U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Highly successful programs look beyond just engineering solutions to address safety issues. When appropriate, consideration is given to possible solutions and countermeasures in all "4E's" (i.e. Enforcement, Education, Emergency Response, and Engineering). In some cases, States have developed alternate procedures for evaluating the effectiveness of these projects so they can be included in the overall ranking of HSIP projects.
SPOTLIGHT ON SAFETY:
Utah's Zero Fatalities Program
UDOT has a coordinated effort to send consistent messages related to Zero Fatalities. The campaign promotes the message of Zero Fatalities, which originated with “Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day.” All public information campaigns are branded as a joint effort, showing the cooperative atmosphere, and developed to address some behavioral issues identified in the SHSP. Funding is appropriated for paid media and public outreach activities. Outreach efforts include more than 50 events every year, including some at high schools that target typical risky behaviors associated with younger drivers. The biennial Zero Fatalities conference is another way in which UDOT brings partners together to advance the traffic safety culture within Utah. UDOT has collected data on behavioral-related crashes that demonstrate it has addressed driver behavior issues, particularly in the area of restraint use.
The Traffic and Safety Division manages the Zero Fatalities program, reporting directly to the Safety Programs Engineer and Director of Traffic and Safety. The Zero Fatalities program office has obtained grassroots-originated ideas and support through its extensive public involvement program. Roughly 90 percent of citizens in the State recognize the program. The program is funded with an appropriation of approximately $2 million annually. UDOT used HSIP funds for this activity in the past but, are no longer eligible under the new federal transportation bill, the December 2015 Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The Traffic and Safety Division is working to find other sources of funding to keep the Zero Fatalities program running into the future.
Utah's approach to safety outreach has been to create positive and/or thought-provoking messages, particularly related to restraint use and driving habits. As UDOT and DPS have worked together to achieve saturation in their public relations efforts, the agencies have made use of many available outlets, including variable message signs. The “Monday Messages” set a safety theme for a given week by displaying a safety-focused message on variable message sign boards throughout the State. Utah's Zero Fatalities staff manage an active social media presence, using social media and video sharing platforms with a single, cohesive marketing strategy to disseminate the message using conventional and social media outlets and in cooperation with UDOT Traffic Operations. Figure 14 demonstrates the public's interest in UDOT's social media outreach efforts.
Figure 14. UDOT's zero fatalities Facebook posts reach a large audience.
In many of the Host States, public information campaigns and public involvement were key features of HSIP implementation. Utah's DPS and Zero Fatalities offices coordinate extensive public information campaigns and NHDOT provides SHSP and Driving Toward Zero outreach at community events that reach the substantial number of out-of-State visitors, particularly motorcyclists.
UDOT recognition that 93 percent of crashes have a correctable behavioral component has led to the development of a strong behavioral education program. This necessarily involves extensive coordination with the DPS, the agency responsible for administering NHTSA funding. In Utah, the DPS and UDOT have executive-level coordination concerning traffic safety, providing for a coordinated and cooperative approach. Utah outreach efforts also include explaining and building support for safety engineering analyses.
The Utah Department of Public Safety began using HSIP funds a decade ago as a result of limitations in other funding options. For example, 23 U.S.C. 402 and 405b funds are restricted for use solely in seatbelt outreach efforts. HSIP helps supplement these efforts to target areas that cannot be covered with 402 and 405b funds. HSIP funds are transferred for a specific project or enforcement activity area and UDOT is billed by DPS for reimbursement by means of a memorandum of understanding between the agencies. At this time, DPS receives reimbursement only for enforcement programs related to seat belt use, exceeding the posted speed limit, and aggressive driving. DPS and UDOT share the view that behavioral change is the responsibility of all State agencies with activities not merely limited to law enforcement initiatives. Everything within DPS that is funded is designed to support a specific performance measure.
UDOT and Utah DPS coordinate to deliver a strong driver behavioral education program using HSIP funding.
In Oregon, all projects have a community outreach component, typically managed by ODOT staff. These behavioral programs involve coordination between the GHSO (Governor's Highway Safety Office) Transportation Safety Division (TSD) Region Safety Coordinator and ARTS staff in each Region. The importance of involving the public in the project development process was explicitly identified as a key to project success. ODOT indicated that the solicitation of public input on project scope and content increases public satisfaction with projects and provides a platform for conveying the importance of highway safety investments.
ODOT coordinates with the GHSO Region Safety Coordinator and ARTS staff in each Region to deliver community outreach behavioral programs.
