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FHWA Home / Safety / HSIP / Highway Safety Improvement Program Self Assessment Tool

Frequently Asked Questions

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General

The response to the question seems to be yes or no; what do I do? While a simple “yes” or “no” response could be provided in many instances, the purpose of the self-assessment activity is to assess the level of adoption. Determine the level of adoption among initiation, development, execution, evaluation and integration and then assign a score.

If my state has not evaluated a practice, but that practice has been integrated into agency culture, how do we score it? If an agency scores themselves between 13 and 15, then the concept addressed in the question is deemed to be fully integrated into the culture of the agency. While a formal evaluation may not have occurred, it likely that some form of evaluation did take place for that concept to have been advanced to the integration phase.

If my state is implementing a noteworthy practice on a case-by-case basis, does that equate to integration? If a noteworthy practice is being implemented on a case-by-case basis, it would not be considered fully integrated into the culture of the agency. Case-by-case implementation might be considered execution, until such time an evaluation determines this is an effective practice that should be integrated into the culture of an agency.

How do I compare the score in our state with a score in another state? The intent of this self-assessment tool is to provide each state with a tool to track progress in implementing program improvements on a year by year basis, identify gaps in current HSIP efforts, and to spur thinking on strategies to improve HSIP-related activities. What may be important or favorable in one state, may not be in another state; therefore, a fair comparison cannot be made between states.

How should I report the results to my management? By completing the self-assessment in the first year, a benchmark score will be established to compare current HSIP activities to identified noteworthy practices. An agency will identify areas of strengths and opportunities for improvement through the self assessment process. Both the strengths and opportunities should be shared with management so that they are aware of the status of the HSIP in their state.

Leadership

What is the correlation between the HSIP and the SHSP goals? It is the intent that the HSIP be linked to the SHSP in the Planning, Implementation and Evaluation phases of the process. Information from the SHSP feeds directly into the HSIP for problem identification, countermeasure identification, project prioritization, implementation of projects and evaluation of the project effectiveness.

Could the responsible person (4.1.2) and the safety champion (4.1.3) be the same person? The goal is for these two positions would be filled by two different individuals; however, due to the small size of many agencies, these positions may be occupied by the same individual. The safety champion will have access to senior or executive management with the agency whereas the HSIP responsible person would have program oversight responsibilities.

Administration

Why should safety funds be used on all roads in the state? A data-driven approach to identifying and prioritizing high crash locations and then constructing projects to improve safety should not be impeded by jurisdictional boundaries.

How much flexibility do I have to make adjustments to the HSIP process? States often decide to develop processes and procedures that vary from the Federal requirements to meet the specific needs of the State. These processes and procedures should be developed in consultation with and approved by the FHWA prior to implementation.

Planning

Why should advanced statistical methods be used for network screening? Advanced statistical methods can improve the effectiveness of the network screening process since they address the crash normalization factors (especially related to regression-to-the-mean) and traffic volume changes. Use of these advanced methods can ensure that the limited safety funds are truly addressing safety needs.

Should we be spending time and money on high-risk locations that have not experienced a high number of crashes? Absolutely. Traditional network screening approaches identify high crash locations (i.e. black spots) to implement a particular treatment. However, crashes are rare and random events and often not isolated to one location, rather across the network. This is especially true of crashes involving fatalities and serious injuries. Several states have found success in identifying prevalent crash types and implementing systemic treatments at locations with high risk features associated with those crash types. Finding the appropriate balance between systemic and spot location improvements should be determined by each State.

Is there a limit to the number of contributing factors that can be identified at a potential safety improvement location? No. There are often multiple contributing factors for crashes related to various SHSP emphasis areas, including driver-related causes (e.g., inattention, driving while intoxicated), vehicle-related causes (e.g., vehicle malfunction, flat tire), roadway- and roadside-related causes (e.g., sharp curve, sight distance limitations) or environment-related causes (e.g., wet pavement, snow covered roads). Identifying as many of the contributing factors as possible is an important part of the process to determine the most appropriate mitigation measures.

Why should I conduct an RSA for the HSIP? Road Safety Audits (RSAs) are a proven low-cost strategy for reducing the frequency and severity at high-crash locations when conducted by an experienced, multidisciplinary team. RSAs can be used to supplement other engineering studies to provide a broader and more complete picture of the crash problem and can strengthen the countermeasure development process.

Implementation

Evaluation

Why should we collect after data for our agency to compute our own crash modification factors (CMFs) when they are available at the CMF clearinghouse? By developing agency-specific CMFs, a state can have increased confidence in the effectiveness of crash countermeasures. Agency-specific CMFs are more likely to match local conditions (i.e. topography, weather). Further, the agency now has detailed knowledge about the CMF development process that they can use to increase the efficiency of funds used for future HSIP projects. When shared within the state and among states, this information provides the ability to improve the ever-changing state of the practice in traffic safety.

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Page last modified on June 17, 2011.
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