Technology Transfer Newsletter
Volume 19, Number 2 - August 2002

Connecticut Transportation Institute's Technology Transfer Center
University of Connecticut, School of Engineering

PAGE 1 (front cover)

Article Title: Technology Transfer Expo 2002: Bigger and Better than Ever

Article Text:
Join us for Technology Transfer Expo 2002 on September 18 at the University of Connecticut's Depot Campus in Storrs, from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm, rain or shine. The Connecticut Technology Transfer Center is pleased to once again be hosting this annual outdoor exposition with the Connecticut Highway Street Supervisor Association.

With more vendors, more demonstrations, and more educational displays than ever before, this year's event promises to be an exceptional opportunity to learn more about the public works products, services and resources you need.

Participating vendors, public service agancies and professional organizations that will be rpresented include:

  • 3M Traffic Control Materials Division
  • Advanced Drainage Systems, Inc.
  • Atlantic Broom Service, Inc.
  • Bacher Corp. of Connecticut
  • BART Truck Equipment Co., Inc.
  • Bear Com
  • Bobcat of Connecticut, Inc.
  • C.N. Wood of Connecticut, LLC
  • Carey Wiping Materials Corp.
  • Connecticut Construction Industries Association (CCIA)
  • Connecticut Highway Street Supervisor Association (CHSSA)
  • Connecticut Department of Transportation
  • Connecticut Technology Transfer Center
  • Connecticut Transportation Institute
  • Devine Hydraulics, Inc.
  • DPP Associates
  • East Coast Sign & Supply, Inc.
  • East PBE, Inc.
  • Federal Highway Administration - Connecticut Division
  • Flint Trading
  • Franklin Paint Co., Inc.
  • Freightliner of Hartford, Inc.
  • Garrity Asphalt Reclaiming
  • Genalco, Inc.
  • Gorman Bros., Inc.
  • H.O. Penn
  • Hudson Liquid Asphalt Company
  • Industrial Safety & Supply
  • Jamieson Distributors, Inc.
  • Kahn Tractor & Equipment, Inc.
  • Marcus
  • Nicard Enterprises, LLC
  • New York Bituminous Products
  • Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)
  • R.W. Thompson Co., Inc.
  • Reed Systems, Ltd.
  • Rock, Rubber & Supply, Inc.
  • S & D Supply, LLC
  • Signal 54 Training
  • Superior Equipment and Supplies
  • T.T. Technologies, Inc.
  • The W.I. Clark Company
  • Traffic Safety & Signs, Inc.
  • Tri-County Contractors' Supply, Inc.
  • Tyler Equipment
  • United Rentals
  • Vermeer Northeast
  • W.H. Rose, Inc.

The Expo will also include more entertaining opportunities to show off your expertise and learn by doing. This year's skills competition will consist of public works challenge, open to municipal employees only, where contestants will be required to demonstrate proficiency in several different areas. The TT/CHSSA Expo Challenge will include the ever-popular backhoe competition as well as many other routine tasks that maintenance staff face daily. Prizes will be awarded to the top three overall challenge winners.

Technology Transfer EXPO 2002 is free and open to all. For complimentary tickets, please contact the Connecticut Technology Transfer Center at 860-486-5400.

There's still time to register for the TT/CHSSA EXPO Challenge.
Please call Mary McCarthy at 860-486-1384.



Article Title: By the Way•

Author: Donna Shea, Director of the Technology Transfer Center

Article Text:

Connecticut Construction Career Day...
will be held on October 8 and 9, 2002, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Mountainside Recreational Facility in Wallingford, CT. This event is a unique partnership between government, labor, and business to expose high school age youth to opportunities in the construction industry.

Since March 1999, 61,162 students have participated in these events nationally. In Connecticut, we expect to have 1,200 students participate over the two-day event. The Connecticut Construction Career day is being sponsored by the Connecticut Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Connecticut Construction Industries Association, Connecticut Technology Transfer Center, Connecticut Bituminous Concrete Producers Association, and several Connecticut trade unions.

