The Road Diet Pilot Program (RDPP) conducted for the town of Hingham for the Route 3A corridor improvement project was the subject of a standing-room-only session co-presented by DCI president David Giangrande at the MassDOT Transportation Innovation Conference on April 9. The annual two-day MassDOT event drew more than 1200 attendees to the DCU Center in Worcester.

Giangrande was joined in the presentation – titled “Flying Colors: How Teamwork & Technology Drove the Success of HIngham’s Route 3A Road Diet Pilot Program” – by MassDOT’s Pam Haznar and Corey OConnor, and Hingham Town Engineer Roger Fernandes.

Giangrande and moderator Bill Travers of MassDOT offered an overview on the project to kick off the presentation. Haznar then stepped up to offer some background about the critical section of Route 3A, which not only cuts through Hingham’s town center and ocean coastal beach, it also provides a direct link to popular Nantasket Beach in neighboring Hull. She described the site and also provided a chronology of how the concept of a road diet and the subsequent pilot program came to occur.

Fernandes took it from there to explain how deficiencies in safety, efficiency and multi-modal equity along the corridor drove the need for a redesign, with the town, state and design team settling on a road diet solution.  He also addressed how the town and state would determine if the pilot program infrastructure needed to be removed due to safety or other issues.

David returned to the podium to discuss the multiple transportation software models that were run to illustrate the feasibility of a road diet as a solution. Though the models showed that a road diet would work, David explained that the people and officials of the towns involved needed additional validation, above and beyond the modeling, to feel truly comfortable with the concept of reducing lanes to improve traffic flow and safety.

He also stressed the importance of cooperation among state DOT personnel, town officials and residents. David noted that public safety officials were pivotal in helping to move the project along and to build consensus around the pilot program, as well as in providing insight to guide the design.

O’Connor talked about the theory and design of the pilot program, including the traffic management plan. He also went into detail about the multiple types of intelligent transportation system (ITS) equipment used to collect and analyze data. This includes Bluetooth, radar, video and message boards.

He also detailed how and when the pilot program was executed, and provided details on the delineators used and other factors considered in setting the program in place.

Giangrande concluded the presentation segment of the session by discussing the results of the pilot program, which was conducted in the spring and summer of 2018. This included a number of outreach campaigns to inform residents, business owners and government officials about the results of the study. The 25% design is also submitted, and the project has been flagged as a priority on the state’s Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).