Together for Safer Roads Celebrates Historic Public-Private Partnership Success with City of Houston
June 7, 2023 — Together for Safer Roads (TSR) is pleased to announce the success of its joint project with the City of Houston and Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Complete Communities program.
This groundbreaking public-private partnership transformed one of the city’s most dangerous roadways, Hillcroft Avenue, into an important Vision Zero success. This is a goal for cities around the world working towards the elimination of severe road traffic injuries and fatalities.
Each year, over 30,000 fatalities occur on U.S. roads with major cities at the center of what has become a national epidemic. Hillcroft Avenue in Houston’s Gulfton neighborhood had a crash rate twice the state average compared to similar urban roadways, often involving vehicles colliding with pedestrians and cyclists with severe or fatal results.
The broad public-private partnerships involved in the Hillcroft Avenue transformation underscored its success. TSR worked closely with local government agencies, non-profit organizations, and private sector companies including Anheuser-Busch, Connect Community, Houston Planning and Development and Public Works departments, DKS Associates, Transoft Solutions, and TEI Planning + Design, to implement a series of road safety initiatives that have had a transformative impact on the local community.
The project is based on an extensive before-study analysis of road safety challenges leading to accident and injury. Consequently, Hillcroft Avenue now features very specific improvements tailored to safety concerns, including wider sidewalks, shared-use bikeways, new traffic signals for pedestrian access, improved access to METRO stops, and a reduction of general purpose vehicular travel lanes from 8 to 6. The reallocation of roadway has led to motor vehicle speed reductions of 5 to 10 MPH, which has a significant effect on injury outcomes should a collision occur, especially if pedestrians and cyclists are involved.
“The success of Hillcroft Avenue not only resides in the collaboration of the public-private partnership, but also in the important use of technology,” said Peter Goldwasser, Executive Director of Together for Safer Roads. “An innovative, quick action before-and-after study was used to provide early indication of the impact of the Hillcroft Avenue projects and strategies.
Using video analytics to identify road user speeds, trajectories, and conflicts, the study team was able to quantify safety-related benefits of the project, especially for people walking, biking, and rolling just a few weeks after completion.”
“Gulfton residents travel by foot, bike, and bus more than any others in the Houston area. City leadership is proud to have undertaken this difficult challenge, through a unique partnership with the private sector, to bring residents increased safety and mobility,”said Mayor Sylvester Turner of the City of Houston. “Residents can now move across Hillcroft Avenue with greater ease as they go to work, the grocery store, or visit friends and family.”
“Hillcroft Avenue is proof of how positive change can occur when government and businesses work in partnership and really listen to community members. It should be considered a strong model for replication in other road-safety initiatives throughout the U.S.,” said Anne Whitlock, Founding Director of Community Connect.
“On behalf of our nearly 900 employees that live and work in Houston, Anheuser-Busch is proud to be a founding sponsor of the Hillcroft Avenue initiative.” said Cesar Vargas, US Chief External Affairs Officer for Anheuser-Busch. “We thank Together for Safer Roads, our private sector partners and the City of Houston for their leadership in creating a safer community.”
Recognizing the success and efficacy of this important work, The City of Houston has recently been awarded $552,160 in federal USDOT funding through the Reconnecting Communities Pilot (RCP) grant program for the Reconnecting Communities: Gulfton and Beyond Study
An overview and link to the full Hillcroft Avenue before-and-after study can be found here.
Read more here: https://informedinfrastructure.com/82652/together-for-safer-roads-celebrates-historic-public-private-partnership-success-with-city-of-houston/