Maryland transportation officials just got a new partner in improving safety on the roadways, including a stretch of Route 1 in Howard County.

Smart Growth America, a national leader in sustainable transportation and Complete Streets efforts, will provide technical assistance to the State Highway Administration as officials design, build and test three temporary safety installations across Maryland this summer.

A section of Route 1 in Howard County from Laurel Avenue to Davis Avenue will be among those getting small “quick build” pilot projects installed that officials hope will cut down on speeding. The milelong stretch is near Laurel Race Course.

The other locations are the intersection of North Main Street and Gordon Street in Bel Air and the intersection of U.S. 40 and North Cannon Avenue in Hagerstown. The areas were selected for the pilots because they are high-crash, high-priority areas that are difficult for pedestrians to navigate, officials said.

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“This partnership supports MDOT’s efforts to prioritize accessible and sustainable travel across all modes of transportation,” Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld said in an emailed release. “It will help to rapidly make our streets safer for everyone while providing an opportunity to test safety measures and apply lessons learned across our state network.”

Last year, more than 600 people were killed on Maryland roadways for the first time in nearly two decades, reflective of a nationwide trend. The total included more than 150 pedestrians. Officials hope that Complete Streets, a philosophy of redesigning roads to prioritize safety over speed, can help reverse that trend.

This month, Wiedefeld and other state transportation leaders signed an updated Complete Streets policy, applying it to all major transportation projects in the state. It means drivers could start seeing more plastic flex posts, narrower lanes and more space for pedestrians at crosswalks on state-owned roads.

Local communities and transportation departments will lead the specific changes at each of the three summer quick builds, said Joe McAndrew, an assistant transportation secretary for project development and delivery, in an interview. Though they will be context-driven, Smart Growth America can help ensure the projects align with federal guidance and anticipate common snags that other states and localities have encountered in getting projects over the finish line, he said.

Smart Growth America knows Maryland well. Last year, the organization pointed to Howard County as a nationwide leader, giving its policy a first-ever perfect score. County Executive Calvin Ball said his administration has made record investments in safer roadways.

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The summer changes will be in place long enough for traffic engineers to get data to do before-and-after comparisons. McAndrew said they will evaluate projects using crash and traffic congestion data, as well as local sentiment toward the changes.

“I think we really want to do this in partnership [and] in collaboration with the local community. If the data comes back and that says that this is a smashing success, and the community is supportive of it staying, I don’t think that we are going to stand in the way of that,” McAndrew said.

With budgets of $20,000 to $25,000, the changes will be small. But the idea is to show residents how small tweaks in infrastructure can make a potentially lifesaving difference on a roadway, McAndrew said. The results will inform how the state approaches future projects.