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.  

Pilot Site Selection  

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 and (b) “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.
  • Ongoing - 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.    
 

Open Pilot Safety Projects

Tactical Speed Humps Pilot

  • Project Description: Arlington has not added new speed humps in the last decade due to a countywide moratorium. This initiative reintroduces speed humps via a limited pilot focused on reducing speeds in school slow zones where data shows the introduction of 20mph speed limits has not lowered speeds. (A school slow zone is a permanent 20mph speed limit on a neighborhood street within 600ft of a key school access point.
    The county installed 20mph school slow zones around 13 schools in 2022 (Phase 1) and another 14 schools in 2023 (Phase 2). The remaining 19 school zones in Arlington will be updated in 2024 (Phase 3). Learn more here.) The pilot will use tactical speed humps because they are easy to both install and remove quickly if needed. They are cost effective, tested for durability, and made from 100% recycled material. View the pilot info sheet to learn more.(PDF, 488KB) Pilot locations include:
    • Cardinal Elementary School: 19th St N btw. N Madison St & N Lexington St
    • Hoffman Boston Elementary School: S Queen St btw. 12th St S and 13th Rd S
    • Gunston Middle School: S Lang St btw. Arlington Ridge Rd and 28th St S
  • Safety Need: Reducing vehicle speeds is fundamental to reducing severe crashes. Staff collected speed data on segments that were viable candidates for speed humps within the Phase 1 school slow zones and selected the three locations with the highest speeds for the pilot. Additional speed hump sites may be considered in school slow zones following this initial pilot.
  • Status/Timeline:
    • Fall 2023: Install speed humps 
    • Winter 2023: Monitor locations and collect data 
    • Spring 2024: Conduct public engagement to gather community feedback
    • Summer 2024: Identify next steps for the pilot 

S Glebe Rd & S Old Glebe Road Temporary Bus Platform Safety Pilot

  • Project Description: In 2021, we conducted a High-Injury Network (HIN) audit of Glebe Rd from I-66 to Columbia Pike. During the audit various locations were flagged for additional safety treatments, including the intersection of S Glebe Rd & S Old Glebe Rd due to a five-lane uncontrolled crossing and wide intersection geometry. To install a tactical project at this location, we needed a way to provide seamless access to the existing bus stop, which led to the decision to pilot a temporary/tactical bus loading platform. The bus platform will replace the underutilized right turn lane at this intersection, which will slow turning vehicles and reduce the crossing lengths at the intersection. The project will also add a tactical median to remove all left turn conflicts at the intersection. After collaboration with VDOT staff, we finalized a design and are in the process of procuring the materials to launch the pilot in spring 2024. View the pilot info sheet.(PDF, 837KB)
  • Safety Need: The intersection was identified for safety improvements due to: (1) pedestrian safety at an uncontrolled, five-lane crossing with no refuge and (2) risk of angle crashes due to intersection geometry, sight lines, and speeds.
  • Status/Timeline:
    • Winter/Spring 2024: Install tactical improvements
    • Summer 2024: Monitor site
    • Fall 2024: Collect data and conduct public engagement to gather community feedback
    • Winter 2024/25: Identify next steps for the pilot 

 

Temporary Road Closure for Oakridge Elementary School Drop-off/Pick-up: 24th St S between S Ode St & S Nash St

  • Project Description: In partnership with Arlington Public Schools (APS), the Department of Environmental Services (DES) is piloting a temporary lane closure along 24th St S between S Ode St and S Nash St, to improve arrival and dismissal operations at Oakridge Elementary School. This temporary street closure will be in effect 30 minutes prior to the start of school (8:30am to 9:00am) and 30 minutes prior to dismissal (3:20pm to 3:50pm). Cones and signage will be used for the temporary closure and to allow easy access for local traffic, emergency vehicles, and school buses.While local traffic is permitted (including access to driveways), drivers can bypass the temp closure using S Pierce St, 23rd Rd S, and S Nash St.  S Ode St is also available as a turn-around for vehicles.
  • Safety Need: DES-Transportation designed this road closure plan based on requests from APS staff, in response to concerns for pedestrian safety and challenges with bus operations. This pilot will help improve safety and access for pedestrians, bikers, and bus riders as they arrive and dismiss from school, as well as enhance the safety and efficiency of school bus operations.
  • Status/Timeline:
    • Began August 2022.
    • Collected public input in fall 2022. View the public engagement summary.
    • Staff from APS, Police, and DES-Transportation have monitored safety and usage through fall/winter 2022.
  • Preliminary Findings/Next Steps: Due to overall positive impacts in safety, the County will coordinate with staff at Oakridge Elementary to gauge interest and capacity to continue the temporary road closure as part of regular arrival and dismissal protocol at the school. Staff will also review and discuss the possibility of additional pick-up/drop-off operational enhancements.

