Contact: Media Relations
Phone: (512) 463-8700
Date: Feb. 1, 2013
Research shows median barriers, left turn lanes, overpasses and roadway widening save 183 lives and prevent 681 injuries on average each year
AUSTIN - A recent analysis of completed safety projects shows that road improvements can save hundreds of lives each year and prevent even more injuries in Texas.
An analysis of 669 Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) road projects around the state shows that the median barriers, left turn lanes, wider roads and overpasses they constructed make highways safer and result in fewer fatalities and injuries.
Recently, TxDOT asked the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) to analyze and review before- and after-crash data on 281 road widening projects, 111 median barrier projects, 184 left turn lanes, 3 overpasses and more built as part of TxDOT's Safety Bond Program. TTI estimates that these projects are saving 183 lives and prevent 681 incapacitating injuries per year on average over the life of the projects.
“This study shows that money spent on safety measures is money well spent,” said Fred Underwood, Texas Transportation Commissioner. “It also shows that these important safety improvements result in more people arriving home safely on Texas roads each and every day.”
In 2003, voters gave the Texas Transportation Commission the authority to issue $3 billion in bonds to pay for state highway improvements. The law said that 20 percent of that amount must be used to fund projects that would reduce crashes or correct or improve hazardous locations on state roads. The Texas Legislature later increased the bonding authority to $6 billion.
“Safety is our top priority,” said Phil Wilson, TxDOT executive director. “TxDOT's safety bond program has proven to be sound public policy, increasing safety on Texas highways and potentially saving billions of dollars associated with the fatalities, injuries and property damage sustained in crashes.”
From the data analyzed thus far, the $784 million of improvements constructed are predicted to provide more than $15 billion in economic benefit over the life of the projects from the costs associated with the crashes that will be avoided. For every dollar spent on an initiative in the program, there is a $20 return on investment.