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Highway Safety Improvement Program National Scan Tour

Chapter 11–Observations and Conclusions

While the Scan Tour helped identify a number of notable practices in each State, the Scan Team observed that there were five overall characteristics that were consistent across all Host States:

Streamlined Access to Crash Data and Crash Report Information

North Carolina and Alaska demonstrated that immediate and complete access to crash data was the foundation of a successful data development and screening effort, improving responsiveness to emerging issues and supporting timely evaluation of crash trends. The use of electronic crash reporting efforts, particularly those that parse electronic data submissions (as opposed to electronic submission of crash report images), has an impact on timeliness of data, whereas coding of crash reports can be affected by staffing levels and other complications. For each State, the specifics of crash report information were considered key in developing collision diagrams for projects, supplementing RSA preparation, and identifying the causative effects of crashes.

Strong Documentation of System Screening and Project Selection Processes

In all States, extensive documentation of the screening and project selection processes creates accountability for HSIP staff decisions and demonstrates transparency, which increases accessibility across the DOT and to local agencies. In Utah, Illinois, and New Hampshire, the development of uniformity with the HSM predictive methods has been the basis of strong consistency in evaluation processes throughout each State, supportive of graphical tools that greatly assist in program development decisions and processes.

Pathway for Local Involvement and Nomination of Projects

The inclusion of local agency officials, particularly those from county highway departments and regional planning associations, is imperative if the HSIP is to be successful in States with large rural systems that are not State-maintained. In New Hampshire, Illinois, and Oregon, local agencies can directly nominate projects to the State HSIP. In Alaska and North Carolina, State DOT relationships with municipal agencies are an important component of HSIP project development for the local agency and significant DOT support is offered to these agencies. In Massachusetts, extensive involvement with the MPOs provides a pathway for locally-initiated projects while Utah works directly with local agencies to assist them in pursuing HSIP funding for projects.

Extensive Use of RSAs

RSAs were identified as a key component of screening, project development, and project design. States such as Massachusetts and New Hampshire require RSAs for all HSIP projects (MassDOT also requires RSAs for certain non-HSIP projects), with MassDOT (as well as IDOT) funding RSAs for local agencies. The use of HSIP funds to conduct local agency RSAs was found to be particularly helpful in engaging local agencies in the identification of correctable crashes and potential countermeasures. Most notably, the requirement that RSAs are used in project scoping and project development leads to a more robust project that delivers on crash correction. Like MassDOT, NHDOT uses RSAs to support HSIP project development efforts. The regional planning authorities can request an RSA and, using that information, determine the potential scope of an HSIP project. In North Carolina, the RSA process is a means of engaging Region staff in project development while providing the outside perspective that comes from a diversity of staff on the audit team.

Deliberate and Documented Assessment of Project Performance

The strongest project evaluation performance was noted in Alaska, Illinois, and North Carolina, where long-term project evaluations are undertaken according to established policies. In all of these States, project evaluation was the basis of validating CRFs and formed the basis of observations related to project performance, including the effectiveness of systemic countermeasures applied across multiple locations.


The Scan Team observed that State DOT staff dedicated to HSIP were passionate about the success of the program and invested in the goal of saving lives.

In general, the internal coordination within the State DOT, particularly with regard to project delivery and funding allocation, is just as important as coordination with external partners. Relationships with the agencies collecting and coding crash data are an essential part of understanding the crash problem and scoping appropriate improvements.

The 2015 HSIP National Scan Tour resulted in the identification of key characteristics of successful HSIP administration, planning, implementation and evaluation practices. These findings come from States of varying sizes, with different roadway characteristics and safety concerns. The findings from the HSIP National Scan Tour provide a resource for all transportation safety practitioners to improve and enhance their HSIP processes and program implementation efforts.

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Page last modified on June 21, 2016
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