The program will include interactive exhibits, trade industry displays, and demonstration projects - all requiring student involvement. Supervised by construction professionals, students may participate in hands-on activities including the operation of heavy equipment such as bulldozers, excavators and rollers.

Skilled trades people will demonstrate crafts such as bricklaying, concrete finishing, welding, plumbing, electrical installation, materials testing and pipe laying. Technology-based careers associated with construction, such as architecture, engineering, estimating and surveying will also be represented.

Jeff Cathcart, Coordinator of the Rhode Island Construction Career Days, says, "Students who come to Construction Career Days can expect to spend the day learning by doing. There is no better way to experience what a typical day is like in the construction industry than getting a little dirt under your fingernails and some concrete on your jeans."

The Connecticut Technology Transfer Center is very proud to be a part of this effort and we look forward to a successful first Construction Career Day.



Article Title: Intersection Safety: Myth versus Reality

Article Text:

Traffic engineering decisions about intersection safety are often the product of factors and relationships that are more complex than the casual observer may realize. In many cases, evaluating potential solutions to crash or violation problems may reveal aspects of intersection safety and efficiency that are in conflict with one another. In reality, traffic engineers must always consider a balance between managing safety and improving intersection operations before making their final choice for intersection control.

The driving public has developed a number of misconceptions about traffic control solutions over the years. The following information attempts to expose some of those myths and shed light on the rationale behind certain traffic control decisions.

MYTH 1: Installing signals always makes intersections safer.

REALITY: The installation of unwarranted signals, or signals that operate improperly, can create situations where overall intersection congestion is increased, which in turn can create aggressive driving behavior.

When more complex signal phasing causes longer waiting times at intersections, both drivers and pedestrians tend to become impatient and violate red lights, or drivers are tempted to cut through neighborhood streets. This subjects local residents to a greater risk of collisions, worse congestion and more noise and air pollution.

Clearly, traffic diversion to side streets is an undesirable side effect of long cycle lengths and congestion. This diverted traffic may increase risk on the side streets, but the cause of this increased safety risk should not be attributed to the new signal.

Additional traffic safety measures are sometimes necessary to offset increased traffic and speeding through neighborhood streets. One way of improving waiting times at an intersection with a new signal is to make sure the minor street waiting times are less than they were before installation of the signal. This improvement will encourage motorists to use signals on main roads instead of neighborhood streets.

On occassion, other traffic control options, such as stop control or the introduction of roundabouts, can perform as well as, or even better than, signals in managing both vehicle and pedestrian traffic safety at intersections. This is particularly true when signals are inappropriately placed at locations where traffic volume is relatively low. Intersections with signals that have very low traffic volumes tend to tempt drivers and pedestrians to violate that red light.

MYTH 2: Having a stop sign is always better than no stop sign.
-OR- More stop signs are always safer than fewer stop signs.

REALITY: Unwarranted stop signs create problems at both the intersection and along the roadway by:

  • Encouraging motorists to drive faster between intersections in order to save time. Placing stops signs on every low-volume local street promotes speeding between the stop signs as drivers try to offset the delays caused by stopping at every intersection;
  • Encouraging violation of traffic laws. As the number of stop signs increase so that nearly every intersection has one, the rate of stop sign violations tends to increase;
  • Encouraging the use of alternate routes. Placing too many stop signs in some areas often causes traffic to use other neighborhood routes to avaoid a sequence of intersections that may be controlled by stop signs; and
  • Increasing the chance that drivers will disregard conflicting vehicle and pedestrian traffic, whioch raises the risk of collisions.

There is no evidence to indicate that stop signs decrease the overall speed of traffic. Impatient drivers view the additional delay caused by unwarranted stop signs as "lost time" to be made up by driving at higher speeds between stop signs.

Unwarranted stop signs breed contempt in motorists who tend to ignore them or only slow down without stopping. This can sometimes lead to tragic consequences.