MassDOT is addressing bicycle and pedestrian issues with a specific bicycle/pedestrian safety program which includes enforcement, awareness, education and infrastructure. A $500,000 behavioral public information campaign for bicycle/pedestrian crashes is being used to address all modes and yielding/right-of-way behavior in particular. Because of its relationships with local law enforcement agencies and the State Police, MassDOT has been able to partner with regional advocacy groups MassBike and Walk Boston in an effort to deliver messages regarding effective behavioral campaigns to law enforcement personnel. MassBike partnered with the Boston Police Department and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and produced a series of videos regarding the application of traffic laws related to bicycles, raising awareness of how often motorists and vulnerable users engage in unsafe behavior. (16) The videos are shown during the police department roll calls so that police personnel can immediately apply what they have learned.
MassDOT's partnership with regional advocacy groups, local law enforcement, and the Massachusetts DPH has helped with delivery of a bicycle/pedestrian safety program that includes enforcement, awareness, education, and infrastructure.
NHDOT selected “Driving Toward Zero” as an alternative to “Toward Zero Deaths,” emphasizing the positive aspect of the program and its focus on the goal and not the present outcomes. When NHDOT developed the Driving Toward Zero (DTZ) campaign, the initial goal of the campaign was to raise awareness of DTZ, including branding and marketing. The program, deployed by the NHDOT staff, was the impetus in transforming the SHSP from an engineering document to an easily-understandable resource that is a tool for engaging the public. NHDOT issued a contract to a marketing firm and worked with that firm to publicize DTZ throughout New Hampshire, including through the use of trained DTZ ambassadors who staffed the various festivals and events throughout NH, reaching both residents and visitors. HSIP funding was used to conduct this effort, amounting to $250,000 for this and a second contract.
NHDOT contracts with marketing firms to assist in the delivery of their Driving Toward Zero campaign. The campaign also involves coordination between NHDOT and the New Hampshire State Police to promote the SHSP strategies and maximize the investment of HSIP funds.
Figure 15. Brochure created under NHDOT's Driving Toward Zero program.
Using a second marketing contract, NHDOT performed public outreach activities related to the goals of the new SHSP, building on the awareness efforts and illustrating their partnerships with the New Hampshire State Police (NHSP) and other State agencies. SHSP strategies have aided agencies in their efforts to target resources on emphasis areas, such as exceeding the posted speed limit, distracted driving, and, notably, Liquor Control Board efforts to use driving under the influence arrest information to target liquor establishments in high-risk areas and ensure compliance to liquor service laws. In addition, the program's efforts have created public outreach tools related to the new hands-free legislation.
The emphasis on achieving the DTZ goal has led to change within the State government as well, such as including the New Hampshire Office of Highway Safety in the Department of Safety, with oversight from the New Hampshire State Police. NHDOT and NHSP are working closely together, using established relationships, to leverage this new arrangement in promoting the SHSP and maximizing the investment of HSIP funds.
All of these campaigns, delivered on a contract overseen by NHDOT, require approval from the Governor's office. Obtaining support from that office to use HSIP funds for this purpose was instrumental in developing trust that NHDOT was promoting the interests of official policy through the campaign.
Utah has conducted tribal outreach efforts focusing on data collection on tribal lands. The Four Corners Conference helps tribes plan for traffic safety outcomes with a focus on child passenger safety and teen driving. The Department of Public Safety's work with the Native American Advisory group is leading to successful efforts to promote occupant protection by using HSIP funds to supply car seats in tribal areas.
Nearly every Scan Tour State identified RSAs as a key component of screening, project development, and project design.
SPOTLIGHT ON SAFETY:
Requiring RSAs for all HSIP Projects in Massachusetts
Massachusetts was the only Scan Tour State to require the completion of an RSA for all project development activities that include locations on the 5% List, including non-HSIP projects. This use of RSAs ensures that successful evaluation of project alternatives is undertaken in project development, increasing the effectiveness of chosen countermeasures. Figure 16 depicts the incorporation of the RSA into design in Massachusetts.
Figure 16. Incorporating RSA into design in Massachusetts.
In Massachusetts, RSAs are required to be completed prior to the submission of the 25 percent-level design plans and Functional Design Report for all HSIP projects. In addition to using RSAs as a tool for HSIP projects, RSAs are also required for all projects which include any element within the boundary of a 5% List location and the same 25 percent-level submission requirement exists.
Headquarters performs design reviews of 25 percent-level submissions in project development, determining if the RSA has been properly evaluated and incorporated into the project design. Just as HSIP projects often begin with an RSA, the 25 percent-level RSAs for non-HSIP projects are likewise developed prior to the initial design, although RSAs occasionally may not be conducted until near the end of the process of preparing the 25 percent-level submission. An RSA consultant handles the 20 percent of cases where the RSAs are not submitted.
