U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

Skip to content
Facebook iconYouTube iconTwitter iconFlickr iconLinkedInInstagram


FHWA Home / Safety / HSIP / Highway Safety Improvement Program Manual

Highway Safety Improvement Program Manual

  Table of Contents Next >

PDF [7.213 MB]

Federal Highway Administration
Office of Safety
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

U.S. DOT logo

January 2010



The Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) Manual updates the 1981 HSIP User’s Manual (FHWA-TS-81-218) to reflect current law, regulations and new and emerging technologies and noteworthy practices regarding state and local highway safety improvement programs and related activities.  The HSIP consists of three main components that are essential to the success of the program:  planning, implementation and evaluation.

The process and procedures outlined in the Manual can be used by state agencies to administer the HSIP, as required by 23 CFR 924.  In addition, transportation planning organizations, as well as county and local government agencies can use the HSIP Manual to plan, implement, and evaluate highway safety improvement programs and projects that best meet their capabilities and needs.

For additional information, please contact the HSIP Team in the Office of Safety. We wish you continued success in implementing programs and projects to reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries on our nation’s roadways.

Joseph S. Toole Signature

Joseph S. Toole
Associate Administrator

Office of Safety


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 to ensure continuous quality improvement.

Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.


2. Government Accession No.

3. Recipient’s Catalog No.

4. Title and Subtitle

Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) Manual

5. Report Date

January 2010

6. Performing Organization Code

7. Author(s)

Susan Herbel, Lorrie Laing, Colleen McGovern

8. Performing Organization Report No.

9. Performing Organization Name and Address

Cambridge Systematics, Inc.
100 CambridgePark Drive, Suite 400
Cambridge, MA  02140

10. Work Unit No.

11. Contract or Grant No.


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

Technical Manual

14. Sponsoring Agency Code


15. Supplementary Notes

FHWA COTM:  Karen Yunk, Office of Safety

Technical oversight working group members:  Bryan Allery (Colorado Department of Transportation), Roya Amjadi (TFHRC), Thomas Elliott (National Highway Institute), Reed Henry (Arizona Department of Transportation), Dan Magri (Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development), Bonnie Polin (Massachusetts Highway Department), Jacinda Russell (FHWA NH Division), Joseph Santos (Florida Department of Transportation), Kurt Smith (Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities), Betsey Tramonte (FHWA LA Division), and Rudolph Umbs (FHWA Resource Center).

16. Abstract

This HSIP Manual describes the overall Highway Safety Improvement Program and provides a roadway safety management process which focuses on results by emphasizing a data-driven, strategic approach to improving highway safety through infrastructure-related improvements.  Current laws and regulations, new and emerging technologies, and noteworthy practices are presented for each of the HSIP’s four basic steps – analyze data, identify potential countermeasures, prioritize and select projects and determine effectiveness.

This comprehensive highway reference is intended for state and local transportation safety practitioners working on HSIPs and safety projects. 

17. Key Words

Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), safety management, countermeasure identification, project prioritization, Safety Performance Functions (SPF), Crash Modification Factors (CMF).

18. Distribution Statement

No restrictions.  This document is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA  22161.

19. Security Classif. (of this report)


20. Security Classif. (of this page)


21. No of Pages


22. Price



The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act – a Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) established the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) as a core Federal-aid highway program.  SAFETEA-LU reinforced the need for strategic planning and data-driven decisions.  The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provided clarifying guidance to the States via updates to the Federal regulation that supports the HSIP (23 CFR 924).  However, these actions require additional guidance for state departments of transportation and local government agencies to implement programs that will achieve a significant reduction in traffic fatalities and serious injuries on public roads.

The Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) Manual provides an overview of the HSIP and outlines procedures and tools to assist transportation professionals with the planning, implementation and evaluation phases of the HSIP.  The HSIP Manual was developed based on the latest research, as well as state and local practices, pertaining to roadway safety management processes.  Hyperlinks throughout the document connect the user to valuable resources to assist with their decision-making processes.  The HSIP Manual is a valuable tool and a comprehensive reference for state and local transportation safety practitioners working to advance the HSIP and other safety projects.

