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Highway Safety Improvement Program National Scan Tour

Executive Summary

The Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) is a core Federal-aid program with the purpose of achieving a significant reduction in traffic fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads, including non-State-owned facilities. In its efforts to ensure that the program investment produces an optimal outcome, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) conducted a scan tour of HSIP practices in the fall of 2015. The purpose of the Scan Tour was to identify notable practices in the areas of HSIP administration, planning, implementation and evaluation in high-performing States with the goal of sharing this information among all the States.

FHWA in partnership with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) considered a variety of factors in selecting the seven Scan Tour States, including the:

Based on these factors, the scan team visited Alaska, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, and Utah on the Scan Tour.

The Scan Tour findings highlighted a number of notable practices related to: documenting HSIP processes; coordinating with internal and external partners; understanding the relationship between the Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) and HSIP; making data-driven safety decisions; using advanced safety analysis methods and tools; addressing local road needs; considering all four “E's”; establishing multi-year plan and budget; and identifying opportunities to streamline project delivery. However, five common initiatives stood out across all of the States. Table 1 provides a brief description of each of these initiatives.

Table 1. Five common HSIP initiatives.

Initiative Description
Streamlined Access to Crash Data and Crash Report Information The use of electronic crash reporting efforts impacts timeliness of data. For each State, the crash report information is key in developing collision diagrams for projects, supplementing road safety audit (RSA) preparation, and identifying the causative effects of crashes. Since most States do not actually own the crash data, it is important that not only the DOT, but all safety stakeholders have access to the data. Many States have a web portal, or something similar, enabling access to crash data. Typically, the DOT was a key partner in ensuring this level of accessibility exists.
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 and understanding across the DOT and to local agencies.
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. All host States provide a mechanism for local agencies to use HSIP funds, either via a set-aside or similar program, or competition through the State program.
Extensive Use of RSAs All States identified RSAs as a key component of screening, project development, and project design. 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, several States require RSAs as part of project scoping and project development, which leads to a more robust project that delivers on crash correction.
Deliberate and Documented Assessment of Project Performance Project evaluation is the basis of validating project and program performance. All Host States complete some form of project evaluation, such as reviewing before/after crash history at individual project locations, developing measures of effectiveness for particular countermeasures or evaluating the success of the program as a whole.

It is anticipated that these key practice areas will engage State DOTs in their individual efforts to evaluate the HSIP and consider strategic initiatives designed to implement the notable practices described in this report. 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, weaknesses and opportunities. The goal of this report is to give States a better understanding of successful HSIP practices that can help enhance and improve their existing HSIP.

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Page last modified on June 21, 2016
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