Earlier this year the Florida Department of Transportation entered into a partnership with the traffic data company Waze. The Israeli startup, now owned by Google, lets “Wazers” use a smartphone app to report the location of crashes, congestion, potholes, road kill and police officers among many other things.
The agreement is purely a “data-sharing” partnership. Waze gets access to the stream of information produced by the road sensors FDOT uses to monitor traffic flow on Florida’s major highways. And FDOT gets access to the myriad reports filed by Wazers.
Three years ago a blistering assessment by a national advocacy group prompted the Florida Department of Transportation to get serious about making the state’s roadways safer for pedestrians and cyclists. After four Florida metropolitan areas were ranked as the most dangerous for pedestrians, FDOT leaders began to consider making design changes such as building narrower lanes.
Proponents of narrower lanes argue that wide, open lanes encourage motorists to hit the gas and endanger pedestrians, while narrow lanes force motorists to slow down.
There’s a good chance you’ve seen the work of Elisabeth Hassett and an equally good chance you didn’t really notice it. Hassett is the landscape architect for the Florida Department of Transportation’s District 4, which includes Broward and Palm Beach Counties. When there’s a need for highway-side landscape design, Hassett has almost definitely had a hand in choosing the plants and the layout -- a far more complicated art than you might imagine.
Trooper Joe Sanchez has a problem with the 95 Express lanes. Going about 60 MPH in the express lanes, he pulls his Florida Highway Patrol SUV within inches of the median and comes to a full stop. He’s technically on the 95 Express shoulder.