HRRR Questions and Answers

December 2011

  1. Can shoulder improvements include drainage extension?
    A state DOT has a project where they are planning to install paved shoulders and edgeline rumble stripes using HRRRP fund. If the addition of the paved shoulders would require the cross-drainage structures (i.e. culverts) to be extended, can HRRRP funds be used to pay for the culvert extension? The proposed routes qualify for HRRRP funding. Yes; shoulder widening would include any construction or operational improvements that are necessary to complete the improvement. Shoulder widening would necessarily include any substructures.

  2. What if a state doesn’t have crash data for “off-system” or locally owned and maintained roads?
    Ideally, a State’s roadway and crash data systems should be able to identify the location of all the fatal and incapacitating injuries occurring on all public roads, including those off the State highway system. With regard to these data needs, States can be classified in one of two categories: those with a comprehensive statewide crash and roadway data system, and those working towards a comprehensive statewide data system. With this in mind, FHWA recognizes that many State DOTs may not immediately be able to identify HRRRs off their State highway systems. If a State does not currently have the capability of locating crashes on all public roadways, the State may adopt interim practices that utilize the best available data resources until a comprehensive statewide roadway and crash data system is implemented (see question 6 below). To ensure that a harmonized program is applied, common interim practices should be used statewide. USDOT provides a list of funding sources for traffic safety data activities that States and local entities might utilize as they move toward the development of a comprehensive statewide crash and roadway data system.

  3. What are the HRRRP reporting requirements?
    The HRRRP should be included as a section of the annual HSIP report and provide information on the progress of HRRRP implementation. The content of the HRRRP portion of the report should mirror that of the HSIP, except that it is specific to the HRRRP. HRRRP funds are set aside for construction and/or operational improvements to improve safety on roadways functionally classified as rural major or minor collectors, or rural local roads. The HRRRP portion of the HSIP report should consist of three parts: a) basic program implementation information; b) methods used to identify HRRR; and c) overall HRRRP effectiveness. Program Implementation should address the amount of HRRRP funds available (programmed) and the number and type of HRRRP projects initiated, including improvement category project output (i.e. miles of rumbles strips), project cost, and relationship to the State’s SHSP These requirements are further explained in the HSIP Reporting Guidance.

  4. How does a state identify eligible roadways?
    As stated in SAFETEA-LU, eligible roadways must be rural major or minor collectors, or rural local roads on which the crash rate for fatal and incapacitating injuries exceeds the statewide average for those functional classifications. States should use two types of data in identifying roadways that exceed the statewide average rate for fatalities and incapacitating injuries: crash data (i.e. fatalities and incapacitating injuries), and exposure data [e.g. vehicle miles traveled (VMT), average daily traffic (ADT), lane miles, population, registered vehicles, licensed drivers, etc.]. Within the limits of the law, States have a great deal of flexibility in prioritizing eligible roadways (e.g. years analyzed or formulas for ranking). Regardless of the measures used, States should focus on data driven methods, with the understanding that as crash and roadway data systems mature, the roadway identification process will become more sophisticated.

  5. What crash data is needed?
    States with comprehensive statewide crash and roadway data systems should have the ability to specifically locate fatal and incapacitating injuries on all public roads on the respective roadway functional classifications (rural major and minor collectors, and rural local roads) and determine accurate crash rates.

  6. What data can be used until a comprehensive data system is available?
    States working toward a comprehensive statewide crash and roadway data system should utilize available federal, state and local resources and data sources, including the following:
    • State and local crash files for fatal and incapacitating injury crashes that are located on rural major and minor collectors and rural local roads.
    • Other State or local fatal and injury data sources that may provide information on the severity of injuries resulting from crashes. Examples of such data sources include: emergency medical services (data on severity of injuries sustained in a crash); enforcement agencies (data related to the overall severity of a crash); and hospitals (data related to the end result of injuries sustained). If these data sources are used, States should link the information to the location of the crash on the respective roadway functional classification.
    • National data, such as the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) that provides data on crashes involving traffic-related fatalities. FARS data can be sorted by roadway functional classification (rural major and minor collectors, and rural local roads) and shown on a map (e.g. Google Earth, ArcGIS, or Safe Road Maps).

  7. What exposure data should be used to determine crash rates?
    States with comprehensive statewide crash and roadway data systems should have the ability to identify necessary exposure data by roadway functional classification on all public roads on the respective roadway functional classifications (rural major and minor collectors, and rural local roads) and determine accurate crash rates. Examples of exposure data to develop a rate include: vehicle miles traveled (VMT), average daily traffic (ADT), lane miles, and number of vehicles entering an intersection. States working toward a comprehensive statewide crash and roadway data system may use other sources for exposure data. A balanced data driven approach should be used to identify eligible roadways. A state may consider the relationship between population or other "per capita" data (e.g. registered vehicles, licensed drivers, etc.), and the number of fatalities and incapacitating injuries of a defined area to determine fatality and incapacitating injury rates. National data, such as the Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS) and the FHWA’s Highway Statistics, may be used to provide roadway data that is derived from State data.

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James Dahlem

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