Stop signs should never be installed as a routine, cure-all approach to curtail speeding, prevent collisions at intersections, or discourage traffic from entering a neighborhood. Stop signs should be installed only after an engineering study determines that there is a need. Stop signs are not a solution to intersection safety problems caused by poor sight distances and deficient road design.

MYTH 3: Installing stop signs on all approaches (four-way stop) to an
intersection will always result in fewer accidents.

Four-way stop signs do not necessarily improve pedestrian or vehicle safety. In fact, pedestrians in stop sign congested neighborhoods often have a false sense of security about crossing local streets with four-way stop signs. The application of traffic control devices, to the casual observer, often creates this sense of security, but in reality may actually increase safety risk. If control devices are improperly applied, they can create confusion between the pedestrian and the driver as to who has the right of way, thereby increasing the risk that one of the two will make an improper decision resulting in serious consequences.

Placing four-way stop signs on roads of very unequal design, speed and traffic colume will tend to promote stop sign violations by drivers, especially on main roads. Driver expectancies are violated in situations like this and when this occurs, improper actions result that can increase safety risk at intersections.

Placing four-way stop signs at every intersection where there were formerly only two-way stop signs also usually increases congestion. Four-way stop signs should only be considered after an engineering study and a capacity analysis are performed.

Generally, every state requires the installation of traffic control devises, including stop signs, to meet state standards of the department of transportation. The state standards are based on the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). The MUTCD is the national standard for traffic control devices. It prescribes standards for the design, location, use and operation of traffic control devices.

An on-line downloadable version of the MUTCD is located on the FHWA web site
Copies of the MUTCD are also available on loan from the Connecticut Technology Transfer Center. If you would like to borrow the manual, please call the Center at (860) 486-5400.

MYTH 4: Signals are always better than stop signs.

REALITY: Installing stop signs instead of signals when there is no intersection traffic control, increasing the size or visibility of existing stop signs, or placing them in a better location often increases both vehicle and pedestrian safety without the initial expense and later maintenance costs of signals. While waiting for signals to qualify for installation, the substantial amount of money saved can be used to make roads safer.

-excerpted from "Intersection Safety Briefing Sheet No. 10," Federal Highway Administration, 2002.



Article Title: Basic Countermeasures to Make Intersections Safer

Article Text:

Collisions occur at intersections because motor vehicles are in conflict with each other when crossing or turning in traffic. Improving the engineering of intersections is the first step toward reducing accidents because vehicle conflicts, combined with flawed highway or street design and poor signage, often result in collisions of vehicles with roadside objects, pedestrians and other vehicles.

Types of Collisions at Intersections:

Crossing collisions occur when one vehicle strikes another; these are the most severe types of crashes. They can result from vehicles attempting to drive straight through or turning within an intersection.

Rear-end collisions are common at intersections. They can result from poor street design or inadequate engineering measures, but usually are the result of dangerous driver behavior such as speeding, following too closely, or braking too late.

Side-swipe collisions
are less common at intersections than crossing or rear-end collisions. Side-swipe collisions result from vehicles changing lanes improperly.

Pedestrian and bicycle collisions occur most frequently in urban areas, particularly with older and younger age groups. In year 2000, 34% of pedestrian deaths among people age 65 and older, and 10% of pedestrian deaths among children age 4 and younger occur at intersections. Only 2% of motor vehicle-related deaths involved bicycles, but 33% of these deaths occurred in intersections.(FARS, 2000)

Intersection Crashes Have Multiple Causes:

Poor physical design of of both intersections and their approach roadways. Amajor aspect of safety design is sight distances. With restricted sight distance, drivers do not have enough time to stop or avoid hitting a pedestrian or another vehicle.

Inadequate traffic engineering: In some cases, traffic control devices, such as signs, are improperly used, placed in the wrong locations, too small to be seen, or have suffered damage or deterioration. In other instances, the growing number of cars on the road has outpaced formerly acceptable traffic engineering measures.

