Nov. 4, 2013

Cornell Local Roads Program wins national honors

The Roadway Safety Foundation and the Federal Highway Administration honored the Cornell Local Roads Program for developing inspection kits to improve rural sign safety Nov. 6 in Washington, D.C.

Civil engineering student Larry Lin ’12 was hired to work with three county highway departments in western New York in 2011 to assess current road signs’ compliance with new standards of sign retroreflectivity.

Lin and Cornell Local Roads Program engineers created an inexpensive sign inspection kit using clear overhead projector sheets that cost less than $50 each in materials. The kit can quickly confirm the level of retroreflectivity of signs in the field. Sign technicians in Wyoming County, N.Y., inspected all of their signs in three nights with the kit.

“Cornell Local Roads Program and a remarkable student intern named Larry Lin took a daunting task for counties in New York state and made it both manageable and affordable,” said Greg Cohen, executive director of the Roadway Safety Foundation. “Their well thought out solution turned out to be a simple one, which we hope to see replicated.”

The Federal Highway Administration and the Roadway Safety Foundation present the biennial National Roadway Safety Awards to programs and projects across the nation exhibiting excellence in roadway design, operations and planning. Award recipients are evaluated on innovation, effectiveness and efficient use of resources in such categories as infrastructure improvements, operational improvements, development and evaluation.

Roadway safety programs seek to save lives and prevent injuries on the nation’s highways. More than 32,000 people killed were in traffic crashes on U.S. roads in 2011.