 

Hardened Centerlines Pilot

  • Project Description: Hardened centerlines are a proven safety tool used to reduce turning speeds and increase visibility of pedestrians for turning motorists at intersections. We are piloting new in-street centerline hardening devices in five locations this spring/summer. We will monitor these locations collecting data on turning speeds and vehicle positioning to determine effectiveness and next steps for the pilot:
    • Clarendon at Rhodes (south side) 
    • Fairfax at Randolph (north and south side)  
    • Columbia at Dinwiddie (east and west sides) 
    • Columbia at Four Mile Run (west and north sides) 
    • Kenmore at 24th (all sides)  (PDF, 286KB)(PDF, 286KB)

    View the pilot info sheet.(PDF, 287KB)

  • Safety Need: The five pilot intersections were identified due to left turn crash patterns observed through crash hot spot reviews and other crash analysis).
  • Status/Timeline:
    • Spring 2024: Install centerline hardening devices / collect data
    • Summer 2024: Monitor site / collect feedback
    • Fall/Winter 2024: Identify next steps for the pilot 

 

     

Past Pilot Safety Projects

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. The pedestrian pathway was created by adding a barrier between the travel lane and the curb. This slightly narrowed the southbound lane, but retained access for vehicles, including the driveway to the coffee shop. Click here for the project plan.
  • 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:  
  • Findings/Next Steps: Because this project improved safety metrics and increased feelings of safety among respondents, the County will evaluate the possibility of a sidewalk construction project as part of the FY25/26 Capital Improvement Plan budgeting process. In addition, the County will collaborate with the Rosslyn BID to identify options for improving the aesthetics of the barriers in the short term.

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. Click here to see the project plan / Click here to see the project info sheet. This is a unique location where an uncontrolled school pedestrian crossing over an arterial (higher volume) roadway. The objective is to test the additional signage and SLOW SCHOOL XING marking treatments at this location and determine their impact on vehicle speeds and driver yielding behavior to crossing pedestrians - and thus determine whether this treatment should be considered at similar uncontrolled arterial pedestrian crosswalks near schools throughout the County.
  • 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:
    • Collected "before" condition data collected on vehicle speeds and driver yield rates to people crossing in the crosswalk in March 2022
    • Began pilot in April 2022 with an anticipated minimum six-month evaluation period
    • Actively monitored 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
    • Collected input from the community in fall 2022. View the public engagement summary and next steps.(PDF, 193KB)
  • Findings/Next Steps: 
    • Due to positive impacts on driver-to-pedestrian yield rates and some positive community feedback, the County will apply SLOW SCHOOL XING markings at similar uncontrolled arterial school crossings in the County.
    • Given the constructive feedback and desire to reduce speeds on Patrick Henry Dr (observed at ~30mph in a 25mph speed limit), the County will install permanent speed feedback indicator signs as an additional treatment to slow drivers down as they approach the intersection. Check the Vision Zero quick-build project page for updates on this project.

     

 

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. See the project info sheet.
  • 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. Arlington County staff worked in collaboration with the Rosslyn Business Improvement District (BID) to learn more about safety issues at this intersection.
  • Status/Timeline: 
  • Findings/Next Steps: Due to positive impacts on pedestrian safety by reducing vehicle-pedestrian conflicts and reducing crash rates at the intersection, the safety treatments will remain in place. Staff will periodically review crash data at this location to reaffirm the treatments are effective. 

Military Road and Nelly Custis Drive Temporary Roundabout

  • Pilot Description: The County piloted a temporary roundabout to enhance safety for pedestrian crossings at the intersection of Military Road and Nelly Custis Drive. The goals of the project were to increase driver yield rates, shorten crossing distances for people walking through the intersection, provide predictable vehicle turning movements, and reduce vehicle speeding. View the project summary. The results of this pilot installation were intended to inform last phase of the Military Road Safety Improvements Project.
  • Safety Need: The motivation for this project was to provide people who walk and cycle a safe environment to navigate a very large intersection with low yield rates to pedestrians. The roundabout provides additional crosswalks and predictable turning movements for vehicles entering the intersection.
  • Findings & Next Steps: Due to positive safety impacts, the temporary roundabout pilot condition will remain in place as the “interim condition” before the construction of the permanent roundabout capital project. The temporary roundabout will be enhanced in the spring 2023.

  • Timeline: 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

 

Lorcom Lane Walkability Improvement Pilot

  • Project Description: The County, in partnership with Arlington Public Schools, piloted a buffered walking path in the existing parking lane on Lorcom Lane between N Oakland Street and N Quebec Street for pedestrians - especially kids walking to and from the nearby middle school. Due to positive community feedback and significant usage, the recommendations from the pilot period were to (1) assess options to fund a permanent sidewalk where the current buffer area exists and (2) maintain the buffered area in the interim time before the permanent sidewalk condition is built.  
  • Safety Need: The primary motivation for this project was to create a safer walking path for students accessing Dorothy Hamm Middle School. The need for a walking path was 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:  
  • Findings/Next Steps:
  • The sidewalk project is programmed into the County’s CIP. Click here for project details and timeline.
  •  The buffers will remain in place as an interim condition until the sidewalk project is constructed due to the observed benefits from separating cars, bikes, and pedestrians.

 

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:  
  • Findings / 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.