to explore potential drone applications. With the three outreach activities, it was found that the current need in the communities was education on drones, including training for remote pilot certification (drone license) and drone operations. Findings of this research will help guide the project team to set up specific drone-related programs in the Westport area in future research.
  • DUST PALLIATIVE MEAN PARTICLE RESIDENCE TIME CALCULATOR

    Metzgar, Jonathan (2020-12-31)
    Previous research efforts at UAF have established that dust palliative performance may be compared using a calculation called the mean particle residence time (tau, or MPRT). The MPRT value is computed using linear regression techniques to determine the time when the dust palliative loses its effectiveness. A technician tests the palliative using a dustfall column and a nephelometer to measure the concentration of PM10 over time. The technician needs to manually process this raw data with an Excel spreadsheet making dust palliative MPRT reports time-consuming and prone to error. Finally, the certifying technician prints and files the report for future reference which limits future dissemination. We developed a web-based calculator, called UAFDUST, to automate the process of producing the MPRT report. UAFDUST combines a web app front end using Google's Angular library with a PHP and SQL database backend. This database enables a laboratory to record metadata about the dust palliative including the dustfall column testing date and technician, certification date, and certifying technician. The app calculates the MPRT and produces accompanying linear regression plots. The UAFDUST app stores dust palliative MPRT tests in a public database and trained laboratory technicians may contribute new data.
  • Transportation Equity for RITI Communities in Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Environment: Opportunities and Barriers

    Sorour, Sameh; Abdel-Rahim, Ahmed; Swoboda-Colberg, Skye (2020-08)
    This report summarizes the results of a study conducted to document the safety and mobility needs of Rural, Isolated, Tribal, or Indigenous (RITI) communities and to identify autonomous and connected vehicle technology that have the potential of addressing these needs. A review of the administrative structure for the five Native American Tribes in Idaho revealed that none of the tribes has a department dedicated to transportation services. Two of the five tribes, however, have a department dedicated to Information Technology (IT) services. Based on the results of focus group discussions and the follow up in-depth interviews, some of the major transportation safety and mobility problems and need areas for RITI communities include: safety of school-age children walking to school, lack of safety pedestrians facilities (sidewalks) in the community, inefficient emergency response services, issues with paratransit scheduling and reliability of service, roadway maintenance issues, aggressive driving in community roadways, struggle of low-income families with no car ownership, snow removal and clean up especially for local roads, and not having enough driver education programs available for the community. In terms of major barriers to Autonomous and Connected Vehicle implementation in RITI communities, the interviewed citizens believe that lack of communication infrastructures, cost of smart phone use, difficulties to use internet and/or smart phones, lack of electrical power coverage in some roadway areas, privacy and safety issues in car sharing operations, cost of expanding communication and power networks, and the lack of human resources in the community to support these technologies are some of the major barriers to the wide-spread implementation of such advanced technology.
  • RESULTS OF A SURVEY ON TRANSPORTATION SAFETY EQUITY IN HAWAII

    Duque de Medeiros, Flavia; Barros, Rafaela De Melo; Prevedourous, Panos (2020-07)
    Five transportation equity questions were developed for this assessment. Question 1 addressed EMS response in urban and rural areas. People with a bachelor’s degree or higher thought slightly more that rural response is worse. Rural residents believed it is worse and half of urban residents agreed. CSET minority respondents thought that rural response is slightly worse. These groups have a perception that reflects reality, according to FARS data, but the overall response to the question “Compared to urban areas, in rural areas emergency response is?” is “about the same.” Every demographic group did not support the proposal of question 2 for the government to increase gasoline taxes to collect money to invest in EMS response improvements in rural areas of Hawaii. The overall result for question 3 is that respondents were divided when it comes to converting rural roads into high standard roads in Hawaii. No demographic group had a majority response, pro, against or neutral. The response to question 4 was much clearer: all demographic groups disagreed with the proposition that the government should raise gasoline taxes to collect funds for the purpose of making rural roads safer by converting them to high standard roads. Question 5 addressed the urban-rural road funding balance: “Should more money, less money or about the same amount of money be provided to support urban road and highway improvements?” The response was mostly divided between same amount and more money, suggesting that an equal share should be allocated between urban and rural roads. Overall, the results suggest a lack of awareness of conditions on rural roads.
  • DOCUMENTING THE CHARACTERISTICS OF TRAFFIC CRASHES FOR RITI COMMUNITIES IN IDAHO

