Lexington & Louisville Safety Action Plans

Double Crossover Diamond Interchange in Lexington

Lexington & Louisville Safety Action Plans

Incorporating the Safe System Approach to Eliminate Fatal and Serious Injury Crashes

With a goal of identifying safety priorities and the best opportunities to invest state road improvement funding, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, also known as KYTC, prioritized the development of new safety action plans for Kentucky’s two largest cities, Lexington and Louisville. The goal was to prepare an action plan for each city that focused on preventing deadly and serious injury crashes for all modes of transportation.

Working with KYTC’s Highway Safety Improvement Program, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government and another engineering consulting firm, HDR’s safety experts analyzed data and developed proactive plans that emphasized the holistic and comprehensive Safe System Approach to make the transportation system safer. The SSA acknowledges human mistakes and vulnerability and works to design a redundant system to protect all users.

The SSA has been embraced by the transportation community, including the U.S. Department of Transportation and consists of five elements of a safe transportation system: safer people, safer vehicles, safer speeds, safer roads and post-crash care.

Lexington-Fayette Safety Action Plan

Our project team analyzed data to identify safety priorities and ways to prevent serious injury and fatal crashes in Lexington using the SSA. This included detailed historical (reactive) and systemic (proactive) analyses. This two-pronged approach allowed the team to identify where serious crashes have occurred in the past as well as the types of places they are likely to occur in the future.

Five years of crash data was compiled and assessed to identify the roads and intersections where most of the serious crashes have occurred. That analysis helped our team identify a high-injury network and select high-priority corridors for potential safety improvements. Our team went a step further by examining factors that contribute to crashes across the system using common traits and trends. Those characteristics included speed limits, curvature, lane and shoulder width, number of lanes, and traffic volumes associated with roads and intersections where severe crashes have occurred.

Once the analysis was complete, our team overlayed GIS maps of the high-priority corridors with the systemic emphasis areas to identify areas of overlap. This created a starting point for determining where improvements or countermeasures should be implemented. Those solutions were included in a compliant plan to address the eight components of the Safe Streets and Roads for All Grant Program.

Our grant experts supported the City of Lexington and KYTC with the application process to successfully acquire more than $20 million in federal funding to implement safety improvements. We provided cost estimating services to determine the scope and overall budget of the project. The majority of the funds will be used to improve one critical high-priority corridor. This four-lane divided road was identified as a location with a substantial opportunity for safety improvement, especially when considering the history of and risk for pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries. The federal funding will also be used support city-wide safety staffing and outreach programs, including a full-time Vision Zero coordinator.

HDR is currently leading the preliminary design to implement the federally funded countermeasures on the high-priority corridor identified in the safety action plan and grant application. The improvements include signalized Restricted Crossing U-Turns, which are a FHWA proven safety countermeasure. Each of these U-turn locations will include traffic signals and designated crosswalks to allow for safe U-turns and to improve the safety of pedestrian crossings.

Vision Zero Louisville Safety Report

HDR partnered with KYTC and the City of Louisville to implement the SSA while working as a subconsultant on the creation of a Vision Zero plan for the area. Our team developed a data-informed approach that identified historic crash trends, serious crash locations and critical risk factors. A plan for countermeasures was then developed that would be used by stakeholders to implement improvements aimed at preventing serious injury and fatal crashes in the Louisville Metro area.

Five years of historical crash data was combined with road and intersection information to create a comprehensive dataset containing more than 120,000 records. The data was evaluated to identify the intersections and roadway segments where serious crashes had most frequently occurred as well as the risk factors associated with those locations. The team also considered the emphasis areas identified in Kentucky’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan. The result was an actionable list and plan of locations that had experienced serious crashes or were likely to experience them in the future.

The team identified countermeasures that could be applied to the high-risk crash areas. This included reconfiguring streets from four lanes to three lanes, converting several one-way streets to two-way, and improving access control and lighting. HDR is now providing design services to implement some of these safety-related countermeasures. Funding for these improvements comes from two City of Louisville SS4A implementation grants.

The data was also used to prepare a thorough equity analysis which determined that a higher percentage of crashes — particularly serious injury pedestrian crashes — occurred in low income and minority communities. This work was completed when equity analyses were less common. An equity analysis is now required by the Safe Streets and Roads for All grant program.

Double Crossover Diamond Interchange in Lexington
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

Louisville & Lexington, KY
United States