New Community Transportation Plan Set For Implementation Soon

During the Community Safety Summit held on Tuesday 12 March this year at Franklin Elementary School, most of the discussion revolved around the update to the city’s Community Transportation Safety Plan. It has been more than five years since the Missoula Metropolitan Planning Organization (MMPO) have implemented a transportation safety plan which aimed to reduce traffic injuries and fatalities by at least 25 percent. While many of the targets set out in the original plan have been met, the time has come to draw up a revised plan that will reduce road accident injuries and deaths even more in the future.

What does the plan entail?

Back in 2013, three areas of focus – namely unrestrained occupants, impaired drivers, and intersection crashes – were identified. Despite the strategies employed and efforts made, intersection crashes remain at the top of the list of safety issues that require urgent intervention.This is not surprising since, during the 5-year period from 2013 and 2017, approximately 5,160 intersection accidents were reported in Missoula, with distracted driving contributing to as many as 4,608 crashes. In total, 11,277 motor vehicle accidents, 406 serious injuries, and 38 fatalities were recorded on in Missoula during the time. Despite many accidents still occurring, there was also good news to be shared at the meeting. According to Aaron Wilson transportation planning manager for the Missoula Metropolitan Planning Organization, serious and fatal injuries were reduced by as much as 35% during the previous 5 years.

What is the way forward?

The MMPO requested the public to devise plans that may contribute towards making Vision Zero, a state-wide scheme to eradicate injury and death on the roads of Montana, achievable. A number of ideas focused on education, engineering, and policy making and enforcement. Some policy proposals addressed more effective snow removal, better lighting and road maintenance, and supplementary law enforcement. The MMPO will draw up a new plan of action that will be available to the public for review later this spring.

Staying safe on the roads of Missoula

While a revised Community Transportation Safety Plan may see a big reduction in the number of road accidents, it remains the responsibility of every road user to practice road safety at all times. Simple safety measures such as always wearing a seatbelt, never driving while under the influence of alcohol, and staying off your cellphone while driving, can reduce the number of road incidents significantly. Keeping your car well-maintained by regularly checking everything from your windows and tires to brakes and fluid levels will also reduce your risk of being in an accident. Taking out suitable coverage against injury and vehicle damage, on the other hand, can help you prepare for the unexpected should you find yourself in an untoward situation. Always make sure your policies are up to date and make regular inspections to ensure that you are covered against all possible eventualities.

The community of Missoula is determined to make the roads of the city safer for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians alike. Once the new safety plan has been drafted, all parties concerned will be able to work together towards achieving their target of safe roads for all.