Driver licensing and education often fails to train drivers to safely negotiate intersections. Some drivers do not know the basic traffic laws, they fail to understand what certain signs and pavement markings mean, or they do not respect the rights and safety needs of pedestrians.(FHWA, "Stop Red Light Running Facts," May 2002)

Drivers disregard traffic controls at intersections. Even knowledgeable drivers sometimes disregard the clear messages of traffic control devices - including stop signs, signals and pavement markings - and repeatedly violate traffic laws. Combined with speeding, disregard for traffic control at intersections is a major source of serious crashes. Driver distractions, such as cell phone use and inattention, and drug and alcohol use, are additional human factors that cause accidents with death and injuries.

Countermeasures to Improve Intersection Safety:

Safety problems must be identified by an engineering review. The most important thing to remember when improving safety at intersections is that countermeasures that improve vehicle traffic flow or reduce vehicle crashes should not compromise pedestrian safety.

There are three strategic decisions to consider when improving intersection safety design and operation:

  1. Eliminate vehicle and pedestrian conflicts when possible;
  2. Reduce unavoidable vehicle and pedestrian conflicts to lower the chances for collisions; and
  3. Design intersections so that when collisions do occur, they are less severe.

Traffic engineering strategies to improve movement of vehicles and pedestrians are crucial to improving intersection safety. These consist of a wide range of devices and operational changes such as:

  • Addition of Turn Lanes
    Turn lanes are used to separate turning traffic from through traffic. Studies have shown that providing turn lanes for left-turning vehicles can reduce accidents by about 32 percent. Personal injury accidents involving left-turning vehicles can be decreased by as much as 50 percent. Separating right-turning vehicles from other vehicles can significantly affect operations at an intersection. By adding a separate right turn lane at an intersection with a signal, the delay experienced by drivers on an approach can be reduced. At intersections without a signal, right turn lanes can safely remove turning vehicles that are slowing down in through traffic lanes. Turn lanes at major driveways can also improve safety, especially on high volume or high speed roadways.

  • Signals
    Increase the size of signal heads from 8 to 12 inches to increase their visibilty; provide separate signals over each lane; install higher intensity signal lenses; and change the length of signal cycles, including the yellow clearance interval and the all-red phases.

  • Non-traditional Intersection Design
    Consideration of non-traditional intersection designs such as roundabouts or traffic circles.

  • Pavement Condition
    Upgrade pavement quality to better drain the road and resist skidding.

  • Improve Drivers' Sight Distance
    Restrict parking near intersections and move stop lines back from intersections.

  • Upgrade and Supplement Signs
    Enforcing laws that prohibit dangerous intersection driving is a necessity to even well-designed and regulated intersections. Enforcement must be consistent because motorists who tend to violate traffic control are aware that the chances of receiving a citation are low. Sustained law enforcement efforts have been proven to lower both intersection violations and crash rates, sopmetimes to a dramatic extent.

-from "Intersection Safety Briefing Sheet No. 2," Federal Highway Administration, 2002.



Article Title: About the Intersection Safety Briefing Sheets

Article Text:

The Federal Highway Adminstration, in cooperation with Advocates for Highway Safety and the Institute of Transportation Engineers, has developed a toolkit containing a series of briefing sheets on various intersection safety-related topics.

The purpose of the toolkit is to enhance communications with the media, decision makers, the general public, and others, about intersection safety. The primary audiences are decision makers and officials who are called upon to comment or make decisions on intersection issues, including:

  • Chief Administrative Officers of departments of transportation
  • Mayors and other local officials
  • Traffic and safety engineers at the federal, state and local levels; and
  • Law enforcement officers, predominantly at the state and local levels

The briefing sheets could also be used by a far wider audience of people and organizations who want to promote intersection safety wihtin their area of influence.

