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Highway Safety Improvement Program National Scan Tour

Chapter 2–Documentation of HSIP Processes

Many States develop clear documentation of the processes they use to administer the HSIP. These processes typically define how to identify, evaluate, prioritize, and fund safety improvement projects. This documentation not only helps to ensure implementation consistency across an agency, but it also helps stakeholders understand the requirements for using these funds.

Each of the Host States exhibited comprehensive documentation regarding the HSIP program, policies, procedures, outcomes, and safety data. Each of these types of documents are useful not only in that they provide a framework for DOT operation but also because they are useful tools for the cooperating agencies, particularly assisting them in understanding how to take participate in the HSIP. Appendix D provides links to State HSIP documentation.


HSIP Documentation in Alaska

The Alaska HSIP Handbook. Image showing the cover of the 2016 edition of the Alaska Highway Safety Improvement Program Handbook. In the upper left is the DOT&PF seal, consisting of a plane over a mountain range in the background, a ship in water in the middle ground, and a vehicle on a two-lane road in the foreground.

Figure 1. The Alaska HSIP Handbook.

In Alaska, the Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF) State Traffic and Safety Engineer has the responsibility of maintaining a variety of manuals and project development policy documentation. The Alaska HSIP Handbook (Figure 1) is evaluated and updated annually and on an as-needed basis to address changes in law, program and policy rules, and clarifications. Updates also address crash costs and crash modification factors (CMF) as needed. The Handbook is readily accessible from the Alaska DOT&PF web site, in addition to other HSIP documentation. (2)

The Handbook clearly defines the process of HSIP project development, the criteria for project selection, and handling of funds and project delivery activities. Development of this documentation was the result of a facilitative relationship between the FHWA Division Office and the State Traffic and Safety Engineer’s office. The support of the Commissioner ensured that resources were available to address the HSIP regulations with appropriate and sufficient documentation, ensuring the program would be equitably and consistently applied.

Program Handbooks and Policy Manuals

These handbooks define how the HSIP functions in each State. Alaska, Illinois, Utah, and New Hampshire highlighted their extensive and regularly-updated handbooks. These handbooks contain direction on how the agency will identify, evaluate, prioritize, and fund safety improvement projects. This documentation not only helps to ensure implementation consistency across an agency, but it also helps stakeholders understand the requirements for using these funds.

In Illinois, the HSIP documentation is organized as an engineering policy memorandum, publication Safety 1-06, available from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) web site.(3) This publication includes several appendices that provide complete information about the program administration and procedures, shown in Table 2. The policy memorandum, which is published by the Central Bureau of Safety Engineering (BSE) at the direction of the Bureau Chief, is followed by all of the Districts, along with other engineering policy memoranda issued by the IDOT Central Office in Springfield.

Table 2 . Appendices in IDOT HSIP engineering policy memorandum.

Appendix Topic
Appendix A Funding Allocation Process Federal HSIP Funding Flow Chart
Appendix B HSIP Project Selection Process
Appendix C Peer Groups and References on Countermeasures
Appendix D Benefit-to-Cost Methodology
Appendix F Safety Improvements-Service Life
Appendix G HSIP Candidate Form
Appendix H Example of Submittal Package

Like Illinois, New Hampshire also provides information useful to local agencies wishing to participate in the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) HSIP. Included in the appendices of the NHDOT HSIP Manual and Guidance are a sample HSIP Project Application spreadsheet and a sample Road Safety Audit Application. The NHDOT Manual is developed and updated by the NHDOT HSIP Committee.

The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) HSIP Program Manual includes information on the non-infrastructure project process, addressing projects related to education, crash data improvements, and integration of safety into the planning process. (4) In Oregon, the Highway Safety Program Guide addresses the development of all safety projects, including HSIP projects, particularly emphasizing the relationship of the projects to the Oregon SHSP. (5) Oregon’s efforts to create a jurisdictionally-blind system are reflected in the Guide’s clear instructions regarding applying with the local Region Traffic office.

In Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) HSIP Guidelines address project selection criteria in a policy briefing. Massachusetts, Utah, and North Carolina have established practices for conducting Road Safety Audits and those are reflected in the RSA documentation maintained by each department.

Safety Engineering Manuals

In addition to the engineering policy memorandum which describes the function and rules of the program, States also publish safety engineering documentation to assist agency staff in executing the program in a consistent manner. IDOT provides extensive documentation for agency staff and consultants, including the Systemic Safety Manual, various spreadsheet-based evaluation tools including the Benefit/Cost (b/c) Analysis Tool and Highway Safety Manual (HSM) Crash Prediction Tool, and the HSIP Process Flow Chart in Appendix B of the IDOT HSIP Policy. IDOT is also developing a Safety Engineering Manual as a supplement to the IDOT HSIP policy memorandum, designed to support the deployment of documented safety engineering processes. In addition, the BSE is developing a policy regarding safety in project development, which will provide guidance for safety-related project advancement decisions for all projects, including HSIP-funded work.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) also publishes guidelines related to the Safety Warrants, including regular updates to Safety Warrant Criteria , published by the Traffic Safety Systems Section of the NCDOT.(6) Publications by MassDOT, UDOT, and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) also provide information on how to undertake the process of safety engineering and ensure that countermeasures and procedures with documented success are used in the project development process.

