Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration - Momentum Newsletter

Safe Summer Travel

The summer travel season is well underway and many of us are headed to vacation destinations that will take us throughout the state or around the country. Whether you're traveling on foot, by bike or by vehicle, we want you to stay safe. It begins with a simple review of the rules of the road. Always buckle up, avoid distractions and follow the posted speed limit. Although temperatures may be rising, don't engage in aggressive driving. And with summer gatherings and the July 4th holiday upon us, remember to NEVER drink and drive and have a plan in place for a sober ride BEFORE you start celebrating.

With millions of motorists hitting the road, those that lead to Maryland's vacation destinations will undoubtedly become crowded. And most of us will rely on traffic apps to guide us along the way. Unfortunately, on many Eastern Shore routes, this new technology has created issues on local roadways. As MDOT SHA employees, I hope you will join me in doing our part by staying on Route 50 and avoiding local roads. Detouring from Route 50 overcrowds roads simply not built for that amount of traffic, creating gridlock and frustration. Specifically, local communities such as Kent Island become overridden, trapping residents and delaying emergency response, with little to no benefit to those travelers.

What can you do to help?

Time your departure from the Eastern Shore for any time other than the traditional afternoon peak. Try to leave earlier Sunday or later in the evening.
Stay on Route 50.
If you must get off the highway, patronize the local businesses! Avoiding the delays coming back from the beach is easier if you're grabbing a great meal in Cambridge or Easton or walking the beautiful streets of St. Michaels and Berlin.
Lastly, please remember these areas off Route 50 are neighborhoods. I don't want my neighborhood to turn into a highway. Neither do you.

Let's all do our part to keep Maryland safe. Stay on 50, never drink and drive, wear seatbelts, look out for pedestrians and cyclists and move over when you see emergency responders on the road and shoulder.

Wishing you a fun and SAFE summer season!

Greg Slater

Greg Slater

Reviving Cyprus Park Nature Trail

Cyprus Park Nature Trail deteriorated over many years. Cheryl Ladota shows a section of the new trail rebuilt with help from MDOT SHA.

Cyprus Park Nature Trail deteriorated over many years. Cheryl Ladota shows a section of the new trail rebuilt with help from MDOT SHA.

Cheryl Ladota gets this question all the time: How is MDOT SHA involved in building park trails?

In this case, we are the agent of good works in a related realm. The Federal Highway Administration provides funding to build and maintain recreational trails and, in Maryland, in addition to administering designated highways, MDOT SHA awards these funds on behalf of the federal government to projects based on merit. The Cyprus Trail in Worcester County's city of Pocomoke, which winds through wetlands and along the Pocomoke River, was awarded $40,000 in federal funding.

Cheryl, who is the Team Manager for Maryland Recreational Trails/Scenic Byways, administers the program.

"Over time, the trail fell into disrepair," she explains. The trail is essentially a boardwalk running over sensitive wetlands and is meant to protect them. Joggers, dog walkers, bird watchers and strollers regularly use the trail, which suffered from broken and missing planks, forcing people to make their way through mud and unintentionally damage the wetlands.

Pocomoke matched the federal funds with $20,000 in funding and labor. The new trail, whose construction began in the spring, is being built by municipal workers along with volunteers, who have donated more than 90 hours of their time. Their work should be complete this summer.

"People are excited that the trail is restored, safer, and more accessible," says Cheryl. "One woman told me that things were so bad she had to stop coming to the trail. Now she's back. And she's happy that she's back."

Eliminating the Dilemma Zone

Minseok Kim (left) and Dr. Sung Yoon Park led MDOT SHA efforts to stop rear-end and pedestrian collisions in intersections.

Minseok Kim (left) and Dr. Sung Yoon Park lead MDOT SHA efforts to try to stop rear-end and pedestrian collisions in intersections.

Stopping red-light runners has long been a challenge for traffic safety partners across the country. A related problem is aiding drivers in the "Dilemma Zone." If a car is approaching a yellow light too quickly to stop, how can transportation technology prevent a second car with a green light from entering the intersection – the Dilemma Zone – and colliding?

OOTS researchers, most recently Team Leader Minseok Kim and Transportation Engineer Dr. Sung Yoon Park, have been working on this problem in collaboration with the University of Maryland and are close to a solution.

Dr. Park will make a PowerPoint presentation about their research at an upcoming Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) conference.

The answer sounds simple, but getting there is difficult: Hold the second car at the intersection by keeping all lights red while the speeder violates the Dilemma Zone. The challenges are making this determination, creating an algorithm to identify speeders, and then integrating sensors and signal technology to hold the lights.

The team first simulated the problem on computers, then did preliminary tests at three intersections with the help of System Team Leader Robert Deblase, on a related problem—preventing angled ("T-Bone") crashes. Two sites reduced collisions by an impressive 60%.

To determine effectiveness, MDOT SHA will test the next phase at three sites. Once the results are analyzed and if determined effective, enhanced Dilemma Zone Protection System could be installed at high-risk locations.

When the Customer is You

Andrea Dufrenne (shown with MDOT SHA Administrator Greg Slater) recently received approval for her plan to improve employee collaboration.

Andrea Dufrenne (shown with MDOT SHA Administrator Greg Slater) recently received approval for her plan to improve employee collaboration.

When it comes to creating the best possible work environment, MDOT SHA's emphasis on improving customer experience leads us to ask: How can we better serve our internal customers—our own employees?

Executive Associate Andrea Dufrenne pondered this question, wondering how everyone would benefit from employees communicating better with one another and improving their working relationships. She developed her idea into a program that she submitted to Project Green Light, the MDOT SHA program resembling the TV show Shark Tank. Now that idea—the Administrative Professionals Certification and Recognition Experience (CARE)—has won the endorsement of the Project Green Light panel.

Here's the essence of CARE: Everyone at MDOT SHA will benefit from an improved work culture, consistency in processes, and a greater feeling of empowerment. The first step to achieving these goals should be a training program including administrative assistants, admin chiefs, unit training coordinators, and office managers, who play an important role in connecting senior managers with team members.

Administrative professionals who successfully complete the program will be rewarded with a certificate. Certification benefits MDOT SHA and employees by providing a tangible incentive, motivation, a morale booster, and opportunity for advancement.

Among the components of CARE will be:

Four alternative organizational development training programs
Assignments, such as the chance to take what you've learned and teach it to others in your office
Semi-annual meetings that gather administrative professionals to share their knowledge, compare what they've learned, and solve problems
Recognition of those who complete the coursework successfully

If you're an administrative professional, your opportunity to enroll is coming soon!


In May, Maintenance Team Leaders Tony Battaglia and Chris Mitchell closed a lane of traffic on I-70 near the Security Boulevard Park and Ride.

In May, Maintenance Team Leaders Tony Battaglia and Chris Mitchell close a lane of traffic on I-70 near the Security Boulevard Park and Ride.

Facebook Twitter Instagram Soundcloud RSS Flicker Pinterest YouTube
Office of Communications -