Unit 8 Essay, Spirit Traffic Safety
Purdue University Global
Unit 8 Essay Spirit Traffic Safety
Within the last couple of years, Spirit Aerosystems has grown due to commercial aircraft boom and acquired military contracts. As the company and industry grow so does the number of employees. Parking and broader roadways are needed to support the vast number of employee parking. The size of this company spans fifteen blocks from north to south and six blocks wide from east to west with thirty plus buildings and still growing. Six roadways surround and come directly through the campus. Two years ago, the company went from eight thousand employees to twelve thousand employees at the Wichita campus alone. Major roadways and communities surrounding the large company are affected by the increase in traffic and as a result so is the safety of pedestrians. As people rush to work, one or two slow cars hold up traffic, trains block roadways for up to thirty minutes, people began to panic and start to drive faster. No one wants to be late coming to work, so drivers and pedestrians rush becoming complacent or distracted. Someone steps into traffic and neither the driver or pedestrian are paying attention to one another, then either a near miss or even worse an accident happens. Safety plans and ideas are needed before the problem rages out of control. Spirit Aerosystems should create safer crosswalks for pedestrians because the current crosswalks are unsafe due to the volume of traffic that flows through the complex.
The goal of the company is to ensure the safe arrival and return home at the end of each shift of all employees to family and friends. Within the last two years, four separate occurrences have been documented effecting four different employees at one of six crosswalk locations. The company facilities organization must submit a safety plan to the street planning department which implements the company’s safety plan. The company has a written agreement with the county that all updates and repairs to the roadways that run throughout the facility are paid for by the company for the access that is provided to move aircraft across the county roadways. While a commercial aircraft crossing a street is visible, the crosswalks are not, leaving pedestrians as unseen targets. Three options were discussed by the company’s safety department, engineers, and the commissioner. The first option was adding another crosswalk that goes over the roadway, but this option was discarded first because of the enormous cost and construction involved. The second option was to shut the roadways down and change the agreement between the county and the company. The second option would have diverted traffic to roadways that could not handle the volume of traffic and was not agreed upon by the county. Option three was the recommendation of a highly visible electronic crossing system called HAWK (High-Intensity Activated crosswalk). The third option had a cost of one hundred and fifty-six thousand dollars and passed with a unanimous vote (Daniel Salazar, 2017).
Although all parties involved agreed pedestrian and employee safety was the number one concern, a public works department engineer as mentioned by KFDI News, did not support the crosswalk (KFDI, 2017). The Public works engineer proclaimed, overuse of the electronic crossing system could cause traffic to back up more than what it already does. The public engineer was looking at the bigger picture of the congested traffic in the area. MacArthur Road already has three stoplights and three crosswalks within the Spirit complex. Adding one more crosswalk on the busy street could cause traffic to back up at each light from Oliver Street to the K15 highway causing gridlock. Over much debate, the public engineer still did not agree with the company’s safety and engineering department. Many months of negotiations and project reviews of different designs had taken place. It was time for decisions to be made, have plans set in place and began the construction of a new or redesigned crosswalk. All other parties unanimously voted yes to the HAWK crosswalk. All parties received what they wanted by installing the new system on an existing centrally located crosswalk. Studies had shown and supported the effectiveness of the sophisticated equipment across the US.
Places like the University of Delaware, have implemented the use of the Hawk system. The reason for the use of HAWK was the high vehicles and pedestrian volume of traffic. HAWK signals are being installed across the US for a huge reason, safety. As the population of students grows, so will the need for safety systems. Roadways and sidewalks will need a way to work together for the safety of the community. This system is visually helpful with its yellow flashing warning lights and solid red lights which is universal for, stop. When we are driving and concentrated on the traffic in front of us, we forget to look at what else is around us. As we hurry across a busy street toward our destination, we may not notice the car getting ready to pass in front of us. According to a student that attended the university, the busy roadway was frightening to cross. The student would have been more confident to cross the roadway if the HAWK system would have been in place (Mike Chalmers, 2010). Later the system was eventually installed making it safer at the crossing.The evaluation from the FHWA (Federal Highway Administration), tells about the positive results from HAWK. HAWK started in the late 1990s and developed in the state of Arizona. School buses use the HAWK system when the yellow lights come as the driver picks up children to warn drivers and then the red flashing bright lights are activated as the bus doors open and the children are boarding. When the HAWK system is activated at the crosswalk, it simulates the same procedure as the school bus does. If a driver approaches the system, their attention goes toward the bright lights on the activated alert system signaling them to stop. Studies by the FHWA show the increase of vehicles yielding after the system was installed at various locations. Multiple configurations can be made for many types of roadway situations. The system can be applied whether the situation requires a single narrow lane, wide eight-lane or various intersection styles. The system was tested in light and heavy traffic flow with positive results. Hawk does not automatically activate. A pedestrian must push the crossing button to cross just as a regular traffic light requires a pedestrian to do. This keeps the system comfortable and familiar to users (Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology, 2016).
After Spirit installed the first HAWK crosswalk, cars began to stop as the yellow and red flashing lights lit up the area. Pedestrians now feel safer, but still, stop in caution as they cross the roadway. A piece of mind was given to the company knowing employees would be able to arrive and leave work every day safely. People who use the crosswalk felt the company cared and valued them as employees. The commissioner could see future use of more systems in surrounding school zones to protect children. No problems of backed up traffic ever occurred since the installation of the system. A few other areas around the facility may be gaining the high-intensity crosswalks. The public needs to be aware of this technology so that it may help other areas around the city in need of similar solutions. Public safety should always be number one to companies, employees, and officials everywhere.
Chalmers, Mike. (8/9/2010). New signals make it safer for pedestrians. USA Today.
Retrieved from https://eds-a-ebscohost-com.libauth.purdueglobal.edu/eds/detail/detail?vid=3&sid=574e28a8-9278-4a56-9244-5bf1493c86a0%40sessionmgr4008&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmU%3d#
Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology. (03/08/2016). TechBrief. US
Department of Transportation. Retrieved from
KFDI. (08/16/2017). Sedgwick County approves crosswalk signal. Today’s KFDI.
Retrieved from https://www.kfdi.com/news/sedgwick-county-approves-
Salazar, Daniel. (08/16/2017). Pedestrian signal added to road through Spirit complex. The
Wichita Eagle. Retrieved from https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article167517577.html