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Systemic Safety Project Selection Tool

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FHWA Office of Safety logo: Safe Roads for a Safer Future – Investment in roadway safety saves lives.

Federal Highway Administration
Office of Safety

July 2013

FHWA-SA-13-019

For more information, contact:
Karen Scurry
karen.scurry@dot.gov
609-637-4207

http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/systemic/


This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers’ names may appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.

Quality Assurance Statement

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides high-quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. FHWA periodically reviews quality issues and adjusts its programs and processes for continuous quality improvement.


Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.
FHWA-SA-13-019
2. Government Accession No. 3. Recipient’s Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle
Systemic Safety Project Selection Tool
5. Report Date July 2013
6. Performing Organization Code
7. Author(s) Howard Preston, Richard Storm, Jacqueline Dowds Bennett, Beth Wemple 8. Performing Organization Report No.
9. Performing Organization Name and Address
CH2M HILL, Inc.
1295 Northland Drive, Suite 200
Mendota Heights, MN 55120
and
Cambridge Systematics, Inc.
555 12th Street, Suite 1600
Oakland, CA 94607
10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)
11. Contract or Grant No.
DTFH61-05-D-00026
12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
Office of Safety
400 Seventh Street S.W.
Washington, DC 20590
13. Type of Report and Period Covered Covered
Technical Manual
14. Sponsoring Agency Code
15. Supplementary Notes FHWA COTM: Karen Scurry, Office of Safety
Technical working group members: David Brand (Madison County, OH), Tom Bruff (SEMCOG), Aaron Butters (WSDOT), Matthew Enders (WSDOT), Brad Estochen (MnDOT), Terry Hopkins (NCDOT), Keith Knapp (IA LTAP), Kevin Lacy (NCDOT), Rob Limoges (NYSDOT), Tracy Lovell (KYTC), Stephen Lowry (NCDOT), Ken Mammen (NVDOT), Mike Manthey (AZDOT), Ken Mayhew (NCDOT), John Miller (MoDOT), Sue Miller (Freeborn County, MN), Don Petersen (FHWA WA), Joey Riddle (SCDOT), Will Stein (FHWA MN), Christine Thorkildsen (FHWA NY), Marc Thornsberry (FHWA MO), Marie Walsh (LA LTAP)
16. Abstract The Systemic Safety Project Selection Tool presents a process for incorporating systemic safety planning into traditional safety management processes. The Systemic Tool provides a step-by-step process for conducting systemic safety analysis; considerations for determining a reasonable distribution between the implementation of spot safety improvements and systemic safety improvements; and a mechanism for quantifying the benefits of safety improvements implemented through a systemic approach. The tool is intended for use by transportation safety practitioners in state, county, and local government agencies to plan, implement, and evaluate systemic safety improvement programs and projects that best meet their capabilities and needs.
17. Key Words Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP), safety management process, systemic safety, risk factor, problem identification, countermeasure identification, project prioritization, Crash Modification Factors (CMF), evaluation 18. Distribution Statement No restrictions
19. Security Classif. (of this report) Unclassified 20. Security Classif. (of this page) Unclassified 21. No. of Pages 100 22. Price N/A

Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72)    Reproduction of completed pages authorized

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Foreword

The Systemic Safety Project Selection Tool builds upon current safety management practices for identifying roadway safety problems and implementing highway safety improvement projects. The tool expands a transportation agency’s analytical techniques and models beyond current site-specific analysis to a systemic safety analysis approach by helping an agency perform a systemwide evaluation for roadway attributes that are common to locations with a crash history. This process enables the agency to proactively address highway safety concerns.

The systemic analysis outlined in this tool can be used across the board by state agencies, transportation planning organizations, and county and local government agencies to plan, implement, and evaluate systemic safety programs and projects that best meet their capabilities and needs. The tool provides a step-by-step process for conducting systemic safety analysis; considerations for determining a reasonable distribution between implementing site-specific safety improvements and systemic safety improvements; and a mechanism for quantifying the benefits of safety improvements implemented through a systemic approach.

A comprehensive safety management program, including both site analysis and systemic approaches, will reduce the occurrence of, and the potential for, fatalities and serious injuries on our nation’s roadways. For additional information, please visit the Systemic Approach to Safety: Using Risk to Drive Action website.

Tony Furst
Associate Administrator
Office of Safety

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Preface

The "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act" continues the Highway Safety Improvement Program as a core Federal-aid highway program based in strategic planning and resulting in data-driven decisions that reduce the occurrence of fatalities and serious injuries on our nation’s roadways. This act emphasizes the eligibility of systemic safety improvements and projects to reduce the potential for traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads. The Systemic Safety Project Selection Tool (Systemic Tool) provides supporting information for state transportation departments and local government agencies to incorporate a systemic planning component into their existing safety management programs.

The Systemic Tool provides an overview of the role of systemic planning in the safety management process and outlines the process to select systemic safety improvements and projects. The Systemic Tool provides a framework for determining a reasonable funding distribution between spot safety and systemic safety improvements, and discusses the evaluation of systemic safety programs. The Systemic Tool is a valuable reference for state and local transportation safety practitioners working to advance the planning and implementation of systemic safety improvements. Hyperlinks in this document connect the user to valuable resources to assist with their decision-making processes.

