Thanks for your interest in Reaching Resilience 2050, our Q&A series fleshing out the people and processes behind our latest long-range transportation plan. To read the plan in full, explore potential projects near you and learn how to share your feedback, please visit publicinput.com/Resilience2050.
Cynthia Burch is a Transportation Planner for Baltimore Metropolitan Council.
Hi Cindy! To get started, please tell us more about your work on safety.
I focus on traffic safety planning and programming throughout the region. I am an epidemiologist/researcher and joined BMC five years ago to support local planning. I work with a lot of local partners in the development and implementation of Strategic Highway Safety Plans (SHSP). All states must have a safety plan, our focus on local safety plans will help make our roads, drivers and non-motorists safer and aim to eliminate crash-related deaths. I also support other safety planning in the region, facilitate a safety subcommittee and work closely with state partners.
Right. Folks might recognize the #VisionZero and #BeTheDriver messages we share on social media. And what do you do to support Resilience 2050?
Safety is a priority in all projects, from planning to design to building. During the project proposal phase, I review each submission and score it for safety benefits. That criteria includes a connection to the agency’s local safety plan and benefit to an underserved area in the region. This year, the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board updated the project selection methodology to give a boost to projects prioritizing safety, which is critical to helping us pursue the vision of a safer transportation system for all users.
Nice! And you mentioned your committee. Who are the key partners you work with?
The primary safety partners are the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board in the region and the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration’s Highway Safety Office (MHSO). Local safety plans are designed to be multi-disciplinary and involve many different agency types for implementing projects. Key partners for increasing safety and eliminating deaths include, but are not limited to: engineers, planners, law enforcement, emergency medical services, school systems, health departments, non-profit organizations and community organizations.
And what key highlights do you hope folks take away?
Unfortunately, there has been a significant change in driving behaviors in the last five years that has resulted in more fatalities and serious injuries on our roadways. We are focused on turning that around and believe that a holistic approach with many different partners will yield improvement. Many partners both inside and out of traditional transportation fields are focused and trying new projects to save lives. This is particularly important for non-motorists, as pedestrians, bicyclists and others not in motor vehicles are the most vulnerable road users.
This is crucial work, so thank you. How can folks learn more and get involved?
Please feel free to reach out to me about safety planning throughout the region and I’m happy to make connections with the local safety teams. Being engaged at the local, regional or state level is appreciated and encouraged. The Baltimore Regional Safety Subcommittee meets quarterly and all meetings are open to the public. Please refer to our website for dates and times of upcoming meetings. Last, but far from least, please be a conscious and conscientious user of the transportation network. Slow down, put the phone down, driver sober and use sidewalks and bike lanes as intended.
That's all from Cynthia, but check out our other Reaching Resilience 2050 entries on Air Quality, Climate Resilience and Project Implementation. To learn more about our Resilience 2050 long-range transportation plan, please visit publicinput.com/Resilience2050.