Solutions to Stop Pedestrian Deaths in SF

Recently in San Francisco there have been 2 pedestrian deaths by vehicles. For the year 22 people have died on the city streets outpacing 2018. Several politicians have come together demanding a solution to reduce vehicle versus pedestrian injury accidents. Some have demanded a Traffic State of Emergency.

We want to share with you what existing tools that work and some new tech ideas. Other than law enforcement of traffic violations, here are a couple proven deterrences to get drivers to be aware of there speed and get them back on track.

Vehicle feedback speed display signs

A tool that can be used to calm a road with many speed violators is using a vehicle feedback speed display sign.  Solar powered vehicle feedback speed displays signs are proven to slow down drivers and make them more attentive.

Many are portable and can be placed temporarily on just about any road so that they can be used to both calm traffic and collect data at many locations around the city.

While vehicle feedback speed signs calm traffic they also collect data that identifies problem areas and helps law enforcement departments prioritize enforcement and utilize their resources more effectively.

Vehicle feedback speed display signs have become web-enabled so you can track the traffic volumes and speeds in real time. There is no need to drive out to the sign to download the data as it is available on any internet-connected computer. The signs alert you to low battery and tampering, saving unnecessary trips to the sign. They can even alert you to high speed violators and congestion.

Studies conducted both in the UK and in the US have found radar speed signs to effectively slow traffic down.  Although the overall speed reductions are generally less than those resulting from physical measures, the signs have the greatest effect on those drivers that are exceeding the posted speed, or traveling within speed transition zones.

Vehicle feedback speed display signs are a cost effective and quickly implemented solution to traffic calming and can be a great complement to longer term engineering solutions. They can help extend limited resources at a very cost effective price.

Embedded flashing crosswalk lights

Compared with other types of warning devices, the effectiveness of the embedded pavement flashing light system seem to be high. When approaching a crosswalk with an embedded pavement flashing light system, drivers are more apt to slow down and yield to pedestrians than when drivers approach a crosswalk with another type of lighted warning device. Also, compared to a crosswalk with no warning device, drivers are more likely to slow down and yield to pedestrians when the embedded pavement flashing light system is in place.

New Tech Controlling Traffic Lights Based on Behavior

This technology is perfect for one way streets where the intersections are set to be green lights by groups in one direction this is called traffic signal synchronization. The purpose of that is to move traffic efficiently but the problem is the straggler that is trying to catch up to the intersection because the light is changing from green to yellow then red.

The straggler car then speeds to attempt to drive through the intersection before the light turns red. This is what creates a risk of violating a red light and an accident occurs, a side collision also called the “T bone accident.”

What if technology was able to detect the straggler car speeding trying to catch up to the synchronized green lights. Well there is such technology by Iteris. The City of Folsom has recently installed it. See video explanation.

The City of Folsom engineered and installed a series of new traffic signals to further increase motorist, pedestrian, and cyclist safety on Empire Ranch Road. The new signals will also support the safest emergency vehicle access at Folsom Fire Station 39 on Empire Ranch Road at Ritchie Street.

The City incorporated the most advanced technology available for the operation of the new Empire Ranch signal system. The new signals have high-definition detection cameras, closed caption TVs, advanced controllers, and fiber optic connections. This technology allows the Public Works Department to remotely monitor and adjust traffic timing and provide proactive maintenance from the Traffic Operations Center.

The timing technology is expected to assist with smooth and safe travel through the area, allowing drivers to maximize the number of green signal lights they pass through while driving at the 45 miles per hour speed limit. Once a driver reaches speeds over the designated limit, the traffic light timing will help to slow down speeding drivers. This system is not used by law enforcement, it is used for distracted drivers to reduce the amount of unsafe speeding vehicles and for the intentional speeders.

SF Weekly reported, “Safe Streets Advocates Demand S.F. Declare a Traffic State of Emergency”

In an interesting turn, advocates also ramped up calls for police and the District Attorney’s office to investigate and prosecute deaths resulting from traffic violations in the same manner as they would a homicide. At the very least, citations of traffic violations must increase, they said.

Ida Mojadad and Nuala Sawyer, 2019 Safe Streets Advocates Demand S.F. Declare a Traffic State of Emergency
Retrieved from:

San Francisco is at the extreme on leniency of crime, we need to swing the pendulum back to the middle with a fair and just system to protect San Francisco. 

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