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Strategic Highway Safety Plans

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Quick Reference Summary

What is an SHSP?

A Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) developed by the State Department of Transportation (DOT) is a new Federal requirement of SAFETEA-LU, 23 U.S.C. § 148, and is a major part of the core Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP). An SHSP is a statewide-coordinated safety plan that provides a comprehensive framework for reducing highway fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads. The SHSP strategically establishes statewide goals, objectives, and key emphasis areas developed in consultation with Federal, State, local, and private sector safety stakeholders.

What are the SHSP Requirements?

The detailed requirements for SHSPs are described in section 1401 of SAFETEA-LU. In general, SAFETEA-LU requires that State Transportation Departments develop an SHSP that:

  • Includes consultation from a variety of stakeholders during the development process
  • Analyzes and makes effective use of crash data
  • Addresses the 4Es
  • Considers the safety needs of all public roads
  • Describes program of projects or strategies to reduce or eliminate safety hazards
  • Is implemented and evaluated

Consultation - SAFETEA-LU requires the State DOTs to develop an SHSP after consultation with:

  • Highway safety representative of the governor of the State
  • Regional and metropolitan transportation planning organizations
  • Representatives of major modes of transportation
  • Persons responsible for administering 23 U.S.C. § 130 at the State level
  • State and local traffic enforcement officials
  • Representatives conducting Operation Lifesaver
  • Representatives conducting a motor carrier safety program
  • Motor Vehicle Administration agencies
  • Other major State and local safety stakeholders

A detailed list of other potential safety partners is included in the SHSP guidance.

Data - SAFETEA-LU requires that as part of the SHSP the States shall have in place a crash data system with the ability to perform safety problem identification and countermeasure analysis. The States shall also advance the capabilities for traffic records data collection, analysis, and integration with other sources of safety data. Examples of this type of data include, but are not limited to:

  • State traffic record systems
  • Input from highway maintenance workers
  • Transit data
  • Crash data research
  • Input from police such as citations
  • Motor carrier data
  • Driver records
  • Medical records
  • Road inventories
  • Input from emergency service providers
  • FRA inventory of highway-railroad grade crossings

Addresses 4Es plus management and operations - SAFETEA-LU requires the State to develop an SHSP that addresses engineering, management, operation, education, enforcement, and emergency services elements (including integrated, interoperable emergency communications) of highway safety as key factors in evaluating highway projects. This comprehensive approach allows safety problems to be addressed through both behavioral and infrastructure related strategies and countermeasures.

Considers safety needs of all public roads - The ultimate goal of the SHSP is to reduce fatalities and serious injuries throughout the state including roads that are off the state highway system. SAFETEA-LU requires the State to develop an SHSP that considers the safety needs of all public roads.

Implementation - A multitude of funding sources should be used to implement both the infrastructure and behavioral strategies and programs agreed upon in the SHSP, including funding sources associated with FMSCA, NHTSA, and FHWA. Safety projects are eligible for NHS, STP, and IM funding. The strategies and projects included in the annual Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) Commercial Vehicle Safety Plan (CVSP); the State Section 402 Highway Safety Plan and Annual Performance Plan (HSP); and the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP); and metropolitan and statewide long range transportation plans should be considered and appropriately included or referenced in implementing a State's SHSP. Yet, implementation of the SHSP goes beyond Federal grant programs and planning processes. Each safety partner involved agrees that the emphasis areas and strategies outlined in the SHSP are the best way that they can collectively reduce fatalities and serious injuries.

Evaluation - SAFETEA-LU requires each State to establish an evaluation process to analyze and assess results achieved by highway safety improvement projects carried out in accordance with procedures and criteria established in 23 U.S.C. § 148. Evaluation of the SHSP should include a process for determining the effect that highway safety improvement projects have in reducing the number of fatalities and serious injuries.

Relationship between SHSPs and other safety plans and programs

To effectively develop and implement the strategies outlined in an SHSP, it is important to understand this new SHSP requirement and its link to other safety plans and programs. Statewide Transportation Plans, metropolitan transportation plans, Transportation Improvement Programs (TIP), Statewide Transportation Improvement Programs (STIP), as well as the HSIP, CVSP, HSP and other State and local plans are all critical to the success of an SHSP and vice-versa, as is the developmental process involved in preparing them.

Additional Information

Page last modified on October 15, 2014.
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