© 2024 WGLT
A public service of Illinois State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

GoSafe Action Plan Aims For Zero Transportation-Related Fatalities By 2030

motorist talks on a cell phone
Nam Y. Huh
By 2023, the Go:Safe Action Plan calls for updating crosswalk striping on public roads, commercial driveways and parking facilities. It also calls for a cell phone safety campaign.

The McLean County Regional Planning Commission’s Go:Safe transportation safety action plan goes beyond data and infrastructure. It’s about changing culture.

Since 2005, there have been about 3,500 traffic collisions resulting in more than 750 injuries and 12 deaths every year in the urbanized area of McLean County.

“The vision is by 2030 we would have really zero transportation-related fatalities and life-changing injuries,” said MCRPC Executive Director Raymond Lai. “But we have to start somewhere. For 2021, the goal is to get the plan out to the community and to give everybody a chance to review the draft and then people can provide feedback before it goes to the Regional Planning Commission, but there's a lot more work to be done.”

The Go:Safe action plan, now in draft form, would kick off in 2021 by publicizing stories of real people’s “close calls.” By 2023, the Go:Safe Action Plan calls for updating crosswalk striping on public roads, commercial driveways and parking facilities. It also calls for a cell phone safety campaign and baking transportation safety into college and university orientation.

“This is not just like a county plan, but there's a set of ideas for regional government entities to take them forward and how to best implement them for their areas. For specific types of striping or different ways to enhance safety, that will take collaboration among different entities,” said Lai.

The plan states 94% of pedestrian and cyclist collisions result in injury, including 19% fatal or incapacitating injury. Lai said upgrades to crosswalk striping could bring that number down.

The Go:Safe Action draft plan promotes regular monitoring, sharing, and discussion of transportation safety data. This includes data about crashes, how they occur and qualitative data about those who suffer them.

Lai said he’s sure traffic safety is a priority for many communities. McLean County, however, is well-situated for rigorous evaluation: it is home to several higher education institutions and major companies researching and influencing the transportation sector, some of which were represented on the Go:Safe project team.

“So we are not doing something unique. It's just something that we have in our long-term plans and other community plans for traffic safety,” said Lai. “It's important for higher education institutions and companies to be part of the planning process as well as implementation when we do more after the plan is adopted.”

How to change culture

The plan calls for “laying groundwork for culture change means educating community members about the problem, proposed solutions, and their role in both.” 

Lai said everything from billboards and flyers to guest speakers at high schools will be used to promote that “groundwork education” and hopefully limit distracted driving.

Since 2005, there have been over 12,000 rear-end crashes.

“We recognize it takes culture change to bring this number down, so that safety is really in everybody's mind when they're driving, taking a walk or riding their bicycle,” said Lai.

The plan also wants to focus on long-term infrastructure and looks to federal and state funding.

The $9.92 million grant from the State of Illinois that is funding Connect Transit’s Better Bus Stops campaign is one example. That project would make Bloomington-Normal one of the first communities in the nation with a completely ADA-compliant transit system by 2024, according to the draft action plan.

“It depends on funding and there could be grants. Then we look at the needs and then it'll be up to the individual governmental entities to decide what projects to complete within the jurisdictions,” said Lai. “I'm sure they would also take public feedback and also see what kind of infrastructure upgrades and changes should be made. The aging of the infrastructure we have in some areas…. it's not going to be cheap, but some may take an incremental approach.”

The McLean County Regional Planning Commission is hosting three Zoom meetings, starting Saturday, that will center around transportation safety stories and an overview of the Go:Safe action plan. Citizens can bring up concerns about the draft.