A technical oversight working group, consisting of Federal and state representatives, guided the development of the HSIP Manual.  The primary role of the working group was to review various aspects of the HSIP Manual for technical accuracy and recommend best practices and procedures to ensure the Manual meets practitioner needs.  Their gracious contributions and expertise will support the development of many life-saving programs resulting in fewer fatalities and serious injuries on our nation’s roadways.

Table of Contents

1.0     HSIP Foundations

1.1    HSIP Manual Purpose and Contents

1.2    The Nature of Road Safety

1.3    Background and History of the HSIP

1.4    Current Legislation and Agency Guidelines

1.5    Integrating Safety into the Project Development Processes

1.6    Safety Goals, Objectives, and Performance Measures

1.7    Resources and Technologies

1.8    Summary

2.0     Planning:  Problem Identification

2.1    Nominal and Substantive Safety

2.2    Data Collection

2.3    Data Analysis Concepts

2.4    Network Screening Process

2.5    Summary

3.0     Planning:  Countermeasure Identification

3.1    Step 1 – Analyze the Data

3.2    Step 2 – Assess Site Conditions

3.3    Step 3 – Identify Potential Countermeasures

3.4    Step 4 – Assess Countermeasure Effectiveness

3.5    Engineering Case Study

3.6    Summary

4.0     Planning:  Project Prioritization

4.1    The Objective Approach

4.2    Benefit/Cost Analysis

4.3    Countermeasure Evaluation Methods

4.4    Prioritization Methods

4.5    Approaches Addressing Current and Future Safety Problems

4.6    Summary

5.0     Implementation

5.1    HSIP Funding Requirements

5.2    Federal Safety Funding Sources

5.3    Funding Allocation Issues

5.4    Programming Projects

5.5    Evaluation Plan Development

5.6    Summary

6.0     Evaluation

6.1    Project Evaluation

6.2    Program Evaluation

6.3    Feedback to Future Planning

6.4    Summary

List of Tables

Table 1.1    Potential Safety Tasks in the Preliminary Design Process

Table 2.1    Summary of Problem Identification Methodologies

Table 2.2    Screening Method Applications

Table 3.1    Intersection Collision Summary

Table 3.2    Collision Summary

Table 4.1    Relative Disutility Factors by Injury Severity Level (MAIS)

Table 4.2    Crash Costs by Injury Severity Level

Table 6.1    Safety Evaluation Method Data Requirements

Table C.1   Haddon Matrix

List of Figures

Figure 1.1  Highway Safety Improvement Program Components

Figure 1.2  Per Person Cost of Crashes versus Congestion

Figure 1.3  Relationships of HSIP Programs

Figure 1.4  Relationships between the SHSP and HSIP

Figure 1.5  Coordinated Transportation Safety Planning

Figure 2.1  Variations in Crash Frequency

Figure 2.2  Data Series for Example Intersection

Figure 2.3  Example of Regression to the Mean

Figure 2.4  SPF with Individual Site Data

Figure 2.5  Empirical Bayes Method

Figure 3.1  Crash Types at an Intersection

Figure 3.2  Crash Factors

Figure 3.3  Collision Diagram

Figure 3.4  Intersection Collision Diagram

Figure 6.1  Simple Before/After Evaluation

Figure 6.2  Empirical Bayes Method

Figure 6.3  Before/After Evaluation Using the EB Method

Figure 6.4  Before/After Evaluation Using a Comparison Group

Figure 6.5  Cross-Sectional Evaluation

Figure 6.6  General Statistics

Figure 6.7  Trend Analysis

Figure 6.8  SHSP Emphasis Area

Figure 6.9  HSIP Subprogram

Figure 6.10  Systemic Treatment

  Table of Contents Next >
Page last modified on February 5, 2010
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