Utility Poles: Appendix 9
NORTH CAROLINA'S APPROACH TO REDUCING UTILITY POLE CRASHES
In North Carolina, utility pole crashes are the third highest ranking of all fixed object crashes (with trees and ditches being the highest), and they are the highest ranking fixed object related involving man made obstacles. In North Carolina, over the past ten years (1992-2001), on average there have been around 4800 utility pole related crashes resulting in an average of around 3600 injuries and 60 fatalities each year. Although utility pole related crashes have only accounted for approximately 2.23% of all crashes and approximately 2.56% of all injuries in North Carolina, they comprise 4.46% of all A class injuries and 3.85% of all fatalities.
North Carolina has developed a work plan to reduce utility pole crashes. Currently, this is envisioned as a two-phase process. Phase I is a test-bed for research, analysis, and investigating ideas and techniques. During this phase, Wake county has been selected as the sample county to develop and test all methodologies that will be eventually be utilized for the implementation and support of Phase II of this project, which will be the long term, statewide endeavor. Wake county was chosen due to its location which will facilitate site visits and investigations and also because the crash data available for Wake county appears to be representative for most of the other counties.
Phase 1 consists of seven tasks:
Task 1 consists of items associated with identifying the problem in general terms at both a national and state level. The focus is on gathering general statistics/data at both a national and state level to determine the extent of the problem and how North Carolina compares to other States. In addition, this task involves the analysis of utility pole crash data to determine if there are any patterns, recurring contributing circumstances, etc., that may assist in the proper selection of policies, guidelines, or countermeasures.
Task 2 studies the policies and procedures at the federal and state level regarding utility pole placement and replacement. This task also determines what authority NCDOT has in setting/mandating/enforcing new and/or revised guidelines and policies should the need arise
Task 3 identifies methodologies for identifying specific hazardous utility poles and corridors of hazardous utility poles. One objective of this task is to analyze a 10 year history of statewide crash data, and determine the quality of available data in regards to how many crashes milepost so that they can be plotted on a GIS map.
Task 4 is review of countermeasures used by other States to reduce utility pole crashes. This involves researching initiatives and programs that other States have in place to determine what is working, what could be improved, and identify the best practices for developing and implementing a program for identification and removal of hazardous utility poles. The research will cover topics such as countermeasures implemented, cost and cost effectiveness of the countermeasures, changes in policy, funding sources utilized, and the strategies used by the sponsoring agencies to get a buy in from different stakeholders.
Task 5 develops site investigation procedures to analyze factors such as causal factors, risk of future events, potential countermeasures including cost/benefit analyses.
Task 6 will start after Tasks 1 through 5 are completed. This task will involve forming a working group with all the potential players who have a role in this process. This working group will be responsible for developing, implementing, managing, and evaluating Phase II of this project.
Task 7 is an ongoing documentation task.
Tasks 1 and 2 have been completed, and work is currently underway in Task 3. Further details about this initiative can be obtained from Kevin Lacy at email@example.com or Cliff Braam at firstname.lastname@example.org.