Sumter group adopts S.C. road safety goals

Wrecks, fatalities will be measured to find out if Sumter projects make a difference

BY ADRIENNE SARVIS
adrienne@theitem.com
Posted 2/27/18

With one day to spare, Sumter Urban Area Transportation Study approved a motion to adopt safety performance measure goals established by South Carolina Department of Transportation, which will be used to evaluate the success of Sumter County's …

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Sumter group adopts S.C. road safety goals

Wrecks, fatalities will be measured to find out if Sumter projects make a difference

Posted

With one day to spare, Sumter Urban Area Transportation Study approved a motion to adopt safety performance measure goals established by South Carolina Department of Transportation, which will be used to evaluate the success of Sumter County's long-range transportation projects, or road improvement projects.

The group had until today to adopt locally or state-established safety performance measures.

The goals will let the public know if money spent on road improvement projects is beneficial to motorists and non-motorists by evaluating things such as wrecks and fatalities, Mark Pleasant, SCDOT director of planning, said.

"It shows where the money makes a difference," he said.

The safety targets - requirements of the Federal Highway Administration - include the number of fatalities, rate of fatalities, number of serious injuries, rate of serious injuries and the number of non-motorized fatalities and non-motorized serious injuries with the goal of reducing the numbers in each category.

According to FHA's website, SUATS - Sumter County's Metropolitan Planning Organization - and other MPOs had the option to accept the safety target goals established by SCDOT, establish their own target goals or use a combination of state and locally established targets.

Pleasant said the state's safety performance measure targets will be based on five years of data -2014 through 2018 - regarding information such as road usage, wrecks and other things. Though the numbers for 2018 cannot not be evaluated yet because the year is not over, the numbers were predicted based on past figures, he said.

None of the SUATS members expressed disinterest in the safety performance measures proposed by the state, but State Rep. Murrell Smith, R-Sumter, asked if adopting the state's target numbers for evaluation would eventually redirect funds from Sumter County to other areas of the state, with counties that have higher rates of wrecks or more vehicles on the roads receiving more funding.

Rural areas need the same amount of attention as urban areas, he said.

Rep. David Weeks, D-Sumter, said he also does not want Sumter County to lose some of its funding by choosing to become "state players."

Pleasant said there will be an eligibility process for funding allocation but said those kinds of changes did not seem likely.

Smith urged SUATS members and city and county officials to keep records of state allocations and safety target goals moving forward.

These conversations have taken place throughout the state, and other MPOs have asked these same questions, Pleasant said.

There will be opportunities in the future, he said, for MPOs to adjust local safety target goals.