Based on the latest research and state and local practices pertaining to systemic safety planning efforts, the Systemic Tool was developed with input from a technical oversight working group and revised based on feedback from several volunteer pilot agencies. The primary role of the technical oversight working group was to provide initial input into the scope and direction of the project and review major deliverables. Four volunteer pilot agencies then applied the systemic process documented in the Systemic Tool to their systems. The objective of this pilot effort was to assess the flexibility of the Systemic Tool by applying it to a variety of roadway systems, jurisdictions, and geographies. The feedback from these agencies and lessons learned during the pilot were incorporated into the final version of the Systemic Tool presented here. The pilot results are also incorporated via examples that are integrated throughout the Systemic Tool to illustrate its application across multiple systems.

The agencies that participated in the pilot effort are the Thurston County, Washington, Department of Public Works; the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet; the Missouri Department of Transportation; and the New York State Department of Transportation. In addition, the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Rutgers Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation provided information on their application of the systemic approach to safety. The gracious contributions and expertise of the technical oversight working group and pilot agencies will support the advancement of systemic safety planning and reduce the occurrence of and potential for fatalities and serious injuries on our nation’s roadways.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Acronyms
 
Introduction
Introduction to the Systemic Safety Project Selection Tool
  Systemic Approach to Safety
  Attributes of a Systemic Safety Program
  Overview of the Systemic Safety Project Selection Tool
  Organization of the Systemic Safety Project Selection Tool
 
Element 1: The Systemic Safety Planning Process
Overview of the Systemic Safety Planning Process
Identify Focus Crash Types and Risk Factors
  Task 1: Select Focus Crash Types
  Task 2: Select Focus Facilities
  Task 3: Identify and Evaluate Risk Factors
 
Screen and Prioritize Candidate Locations
  Task 1: Identify Network Elements to Analyze
  Task 2: Conduct Risk Assessment
  Task 3: Prioritize Focus Facility Elements
 
Select Countermeasures
  Task 1: Assemble Comprehensive List of Countermeasures
  Task 2: Evaluate and Screen Countermeasures
  Task 3: Select Countermeasures for Deployment
 
Prioritize Projects
  Task 1: Create a Decision Process for Countermeasure Selection
  Task 2: Develop Safety Projects
  Task 3: Prioritize Safety Project Implementation
 
Case Study: Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Application of the Systemic Safety Planning Process
 
Summary
 
Element 2: A Framework for Balancing Systemic and Traditional Safety Investments
Introduction to Balancing Systemic and Traditional Safety Investments
Decision Support Framework
  Review of Past Funding Practices
  A Funding Determination Framework
  Programmatic Assessment of the Benefit to be Gained through Systemic Investment
Summary
 
Element 3: Evaluation of a Systemic Safety Program
Introduction to Systemic Safety Program Evaluation
Systemic Safety Performance Measures
  Systemic Safety Program Output
  Observed Trends in Crash Frequency or Severity
  Countermeasure Performance
  Where to Go for More Information
Summary
 
References
  References
 

Appendix

Applying Existing Tools and Resources in a Systemic Safety Program
  Strategic Highway Safety Plan
  Roadway Departure and Intersection Safety Implementation Plans
  Fatality Analysis Reporting System
  Crash Modification Factors Clearinghouse
  NCHRP Report 500 and FHWA’s Nine Proven Safety Countermeasures
  The Highway Safety Manual
  Safety Analyst and Interactive Highway Safety Design Model
  United States Road Assessment Program
   
List of Figures
  Figure 1. Highway Safety Improvement Program Process
  Figure 2. Framework for the Systemic Safety Project Selection Tool
  Figure 3. Systemic Safety Planning Process
  Figure 4. Systemic Safety Planning Process: Tasks to Identify Focus Crash Types and Risk Factors
  Figure 5. Systemic Safety Planning Process: Tasks to Screen and Prioritize Candidate Locations
  Figure 6. Systemic Safety Planning Process: Tasks to Select Countermeasures
  Figure 7. Systemic Safety Planning Process: Tasks to Prioritize Projects
  Figure 8. Characteristics to Consider in Balancing the Distribution of Safety Investments
  Figure 9. Benefit-Cost Analysis Spreadsheet
  Figure 10. Program Results for Addressing Lane Departure and Speeding-Related Fatalities
  Figure 11. Illinois Department of Transportation Illustration of Cable Median Barrier Program Results for Treated Locations
   
List of Tables
  Table 1. Potential Risk Factors for Example Focus Crash Types
  Table 2. Example Historical HSIP Funding Review
   
Example
  Example 1. New York State Department of Transportation Data Analysis to Select Focus Crash Type
  Example 2. Thurston County Public Works Data Analysis to Select Focus Facilities
  Example 3. New York State Department of Transportation Crash Tree Diagram to Select Focus Facility
  Example 4. Summation of Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Research Process to Identify Potential Risk Factors
  Example 5. New York State Department of Transportation Evaluation of Curve Radii as a Potential Risk Factor
  Example 6. Thurston County Public Works Evaluation of Roadway Functional Class as a Potential Risk Factor
  Example 7. Thurston County Public Works Risk Factor Prioritization
  Example 8. Thurston County Public Works Results of Segment Prioritization for Focus Facility Type Based on Risk Factor Scoring
  Example 9. Rutgers Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation Benefit Cost Analysis to Evaluate and Screen Countermeasures
  Example 11. Missouri Department of Transportation Evaluation Using Empirical Bayes Methodology
   
   
  Table of Content Next >>
Page last modified on August 12, 2015.
Safe Roads for a Safer Future - Investment in roadway safety saves lives
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000