The Safety Street Q&A series features NCSR partners, industry leaders and other notable transportation organizations who are working towards the collaborative goal of safer roads.
Joseph M. Fiocco brings more than 25 years of experience to his firm, Fiocco Engineering, LLC, which specializes in highway safety and traffic engineering. A registered professional engineer in Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Joseph also serves as the appointed traffic engineer for Lower Southampton Township in Bucks County, Pa. Since 2010, his firm has worked with a large network of public and private sector engineering partners in the Delaware Valley to develop safer, more efficient roads. Safety Street had the chance to talk to him about ways engineering and technology are making our roads safer.
Safety Street: Is traffic safety a problem in your community?
Joseph Fiocco: I think the better question to ask is: are we doing everything we can to reduce crashes on Pennsylvania roads? Last year in Pennsylvania, 1,310 people were killed in motor vehicle collisions. Of these, 65 were killed in Bucks County, where I live and work. Clearly, there is much more we can do.
Safety Street: Can you tell us a little bit about your role and experience in traffic safety?
Joseph Fiocco: I’ve completed hundreds of highway safety studies throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. These safety studies ranged anywhere from investigations into a single vehicle crashto complete corridor studies. I’ve done road safety audits and traffic impact studies. I’ve also designed a number of traffic signals, so I understand the costs associated with the design, construction and maintenance of these controls. The goal is to maximize safety and minimize delays, while staying conscientious of what is reasonable and affordable. For many municipalities these days, resources are limited and the biggest challenge for any community project is funding.
Safety Street: Pennsylvania recently passed a law that allows more municipalities to consider red-light cameras at dangerous intersections. As an engineer, do you see advantages from these cameras?
Joseph Fiocco: I have extensive experience with traffic signals, multi-way stop analyses and traffic control designs. Red-light cameras have been proven to reduce illegal red-light running and improve safety at intersections. In Bucks County, three communities (Falls, Middletown and Warminster Townships) are among the municipalities now eligible to consider red-light cameras in Pennsylvania. I recommend these municipalities give the safety devices a serious look. Anything that has the potential to save lives at a reasonable cost should be considered.
Safety Street: Some people argue against safety cameras in favor of re-engineering. Is it either/or, or both? What are your thoughts?
Joseph Fiocco: There is no one, single answer. We should consider all the tools available when it comes to saving lives and reducing injuries. Red-light safety cameras aren’t the answer to all of our road safety problems, but they definitely are a very cost-effective part of the solution. There’s also an added benefit for municipalities in terms of overall public safety that shouldn’t be ignored. Police officers who previously had to sit and monitor an intersection in order to catch red-light running violators can now patrol nearby neighborhoods and increase the level of security for us all.
To learn more read Mr. Fiocco’s recent letter to the editor in the Bucks County Courier-Times.
The National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) helps save lives and protect communities by demonstrating how red-light safety cameras can improve driver behavior.