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US Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
Subject: ACTION: Consideration and Implementation of Proven Safety Countermeasures
Date: July 10, 2008
From: Jeffrey A. Lindley, Associate Administrator for Safety
In Reply Refer To: HSSI
To: Division Administrators, Federal Lands Highway Division Engineers
Improving safety is a top priority of the US Department of Transportation, and FHWA remains strongly committed to reducing highway fatalities and serious injuries on our Nation’s highways. We know that a comprehensive mix of strategies is required—including stronger policies to support system-wide and sustainable improvements. We believe our area of greatest potential influence is how Federal funds are used and targeted to implement improvements that will have a positive impact on safety.
In our stewardship and oversight role for federally funded highway programs, we have the opportunity to strongly encourage Federal, State, local agencies, and tribal governments to include safety in their investment decision-making process. While there is still much work to do on determining the precise effectiveness of some safety countermeasures, we are highly confident that certain processes, infrastructure design techniques, and highway features are effective and should be encouraged whenever Federal funds are used. Safety should be considered at every stage of the project development process. Every investment decision should consider the impact on safety and every federally funded project should include appropriate safety enhancement features.
This guidance memorandum highlights when and where we believe certain processes, design techniques, or safety countermeasures should be used. This document also includes countermeasure descriptions and background on the proven effectiveness and benefits; a statement on when the countermeasure or process should be applied; links to reference documents; and current FHWA technical contacts for each topic. This guidance was developed based on effectiveness data for various crash types compiled from a variety of sources. It reflects the types of circumstances and situations that we are confident will yield high pay-offs and be cost beneficial for all projects.
We need your leadership to encourage our partners to apply this guidance as they make investment decisions and develop projects. I am requesting that all Federal-aid and Federal Lands Division Offices review this guidance and meet with officials in their State and with tribal governments, as well as Federal partners, to determine how and when they can consider these measures to improve safety when federally funded investments are pursued. In discussing this guidance with your safety partners, it will be particularly important to address the need for comprehensive high quality safety data as a foundational element for facilitating project and program decisions. Data systems should be continually improved to help foster better decision-making.
The Office of Safety believes that widespread implementation of these safety countermeasures can serve to accelerate the achievement of local, State and national safety goals. We are currently considering whether to advance one or more elements of this guidance through a formal rulemaking process. As your office works with your State, tribal governments, and Federal partners in implementing your State’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan and providing stewardship and oversight of federally funded investments, we would appreciate feedback on your experiences in using this guidance. We also invite your input on other potential safety guidance needs.
List of guidance documents included herein: