Wednesday August 23, 2017
On the Road
Motor City Safeguards
Government invests in more highway reader boards, school safety, roundabouts, intersection kid buttons
By Lindsay Olsen, ICBC
ew infrared video cameras to detect traffic congestion, safer school zones and two roundabouts – these are just some of the recent projects made possible by ICBC's ongoing investment in the safety of Fraser Valley roads.
Infrared video cameras were recently installed on Highway 1 in Rosedale (between Chilliwack and Hope) to reduce crashes. The cameras monitor traffic and when congestion is detected, a sign warns approaching drivers who may not be expecting the need to slow down.
Since 1992, ICBC has invested more than $45 million in 1,670 projects and studies in the Fraser Valley. In 2016 alone, ICBC invested $2.58 million in 189 projects in the region.
Along Prest Road off Highway 1 in Chilliwack, you'll notice two new roundabouts with dedicated lanes for cyclists and pedestrians. ICBC engineers conducted an independent audit of the corridor to determine how to reduce crashes most effectively for all road users. Roundabouts increase traffic flow by allowing drivers to continue, when safe, through the roundabout to make their turn rather than stopping and waiting. ICBC's invested in 76 roundabouts in B.C. over the last 20 years.
School zones in the Fraser Valley are now safer for children with ICBC's investment in over 50 projects in 2016 alone to slow traffic and improve safety for children. This includes new and upgraded crosswalks including flashing lights that are activated by pedestrians, adding corner bulges to curbs to slow traffic, improving visibility for drivers by adding reflective strips on school zone signs and marking special pedestrian zones, and adding countdown timers for children crossing the street along with new signals at intersections.
ICBC works with municipalities, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and other partners on projects as part of ICBC's award-winning road improvement program. These projects have made B.C. communities safer and advanced the knowledge of the road safety engineering industry across Canada.
With crashes, vehicle damage and injury claims continuing to increase in B.C., ICBC's road improvement program is showing positive results in reducing crashes and injuries at targeted locations. The most recent evaluation report shows a 24 per cent reduction, on average, in severe crashes – those resulting in serious injuries and fatalities – and a 15 per cent reduction in property damage claims after an improvement is completed.
The road improvement program is one aspect of ICBC's commitment to help make B.C. roads safer. ICBC's road safety investments focus on the systemic causes of crashes – drivers, roads and vehicles – and support programs that are proven to prevent crashes and help keep everyone safer.