The topical areas that are included within the intersection safety communications toolkit include:

  • The National Intersection Safety Problem
  • Basic Countermeasures to Make intersections Safer
  • Pedestrian Safety at Intersections
  • Human Factors Issues in Intersection Safety
  • Intersection Safety Enforcement
  • Traffic Control Devices: Uses and Misuses
  • Red Light-Running Issues
  • Red-Light Cameras
  • Workzone Intersection Safety
  • Intersection Safety: Myth versus Reality
  • Intersection Safety: Resources

The intersection safety briefing sheets are available in print form from the Connecticut technology Transfer Center (contact us by phone (860) 486-5400, fax (860) 486-2399, or use our on-line request form at They are also available in electronic format from the Federal Highway Administration web site at, and from the Institute of Transportation Engineers web site at the briefing sheets are available for other organizations to use and post on their web sites. The goal is to provide this information to the widest audience possible within the education, law enforcement, and engineering communities, and to the general public.



Article Title: Drive as Though Your Life Depends On It - Observe Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day

Article Text:
October 10, 2002 is the second annual Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day. The campaign asks that we all focus on our own individual behavior when using America's roadway - as pedestrians, bicycle and motorcycle operators, motor vehicle operators and passengers. Everyone is urged to take an extra measure of care to ensure their safety and the safety of others by sharing roadways in a safe manner.

Traffic crashes cause an average of 115 fatalities every day - that's one death every 13 minutes. After a steady 20 year decline in the number of traffic fatalities, that number has stagnated at about 42,000 per year. While last year's campaign resulted in a 29% reduction in fatalities on October 10, 2001, we have to go further. Imagine a day with no traffic deaths, and put the brakes on fatalities!

The goal is to unite the country in achieving one full day of zero traffic deaths by encouraging the public to reduce the tragic toll of motor vehicle crashes by taking pro-active steps such as:

  • Driving as if your life depends on it - that means courteously and defensively
  • Not driving while impaired, distracted, or in an aggressive manner
  • Buckling up on every trip, every time
  • Using properly installed child safety seats for children 8 and under
  • Not speeding
  • Slowing down to posted speed limits in construction zones
  • Keeping vehicles and tires properly maintained
  • Wearing appropriate protective gear when bicycling, skating, or riding a motorcycle or scooter
  • Always stopping, looking left, right, left before crossing streets
  • Working with local officials to improve roadway safety

America's roadway system is among the world's best. Through the development of safer vehicles and specialized safety equipment, upgraded laws, better roadways, and educational programs to address safety behaviors, we have come a long way in reducing fatalities on the nation's roadways. Nut all of our progress in these areas can bring us just so far. In the end, each roadway user is the key to safety.

For additional information on how you can promote and observe Put the Brakes on fatalities Day, visit the web site at

Article Title: How to Be a Master and a Scholar

Article Text:
If you are a Road Master Program graduate, beginning September 1, 2002 you will be eligible to participate in the Technology Transfer Center's new Road Scholar Program. The Road Scholar Program is a series of advanced training courses designed for individuals currently in, or interested in pursuing, supervisory positions.

In order to complete the certificate program, participants must attend the four required workshops - Supervisory Skills, Asset Management, Safety/Risk Management, and Communication Skills II - as well as two elective workshops that will be offered on various topics each year.

The first of our Road Scholar Program workshops will be a one day course on Supervisory Skills, October 8 in Storrs, Connecticut. To register, call (860) 486-5400 for a brochure, or visit our web site at

For additional information about the Road Scholar Program, please call Mary McCarthy at (860) 486-1384.



Article Title: National Organization Honors State for Local Area Bridge Project

Article Text:
Last November, Connecticut receibed the State Award from the National Partnership for Highway Quality (NPHQ) for the Thread City Crossing project in Windham, Connecticut. Thread City Crossing, known locally as the Frog Bridge, is a four lane structure over the Willimantic River. The new structure, which replaces an existing stone arch structure that was too narrow and had restricted vertical clearance, enables safer and more efficient traffic flow through the downtown historic area. Adorning the ends of the bridge are 10-foot bronze frogs inspired bya 350-year old legend that gives the town its nickname "Frog City." The project was completed at a cost of $14.6 million and nearly a year ahead of schedule.

