Vision Zero Pilot Projects


Sometimes there are unique safety problems or issues that traditional transportation engineering tools or policies cannot solve. In these cases, Arlington’s transportation team must think outside the box to develop and test new, context-appropriate solutions. When we apply a new method for the first time, it is considered as a “pilot project.” 

What is a pilot safety project?

Arlington County staff apply pilot projects when a safety need arises in: 

  • A location where traditional methods have proven ineffective once implemented.  
  • A location with unique roadway or pathway configurations where traditional measures would not address the safety issue.  
  • A location where there is no precedent method to improve safety.  
  • A location were traditional methods are too costly to implement given available funding sources. 

Pilot projects require approval from Transportation Staff Leadership and entail at least a six-month time-frame for monitoring conditions/user behavior once in place.  

Location

County-wide: DES is implementing pilot safety projects throughout Arlington at locations identified either through (1) data analysis, including reviews of crash or behavior data, or (2) reports from the Arlington County Police Department, Arlington Public Schools, or members of the community.   

About the Project

Arlington County’s Vision Zero transportation safety program provides a comprehensive and holistic approach to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries. These pilot safety projects are a part of the greater Vision Zero program effort. They include any safety projects identified through programmatic analysis or community reports and are funded under either general funds or the Vision Zero safety program. 

Analysis

DES identifies pilot safety projects through analysis on both on an annual and ongoing basis:  

  • Annual Crash Analysis: Staff conduct a comprehensive annual analysis each year, which includes a review of the previous year’s crash patterns, as well as longer term crash trends and patterns. This includes:
    • A systemic review of common factors in severe/fatal crashes to identify high risk circumstances and roadway characteristics
    • A “Hot Spot” analysis that identifies individual intersections or locations that experience high numbers of crashes.

Following the annual crash analysis, staff identify and implement mitigation efforts to address the patterns and hot spots found through the crash analysis.

For more information on annual crash analysis, click here.   

  • Community-Reported Crash Analysis: Ad-hoc crash analysis is prompted by safety-related reports from County staff, our partners, or community members. These ad-hoc analyses focus on identifying specific needs or conditions related to a site.    

Implementation

Implementation of these pilot projects will occur on a rolling basis throughout the year. In 2021, we plan to install and monitor the pilot projects listed below. 

Current Pilot Safety Projects

Patrick Henry Drive & 18th Street N. School Crossing Pilot
  • Project Description: This pilot project added new school crossing signage, speed signage, and pavement markings intended to (1) reduce vehicle speed traveling on Patrick Henry Dr and (2) increase visibility and awareness of people crossing at 18th St N.
  • Safety Need: This intersection was identified in coordination with Arlington Public Schools in 2021 when Cardinal Elementary, a new neighborhood school, opened and generated more pedestrian activity across Patrick Henry Dr. Data collection on Patrick Henry Dr. confirmed speeding concerns cited by the community and led to this pilot project.  
  • Status/Timeline:
    • Collect "before" condition data collected on vehicle speeds and driver yield rates to people crossing in the crosswalk in March 2022
    • Begin pilot in April 2022 with an anticipated minimum six-month evaluation period
    • Actively monitor field conditions throughout the pilot with at least one data collection period to assess "after" conditions for vehicle speeds and driver yield rates to people crossing in the crosswalk
      • Vehicle speed and driver yield rates will be the performance measures for this analysis
    • Use findings from the pilot analysis to determine whether to add this same treatment countywide at all uncontrolled school crossing locations on arterial streets.
  • Additional Notes: This is a unique location where an uncontrolled school pedestrian crossing over an arterial (higher volume) roadway. The objective is to test the signage and marking treatments at this location and determine their impact on vehicle speeds and driver yielding behavior to crossing pedestrians. If impactful, this treatment will be considered at similar uncontrolled arterial pedestrian crosswalks near schools throughout the County.

     

