Topic: What is WSU doing to address travel safety concerns?
Recent challenges/opportunities: The most commonly traveled route by students to WSU’s Pullman campus can be dangerous because it is a two-lane highway with heavy traffic following the WSU break/holiday schedule, suffers inclement winter weather, and encounters typical distracted driving. There was an outcry across campus after a fatal car incident involving a group of students returning to school from winter break. There had been a lack of well-coordinated efforts between WSU and community/state agencies to communicate on the dangers associated with peak travel times along this corridor.
- A driver’s safety committee was established in February 2017 that includes WSU staff and students, Washington State Dept. of Transportation (WSDOT), State Patrol, and community partners.
- The committee outlined a timeline of heavy and higher risk travel and developed a communication plan to promote safe driving practices (Don’t text and drive, drowsy driving campaigns, etc.) utilizing social media, variable messaging signage set up along these routes, creation of safety videos between ASWSU, WSDOT, and State Patrol, and other outlets.
Current/future areas of emphasis or next steps: The state legislature passed a bill that allocated $400K to be used for improvements specifically to SR26 (route to Seattle) and US195 (route to Spokane). The funds are being used as follows:
- Two remote weather information stations (including cameras) were set up on SR26 to provide drivers with a visual of the roads ahead. This information is now being utilized by students and other drivers.
- Support for an intern with Palouse Regional Transportation planning organization is facilitating development and implementation of proactive and educational outreach to students and drivers.
- The remaining funds along with some additional funding will enable the placement of at least one permanent variable message sign to be installed during summer 2018 along the route. (Eastbound near Vantage and another near Colfax).
For more information at WSU:
NWCCU Standards Reference: 2.D.2