National Partnership for Highway Quality (NPHQ) is the successor name of the former National Quality Initiative. NPHQ is dedicated to continuous quality improvement in the planning, design, construction and maintenance operations of the nation's highways. NPHQ is the only nationally formed organization that combines public- and private-sector highway expertise to promote keeping the nation's highway system in the highest possible quality condition and to improve its safety and service to the public.

NPHQ award winners were selected on the basis of the following criteria: quality process and results, customer focus, teamwork, innovation and value, and long term improvement.

-excerpted from "Highway Quality Awards" in Public Roads, Federal Highway Administration, March/April 2002.

Article Title: From Our Resource Library

Article Text:
To request any of the following materials, please contact us by phone at (860) 486-5400 or use our new on-line request form at Publications are free while supplies last. Videotapes may be borrowed for up to two weeks free of charge.

Gravel Roads Maintenance and Design Manual, Federal Highway Administration Professional Development Services Business Unit.

This manual provides clear and helpful information for doing a better job of maintaining gravel roads. Presents guidelines to help answer questions about the maintenance of gravel roads. Designed for the benefit of elected officials, managers, and grader operators who are responsible for designing and maintaining gravel roads.

It's About Time: Traffic Signal Management - Cost Effective Street Capacity and Safety
, Federal Highway Administration Operations Core Business Unit, 13 minutes.

This video demonstrates the importance and benefits of maintaining optimized and current traffic signal timing plans, and investing resources in traffic signal systems. Local officials describe the benefits of traffic signal management and improvements. Describes techniques used, types of signal systems and how to implement plans.

Road Maintenance Video Set, USDA Forest Service, 83 total minutes.

This is a five-part video series developed for USDA Forest Service equipment operators. It focuses on evironmentally sensitive ways of maintaining low volume roads.

  • Video 1 - Forest Roads and the Environment (16 minutes)

  • Video 2 - Reading the Traveled Way (18 minutes)

  • Video 3 - Reading Beyond the Traveled Way (17 minutes)

  • Video 4 - Smoothing and Reshaping the Traveled Way (16 minutes)

  • Video 5 - Maintaining the Ditch and Surface Cross Drains (18 minutes)


PAGE 8 (back cover)


TT/CHSSA Technology Transfer Expo 2002
September 18 in Storrs

Surveying Methods for Local Roads
Connecticut Road Master Program Elective Workshop
September 24 in Storrs - September 25 in Storrs

Supervisory Skills
Connecticut Road Scholar Program Required Workshop
(Preference will be given to graduates of the CT Road Master Program)
October 8 in Hartford

Connecticut Construction Career Day
October 8 in Wallingford - October 9 in Wallingford

Fundamentals of Analyzing and Solving Local Traffic Problems
Connecticut Municipal Legal Traffic Authority Required Workshop
October 15 in Stamford - October 16 in Hartford - October 17 in Storrs

Planning and Managing Local Road Snow and Ice Control Activities
Connecticut Road Master Program Required Workshop
November 4 in Storrs - November 5 in Storrs - November 6 in Hartford

Please take advantage of our on-line workshop registration form at:

"Technology Transfer" is published by the Connecticut Transportation Institute's Technology Transfer Center, Phone (860) 486-5400, Fax (860) 486-2399. Supported through a cooperative effort of the Connecticut Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration's Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) to provide information on the latest transportation technology to Connecticut's state and local government officials.

Director: Donna Shea (
Workshop Coordinator: Mary McCarthy (
Information Services Coordinator/Editor: Stephanie Merrall (

End of "Technology Transfer" Newsletter - Volume 19, Number 2, August 2002


Technology Transfer Center
270 Middle Turnpike, Unit 5202
Storrs, CT 06269-5202
(860) 486-5400