    Abdel-Rahim, Ahmed; Swoboda-Colberg, Skye; Mohamed, Mohamed; Gonzalez, Angel (2020-08)
    This project documents the characteristics of traffic crashes in rural, isolated, tribal, and indigenous (RITI) communities in Idaho and establishes an in-depth understanding of the baseline traffic safety conditions in RITI communities. Different sources of crash data for RITI communities in Idaho was used to conduct an in-depth ten-year crash analysis (2007-2016) to document the characteristics of traffic crashes in rural roads that serve RITI communities in Idaho. The results of analysis of fatal and severe injury crashes on unpaved roads clearly shows that ATVs and pickup trucks and the two most common vehicle types involved in crashes in these roads. The results also showed that the majority of fatal and severe injury crashes on unpaved roads involved male drivers and occupants 24 years or younger with considerable number involving occupants younger than 14 years old. A comparative safety analysis was conducted to identify and document the differences in characteristics between crashes that occurred on unpaved and paved rural roads in Idaho. The results of the analysis show that the percent of fatal and severe injury crashes where no restraining device was used is much higher in unpaved roads (50.4% and 38.3% in unpaved roads compared to 37.9 and 22.8 on paved roads). The same trend also exists in helmet use which shows the critical need for a much more aggressive seat belt and helmet use enforcement among communities who use rural unpaved roads in Idaho. The results also show a substantial difference in ATV crashes on unpaved versus paved. Teenagers or children that are 14 years or younger are more susceptible to fatal and severe injuries on unpaved roads compared to paved roads. Crash injuries for age groups from 15 to 44 are also higher on unpaved roadways. The results also clearly highlight the fact that unpaved roads have higher percentages of crashes where alcohol impairment was a major contributing circumstance. The same is true for speeding and inattention related crashes. A proportion statistical test results show that many of these results have a calculated p-value less than 0.05, indicating that these results are statistically significant at the 95% confidence level.
  • Effects of Reading Text While Driving: A Driving Simulator Study

    Prevedouros, Panos; Miah, M. Mintu; Nathanail, Eftihia (2020-02)
    Although 47 US states make the use of a mobile phone while driving illegal, many people use their phone for texting and other tasks while driving. This research project summarized the large literature on distracted driving and compared major outcomes with those of our study. We focused on distraction due to reading text because this activity is most common. For this research project, we collected simulator observations of 203 professional taxi drivers (175 male, and 28 female) working at the same Honolulu taxi company, using the mid-range driving simulator VS500M by Virage. After a familiarization period, drivers were asked to read realistic text content relating to passenger pick up displayed on a 7-inch tablet affixed to the dashboard. The experimental scenario was simulated on a two-lane rural highway having a speed limit of 60 mph and medium traffic. Drivers needed to follow the lead vehicle under regular and text-reading conditions. The large sample size of this study provided a strong statistical base for driving distraction investigation on a driving simulator. The comparison between regular and text-reading conditions revealed that the drivers significantly increased their headway (20.7%), lane deviations (354%), total time of driving blind (352%), maximum duration of driving blind (87.6% per glance), driving blind incidents (170%), driving blind distance (337%) and significantly decreased lane change frequency (35.1%). There was no significant effect on braking aggressiveness while reading text. The outcomes indicate that driving performance degrades significantly by reading text while driving. Additional analysis revealed that important predictors for maximum driving blind time changes are sociodemographic characteristics, such as age and race, and past behavior attributes.
  • Operational Safety of Gravel Roads in Rural and Tribal Communities: Vulnerability to Structural Failures and GeoHazards

    Ibrahim, Ahmed; Sharma, Sunil; Kassem, Emad; Nielsen, Richard; Nasrin, Sabreena (2020-04-20)
    Of the 4.1 million miles of federal and state highways in the U.S., 2.2 million miles (or 54%) are unpaved, gravel roads. In the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, unpaved gravel roads provide critical transportation access, with some communities relying on just a single highway for access into and out of town. In such cases, these highways become a critical component of the infrastructure, and there is a need to ensure that safe access is always available to the communities. The Idaho highway database has been used to identify unpaved, gravel roads in Idaho that are critical for access to rural communities. Once identified, information regarding their existing condition has been used to assess their vulnerability and other impacts. The results of this study are considered an initial evaluation that relies on information that is readily available in the database. The project outcomes include a comprehensive literature review of unpaved roads including data produced from field visits. In addition, a questionnaire survey was sent to local jurisdictions authorities for investigating locations, reasons of road closures, and population size of the affected communities. Finally, 37 responses have been received by the research team indicating five rural communities that have experienced closures and isolation. The reasons for the closure of the unpaved roads were due to the lack of funding for snow removal, excessive dirt, unstable gravel roads, tornados, and heavy rains. The location of those communities was spread across the state of Idaho with corresponding populations range from 25 to 8,500 people.
  • DRONES FOR IMPROVING TRAFFIC SAFETY IN RITI COMMUNITIES IN WASHINGTON STATE