Fort Myer Drive & Eastbound Langston Blvd (former Lee Hwy) Pilot
  • Project Description: This pilot project will (1) reduce vehicle turning conflicts with people walking or biking across the east leg of the intersection and (2) increase visibility and awareness of people crossing Langston Blvd (formerly Lee Highway) by removing one of the southbound Fort Myer Drive left turn lanes. Left turns will still be permitted from the far left lane.
  • Safety Need: This intersection was identified in the 2019 crash hot spot analyses and has a history of pedestrian crashes. With increased activity at Gateway Park to the north of the intersection and development construction to the south of the intersection, there is an immediate need to enhance safety for people walking, biking and rolling through the intersection.  
  • Status/Timeline: 
    • Begin pilot in August 2021 
    • Target pilot for one to three month implementation depending on conditions (Note: This pilot will require active monitoring from DES staff. Conditions at this intersection change rapidly and DES staff may need to adjust and/or end the pilot if unintended concerns are observed. Langston Blvd is a roadway owned and maintained by VDOT.) 
    • Actively monitor field conditions through the pilot period with at least one data collection period to assess vehicle yield rates and queue lengths  
  • Additional Notes: Arlington County staff worked in collaboration with the Rosslyn Business Improvement District (BID) to learn more about safety issues at this intersection
N Oak Street Walkability Improvement Pilot
  • Project Description: The County is piloting temporary barriers on N Oak Street between Clarendon Boulevard and 17th Street N to provide a walking path for pedestrians where there is currently no sidewalk. 
  • Safety Need: This project creates a safer path for people walking and biking on the west side of N Oak Street in this dense, high-volume area of Rosslyn. The need for a walking path is elevated due to a history of seven crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists between 2017 and 2021.  
  • Status / Timeline:  
    • Begin pilot in spring 2021 
    • Monitor pilot through summer 2021 with at least one data collection/observational checkpoint 
    • Gather community feedback on the pilot toward the end of summer 2021 
  • Additional Notes: The pedestrian pathway is created by adding a barrier between the travel lane and the curb. This will slightly narrow the southbound lane, but access for vehicles, including the driveway to the coffee shop, will be retained.
Military Road and Nelly Custis Drive
  • Project Description: The County is piloting a temporary roundabout to increase the number of pedestrian crossings at the intersection of Military Road and Nelly Custis Drive. The goals of the project are to increase driver yield rates, shorten crossing distances for people walking through the intersection, provide predictable vehicle turning movements, and reduce vehicle speeding.
  • The results of this pilot installation will inform the final design of safety improvements that will be implemented as the last phase of the Military Road Safety Improvements Project.
  • Safety Need: The motivation for this project is to provide people who walk and cycle a safe environment to navigate a very large intersection with low yield rates to pedestrians. The roundabout will provide additional crosswalks and predictable turning movements for vehicles entering the intersection.
  • Status/Timeline:
    • Pilot installed October 2021
    • Monitor pilot over 1 year with multiple data collection points
      • Next major data collection: Spring 2022
    • Gather community feedback on the pilot during the 1-year period
      • Public engagement opportunity planned for Spring 2022
  • Additional Notes: At a community meeting held on June 10, 2021, attendees heard about completed construction along Military Road at Marcey Road and 36th Street North, and learned about the feedback received and studies performed for pilot safety treatments to the intersection of Military Road and Nelly Custis Drive. Staff gave a short presentation on the project, followed by a question and answer session. You also can view the meeting recording.

Comments? Questions? Please reach out to the project team

Email the project team

Past Pilot Safety Projects

Lorcom Lane Walkability Improvement Pilot
  • Project Description: The County, in partnership with Arlington Public Schools, is piloting temporary parking restrictions on Lorcom Lane between N Oakland Street and N Quebec Street to provide a walking path for pedestrians and kids walking to and from school.
  • Safety Need: The primary motivation for this project is to create a safer walking path for students accessing Dorothy Hamm Middle School. The need for a walking path is elevated due to COVID-19 and transportation challenges for school children as walking to school is now encouraged to limit the number of students on buses. 
  • Status / Timeline:  
  • Next Steps:
  • Maintain buffered area given high usage, positive community feedback, and observed benefits from separating cars, bikes, and pedestrians. 
  • Apply safety project prioritization criteria to assess options for capital project to build new sidewalks on this segment.  
  • Enhance communication to discourage pedestrian use of bike lanes.
  • Maintain communication with residential and school community members on buffered area use and experiences. 
S Carlin Springs Road Walkability Improvement Pilot
  • Project Description: The northbound right travel lane of S Carlin Springs Rd from 8th Place S heading north to 5th Road S was temporarily closed using bollards, wheel stops, barriers, and traffic barrels. The goal of the pilot was to create a safer walking path for students accessing Campbell Elementary School, Carlin Springs Elementary School, and Kenmore Middle School. This area has narrow sidewalks, little or no pedestrian buffer, and a history of crashes. The additional buffer for pedestrians was intended to improve walking and biking conditions for those along the corridor. Since travel changes related to the COVID-19 pandemic, traffic volumes are much lower along S Carlin Springs Road, which allowed for the temporary lane closure.  
  • Safety Need: Identified through the 2017 hot spots program (S Carlin Springs Road from 7th Road S to County line) and through collaboration and coordination with Arlington Public Schools in 2017 (S Carlin Springs Road from 7th Road S to Arlington Blvd/US-50).  
  • Status / Timeline:  
  • Next Steps: Staff will continue to assess options for enhancing sidewalks and access along the corridor, including connectivity options when the County redevelops the Virginia Hospital Center site.

Funding

Some projects are funded through the general operating fund. Others are funded through the Vision Zero program under the Arlington County Capital Improvement Plan and are funded by a mix of state and local sources.