Documenting Safety Outcomes

States with strong monitoring and evaluation programs, including Alaska, Illinois, North Carolina, Oregon, and Utah, all have developed channels to share the safety outcomes within their agencies and outside. North Carolina conducts a Safety Projects Evaluation Program and publishes the results of those evaluations on its web site, specifically in the Crash Reduction Factor (CRF) List. (7) This list, similar to State-specific lists prepared by UDOT, ODOT, and Alaska DOT&PF, provides local context for b/c analysis and addresses limitations associated with using non-geographic crash data.

Alaska, Illinois, North Carolina, Oregon, and Utah also participate in the development and ongoing growth of the Crash Modification Factor Clearinghouse by providing data related to HSIP and other safety projects. In addition to publishing data related to safety program outcomes in the CRF, the NCDOT also provides access to the completed RSAs associated with the HSIP projects.

Web Sites

Nearly all of the States visited on the Scan Tour maintain web pages dedicated to their HSIP. Appendix D provides links to State HSIP web pages. Agencies maintaining public-facing web sites generally provide a background of the program and links to resources such as the program manual. The IDOT web site provides extensive information on the program and, like MassDOT, provides public access to a crash data portal.

North Carolina provides detailed reports on the HSIP projects for past years for each project, including roadway sections, intersections, and bicycle/pedestrian projects. This web site is available to the public. (8)

While UDOT’s HSIP web site provides a focus on the engineering fundamentals and program, UDOT’s partners maintain web sites focused much more on behavioral aspects, including Utah’s Zero Fatalities program and various Department of Public Safety (DPS) initiatives.

ODOT provides HSIP related guidance and materials on its All-Roads Transportation Safety (ARTS) web site. (9) This includes a list of 120 safety countermeasures, implementation plans for the three focus areas of roadway departure, intersections, and pedestrian/bicycle, and example business cases for safety projects. The key to the ARTS program web site is that it provides accessibility to all local agencies seeking HSIP funding for a safety project. In addition to providing application forms, ODOT also provides example business cases (those with positive ratios), including the example business case for an intersection systemic project displayed in Figure 2.

Chapter 5 includes further discussion of the countermeasures and implementation plans in the section on spot versus systemic improvements.

Image. ODOT project business case – intersection systemic example. Image showing a partially filled out form for ODOT project business case. The purpose of the form is to describe safety problems that exist at an intersection, the importance of addressing these problems, what is required to address the problems, and the benefits that will come about as a result.

Figure 2. ODOT project business case - intersection systemic example.


Top-performing HSIP States have developed HSIP documentation, including program handbooks, procedure manuals, and documentation regarding statistical information used in safety analysis. States with web sites have engaged stakeholders, including local agencies seeking to address safety issues using HSIP funding for an eligible project. In an effort to provide consistency and assist local agencies and consultants in HSIP and safety program development and project design work, several Host States provide safety engineering manuals and other documentation related to the HSIP and general safety engineering project development.

  1. Alaska DOT&PF. Statewide Design and Engineering Services. Available online at dot.alaska.gov/stwddes/dcstraffic/hsip.shtml. Accessed February 24, 2016.
  2. Illinois DOT. Safety Engineering Policy Memorandum. Available online at idot.illinois.gov/Assets/uploads/files/Transportation-System/Manuals-Guides-"&"-Handbooks/Safety/SAFETY%201.06%20-%20Safety%20Engineering%20Policy%20Memorandum.pdf. Accessed February 24, 2016.
  3. Utah DOT. Highway Safety Improvement Program Manual. Available online at udot.utah.gov/main/uconowner.gf?n=3562132679126905. Accessed February 24, 2016.
  4. Oregon DOT. ODOT Highway Safety Program Guide. Available online at oregon.gov/odot/hwy/traffic-roadway/docs/pdf/odot_safety_program_guide.pdf. Accessed February 24, 2016.
  5. North Carolina DOT. Highway Safety Improvement Program: Safety Warrants. Available online at connect.ncdot.gov/resources/safety/HSIP%20Library/2013%20HSIP%20Warrants.pdf. Accessed February 24, 2016.
  6. North Carolina DOT. North Carolina Project Development Crash Reduction Factor Information. Available online at connect.ncdot.gov/resources/safety/TrafficSafetyResources/NCDOT%20CRF%20Update%20with%20References.pdf. Accessed February 24, 2016.
  7. North Carolina DOT. Highway Safety Programs and Projects. Available online at connect.ncdot.gov/resources/safety/Pages/NC-Highway-Safety-Program-and-Projects.aspx. Accessed February 24, 2016.
  8. Oregon DOT. Traffic-Roadway Section (TRS) – All Roads Transportation Safety. Available online at oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/TRAFFIC-ROADWAY/Pages/ARTS.aspx. Accessed February 24, 2016.
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