    Ban, Xuegang (Jeff); Abramson, Daniel; Zhang, Yiran (2020-04-04)
    Transportation and traffic safety is a primary concern in Rural, Isolated, Tribal, or Indigenous (RITI) communities in Washington (WA) State. Parallel to this, while emerging technologies (e.g., connected/autonomous vehicles, drones) have been developed and tested in addressing traffic safety issues, they are often not widely shared in RITI communities for various reasons. Compared with other technological advances, drone technologies have been rapidly improved and can be flexibly applied to multiple fields, including engineering, agriculture and disaster managements. The goal of this study is to explore and synthesize the opportunities, challenges and scenarios that drone technologies can assist to resolve traffic safety related issues and concerns in RITI communities. Through the outreach activities with the outer Pacific Coast in WA state, it is found that the principal concern within these communities are disaster management and mitigation since they are facing the threat of coastal erosion, earthquake and tsunami. Thus, the emergency management and hazard mitigation becomes the major way to further explore drone applications in the selected communities. To achieve this, we reviewed the current state of the drone technologies, conducted surveys from National Guard and coastal communities in WA, including City of Westport, South Beach Region, Grays Harbor County, Shoalwater Bay Tribe, and Quinault Indian Nation, to better understand their current needs, challenges and issues. Ultimately, recommendations of drone applications under specific scenarios are provided based upon the integration of drone technologies with community safety needs.
  • Enabling Data-Driven Transportation Safety Improvements in Rural Alaska

    Bennett, F. Lawrence; Metzgar, Jonathan B.; Perkins, Robert A. (2019-12)
    Safety improvements require funding. A clear need must be demonstrated to secure funding. For transportation safety, data, especially data about past crashes, is the usual method of demonstrating need. However, in rural locations, such data is often not available, or is not in a form amenable to use in funding applications. This research aids rural entities, often federally recognized tribes and small villages acquire data needed for funding applications. Two aspects of work product are the development of a traffic counting application for an iPad or similar device, and a review of the data requirements of the major transportation funding agencies. The traffic-counting app, UAF Traffic, demonstrated its ability to count traffic and turning movements for cars and trucks, as well as ATVs, snow machines, pedestrians, bicycles, and dog sleds. The review of the major agencies demonstrated that all the likely funders would accept qualitative data and Road Safety Audits. However, quantitative data, if it was available, was helpful.
  • Reaching Out to Tribal Communities: Lessons Learned and Approaches to Consider

    Awwad-Rafferty, Rula; Chang, Kevin; Brown, Helen (2019-12-31)
    When transportation safety decision-making is desired, the involvement and engagement with a community is essential. A streamlined delivery of a project or program is more likely to occur when active dialogue and an exchange of ideas occurs in advance and occurs frequently. This is particularly important in tribal communities, who value sustained relationships and represent the focus population of this study. The research team, on six separate occasions, met with local and regional tribal leaders to explore and discuss transportation safety needs within and outside tribal communities, as well as discern the recommended approaches to foster ongoing dialogue about these needs. In all cases these discussions closely correlated with existing research studies or activities; transportation safety and equity is not seen as separate from other tribal foci and community needs. Specific recommendations to consider, in no particular order, included the following: invest respectfully enough time for people to talk; tribes think long-term and consider the impact of any decision from a long-term viewpoint so an iterative process and re-sharing of ideas is critical; the power of decision is in the hands of the tribe and its members; do not lump tribes together as each tribe is sovereign and unique and every community should be expected to think differently; all tribes are unique as is the environmental and social context; to disseminate information widely and iteratively, do so when there is a large group or event; be sure to understand the Tribal governance, decision making, and organizational structure; know who is the tribal Chairman or Chairwoman; and develop an emic and etic understanding of the community.

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