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Highway Safety Improvement Program National Scan Tour

Chapter 1–Introduction

The Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) is a federally-funded, State-administered program with the purpose of reducing fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads (including non-State-owned public roads and roads on tribal land) through the implementation of highway safety improvement projects. The HSIP requires a data-driven, strategic approach to improving highway safety on all public roads that focuses on performance. While the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) establishes the program requirements under 23 CFR Part 924, each State is required to develop and implement processes to support their HSIP planning, implementation and evaluation efforts. More information about the HSIP is available at the FHWA Office of Safety HSIP Web Site – safety.fhwa.dot.gov/hsip/.

Each State submits an annual report to FHWA that describes the current status of HSIP implementation efforts and the effectiveness of highway safety improvement projects. FHWA uses this information and knowledge of various State programs to identify and publish individual HSIP-related noteworthy practices. However, the last time FHWA led a national review of the HSIP was in 2001, which predates Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) - the Federal transportation bill that transformed the HSIP to what it is today. While there have been several interim review efforts, they have been focused on specific aspects of the HSIP (e.g. high risk rural roads, local road safety). Therefore, FHWA initiated a scan tour in 2015 to gain a holistic perspective of national HSIP implementation efforts. The 2015 HSIP Scan Tour focused on identifying and documenting key characteristics of State HSIP administration, planning, implementation, and evaluation practices from States known to have strong State HSIP practices that would benefit other States.

Scan Scope

The domestic scan involved a tour of seven States (Host States) by a team of transportation professionals from the Federal and State levels. The seven host States were Alaska, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, and Utah. FHWA and AASHTO considered a variety of factors in selecting the seven States, including the geographic size of the state, the size of the overall roadway system and fraction of the system under State control, the composition of the State DOT oversight organization, the State's performance in documentation and reporting, the State's performance in reduction of targeted crashes, and the accessibility of State DOT information on the HSIP. The selection process involved reviews of State HSIP practices and interviews with States selected for advancement to the final selection process.

At each of the seven States, the Scan Team conducted a one-day meeting with representatives from Federal, State, and local transportation safety organizations. Each meeting began with an HSIP overview presentation given by FHWA, followed by a presentation on the State's HSIP practices, presentations from various stakeholder perspectives, and a roundtable discussion. The roundtable discussion focused on successful practices; issues that have been faced and how they have been overcome; safety initiatives and countermeasures that have been pursued; what prompted them and how they have been implemented; how the State is incorporating performance measures and preparing for the impending performance measurement/target setting requirements; data collection, management, and analysis efforts; funding of non-infrastructure projects; and other topics, as appropriate.

Appendix A includes a list of the Scan Tour State key points of contact.

Scan Team Composition

Representatives from FHWA and State DOTs participated on the Scan Team. FHWA members of the Scan Team included a member from the Headquarters Office of Safety and Division Office personnel from Oregon, Indiana, and Tennessee. FHWA and AASHTO selected State DOT representatives from Nevada, Kansas, and Georgia, based on interest and geographic diversity. FHWA hired a contractor to serve as the Scan Team facilitator and logistics coordinator. Appendix B includes the full list of the Scan Team members.

Using and Applying this Report

This report provides the findings of the Scan Tour, organized by the top characteristics of a successful HSIP.(1) The report includes a chapter on each characteristic, highlighting relevant practices that the Host States use to manage and implement their HSIP:

States can use the information in these chapters to learn more about successful State programs and practices, or to help address specific recommendations from program reviews. For example, if a program review identifies an opportunity for a State to better streamline project delivery, the HSIP Manager from that State could jump to Chapter 9 to learn more about how the Host States have streamlined their project delivery processes.

Each chapter contains at least one "Spotlight on Safety." The "Spotlight on Safety" segments highlight practices that stood out as useful or innovative during the Scan Tour. In addition, the report highlights several "Safety Innovations." The "Safety Innovations" contain information that may not be directly related to the HSIP, but still may be of interest to State safety programs.

The report concludes with observations that were consistent across all host States, and which were derived from an analysis of the common themes and notable practices.

Appendix C provides a summary of successful practices by State. The intent of this Appendix is to enable readers to find all information from each Scan Tour State in one succinct place and to view information for the State(s) that most closely match their own State's characteristics. It includes information on the annual HSIP apportionment for each State, the number of roadway miles, and the five year average for fatalities, as well as a summary of notable practices in each chapter.

Appendix D provides a list of HSIP resources, including the FHWA Office of Safety HSIP web site and links to the Host State HSIP web sites.

FHWA understands that there is more than one means for carrying out a highway safety improvement program. Each State must tailor its program to its unique needs and take into account existing strengths and weaknesses. However, the goal of this report is to give States a better understanding of successful HSIP practices that can help enhance and improve an existing HSIP.

  1. FHWA. Top Ten Characteristics of a Successful State Highway Safety Improvement Program. Available online at safety.fhwa.dot.gov/hsip/resources/characteristics10.cfm. Accessed February 24, 2016.
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