The Functional Design Report includes the resolution to RSA elements, closing the loop on the RSA process and providing a means of ensuring that the value of RSAs is captured in the design process. The MassDOT web site includes all RSA reports, divided by District to permit for easy access. (17)
Towns may request RSAs and MPOs participate in MassDOT RSAs and local-agency-initiated RSAs, bringing local perspectives to projects. In those cases, MassDOT funding covers the $5,000 cost of the RSA, eliminating the barrier of cost and facilitating local efforts aimed at addressing traffic safety issues. In typical project development, however, the cost of the RSA is incorporated into the preliminary design activities and paid for by the facility owner, as appropriate.
NCDOT's Road Safety Review/Audit (RSA) Program is designed and managed to reduce crashes and injuries by generating safety projects/actions, assist field staff in addressing persistent safety problem areas, and improve collaboration amongst stakeholders. NCDOT's RSA Program is managed to be flexible in addressing multiple strategic focus areas. RSAs are conducted to address both rural and urban safety concerns, but the process has also been used to address motorcycle, bicycle, pedestrian, and truck related concerns.
Safety Innovation While not considered an RSA, NCDOT is moving towards requiring a safety analysis for all Traffic Impact Studies for improvements on the highway system.
Local stakeholders can request RSAs. All RSAs are intended to result in a variety of actions and projects that lead to a reduction in fatalities, injuries, and crashes. Local agencies can bring these RSA requests forward for both State-maintained and non-State maintained roadways and NCDOT will assist in either case. NCDOT funds approximately 15 RSAs on an annual basis. Not only does NCDOT conduct RSAs on corridors with multiple HSIP locations, they also query the Field Engineers and Field Division staff for locations where RSAs could lead to potential HSIP projects. NCDOT staff and consultants conduct the RSAs, with staff from the TSSS in the Central Office leading the audit team. Typically, the Central Office expends 160 hours per RSA and Central Office-led RSA teams include representatives from other Regions within NCDOT. These representatives include maintenance and operations personnel who bring the perspective of other Regions to the RSA process and ensure practice-sharing and consistency throughout North Carolina.
In North Carolina, Central Office-led RSA teams include maintenance and operations personnel from other Regions, bringing multiple Regional perspectives to the audit and ensuring practice sharing and consistency throughout the State.
NCDOT requires that local agencies provide a response to the RSA documents within 90 days, addressing how the agency will respond to the issues identified in the RSA. For NCDOT's own RSAs, the RTE prepares a response for the Region on handling the specific issues identified.
NHDOT established an RSA process to assist the local planning agencies and municipal governments in their efforts to identify and address road safety issues, aiding responsiveness to inquiries regarding safety issues in a community or along a roadway segment. Figure 17 depicts the RSA process. The program was originally conducted entirely with NHDOT staff, but now a consultant is responsible for execution of the program. The municipal or town government coordinates with the Regional Planning Commission to complete the RSA application, which is required for each locally-sourced RSA request. This coordination enables the gathering of crash data and other information, followed by submission of the application to the Highway Safety Engineer.
New Hampshire's RSA process defines responsibilities and outcomes. It is a useful tool for identifying the potential scope of safety improvements and it can serve as a pre-screening for HSIP projects on local facilities, particularly those that are not highly-ranked in the network screening process.
Figure 17. NHDOT RSA process.
Because the NHDOT RSA process defines responsibility and outcomes, it is a useful tool for identifying the potential scope of safety improvements and it can serve as a pre-screening for HSIP projects on local facilities, particularly those that are not highly-ranked in the network screening process. The District Engineers participate in the RSA process, in addition to Central Office, regional planning, and local agency staff, providing valuable input from the perspective of maintenance operations. The RSA costs roughly $10,000 and provides documentation of potential safety hazards and defines the responsibility for correcting those, a key driver in generating HSIP projects.
The New Hampshire RSA requests are screened on the basis of crash performance, which is developed using crash data typically obtained from the local police agency so that crash report details are available. RSA applications are accepted at any time and screened annually, and projects advanced to the HSIP candidate list are evaluated with all other RSAs sourced from throughout New Hampshire. NHDOT is considering moving toward an annual solicitation of RSA applications.
IDOT policy requires HSIP projects over $1 million to procure for design documentation an independently-conducted Road Safety Audit/Assessment (RSA) or internal Road Safety Review. IDOT staff conducts approximately 12 RSAs annually and IDOT has made use of T2 funding for travel for law enforcement officials for RSAs. In addition, the McHenry County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) performs its own RSAs after observing how IDOT used the process to identify safety countermeasures and facilitate local involvement. MCDOT makes use of consultant services in the preparation of RSAs for high-crash intersections, a practice that delivers insights for HSIP projects.
IDOT requires all HSIP projects over $1 million to have an RSA. One county in Illinois now performs its own RSAs after observing how IDOT's process helped identify safety countermeasures and facilitate local involvement.
Alaska established the four Alaska Traffic Safety Corridors (ATSC), based on the presence of high-crash locations and approved by the commissioners of Transportation and Public Safety. The Bureau of Highway Patrol, part of the Department of Public Safety's Alaska State Troopers, provides enhanced enforcement in ATSCs. The program is loosely modeled after Oregon and Ohio safety corridor programs. Corridor implementation was coupled with a public information campaign, including commissioners explaining the Report Every Dangerous Driver Immediately (REDDI) program.(18) HSIP funds are used within the limits of ATSCs. This has been one of the more effective ways of addressing the ATSC issues in a timely manner. Because HSIP projects are smaller and more focused, HSIP funds can be used to implement relatively lower-cost improvements sooner than a typical infrastructure solution, which allows a greater degree of flexibility in the corridors where project implementation is often part of a broader and swiftly-deployed strategy to deal with a particular safety issue
Fatal and injury crashes on the ATSCs were reduced by 42 percent overall, over a 5-year period. The DOT&PF AHSO web site includes the reports related to the ATSC program. (19)
In Alaska, the TSCs are not decommissioned when a crash reduction is observed, unless the DOT&PF and the police agency with jurisdiction agree the ATSC is no longer effective or conditions have changed in a way that make it unnecessary. It is believed that ATSC presence, characterized by implementation of appropriate measures (including education, enforcement and engineering) has a beneficial effect on safety and compliance with traffic laws when the public conversation is fed by interagency cooperation and consistent messaging. Alaska's initial experience with the ATSCs was seen as a paradigm shift from addressing total crashes to focusing on the high benefits of successfully curtailing Fatal and Injury-A crashes.
Utah's bi-annual Safety Summit attracts over 500 practitioners from throughout Utah to collaborate and advance transportation safety in Utah. The participants represent a truly multi-disciplinary coalition, including engineering, public safety, and public health. The Summit is jointly funded by the DPS and UDOT, with DPS using a variety of funds and UDOT using HSIP funds exclusively.
In addition, UDOT's partnerships with local and regional emergency services providers and cooperation with local agencies facilitated the implementation of Emergency Medical Services traffic signal pre-emption in a majority of corridors, particularly along the Wasatch Front. Other efforts related to incident management and responsiveness include providing the Utah Highway Patrol with drones and advanced surveying equipment to assist in crash clearance efforts.
The Host States undertake a variety of efforts related to the 4E's to improve safety in their States. This includes conducting public information campaigns and public involvement, conducting RSAs, identifying safety corridors, and coordinating with law enforcement and emergency responders.
In many Host States, public information campaigns and public involvement are key features of HSIP implementations. Utah, Alaska, and New Hampshire make extensive use of public information campaigns related to highway safety, with both Utah and New Hampshire strongly emphasizing a zero deaths initiative as the core of the public information campaign. Utah also conducts significant tribal outreach efforts, focusing on data collection on tribal land and helping tribes plan for traffic safety outcomes with a focus on child passenger safety and teen driving. In Massachusetts, innovative partnerships with advocacy groups have resulted in informed law enforcement agencies improving efforts related to enforcement of bicycle and pedestrian laws, for both motor vehicle operators and vulnerable users.
In Oregon, the importance of involving the public in the project development process was explicitly identified as a key to project success. ODOT indicated that the solicitation of public input on project scope and content increases public satisfaction with projects and provides a platform for conveying the importance of highway safety investments.
Nearly every Host State identified RSAs as a key component of screening, project development, and project design. In North Carolina and Massachusetts, RSAs are conducted at State DOT expense and can be initiated at the request of the local agency.
Massachusetts was the only Host State to require the completion of an RSA for all project development activities that included locations on the 5% List, including non-HSIP projects. This use of RSAs, similar to the New Hampshire requirement for the completion of an RSA for all HSIP projects, ensures that successful evaluation of project alternatives is undertaken in project development, increasing the effectiveness of chosen countermeasures, particularly in States without a strong HSM emphasis.
The Alaska DOT&PF established four Alaska Traffic Safety Corridors based on the presence of high crash locations. DOT&PF uses education, enforcement, and engineering to reduce crashes in the ATSCs. Similarly, Utah uses a multi-disciplinary approach to safety through partnerships with public safety providers, public health providers, and tribal communities. The Utah Department of Public Safety uses HSIP funds for enforcement programs related to seat belt use, exceeding the posted speed limit, and aggressive driving.
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