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Intersection Safety Needs Identification Report

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Purpose & Scope

This Needs Identification Report reflects the findings from the preliminary study that reviewed the progress that has been made on intersection safety in the U.S. since the National Agenda for Intersection Safety was published in 2002. This report can help decision makers in any highway agency, or organizations such as industry and academia, in their investment in reducing crashes and their impacts related to intersections, with emphasis on reducing fatalities and serious injuries. 

The strategies presented were developed with a consensus of national experts.  They specifically focus on filling needed key program and technology gaps, emphasizing activities that can enhance improvement efforts for intersection safety.  These strategies consider the Four E’s— Engineering, Education, Enforcement, and Emergency Medical Services (EMS)—because attaining the desired increase in safety improvement at intersections will require increased awareness, communication, and coordination  for transportation industry stakeholders. 


The Agenda, published in 2002, was originated to record the findings of the National Intersection Safety Workshop of November 2001 that focused on improving and increasing intersection safety.  One of the goals was to have the state representatives go back to their states and develop a plan of action to address intersection safety.

As the Agenda did previously, this report lists only major program gaps and activities, rather than all ongoing programs, which can enhance the outcomes of intersection safety.  This report provides recommendations to help intersection safety professionals fill gaps in current and future planned activities and programs.  It is important to realize that this report does not list all the ongoing programs and activities that continue to be needed for providing intersection safety.  The consensus of needs and associated strategies herein involved the assessment of the adequacy of the Agenda, as well as the adequacy of updated information regarding gaps, emphasis areas, and needs in technology and programs for intersection safety.

Current State of Intersection Safety

Intersection fatalities declined from 8,922 in 2001to 8,657 in 2007. However, during the time period needed for implementing the Agenda's activities, intersection fatalities continued increasing to 9,273 and 9,362 in 2002 and 2003, respectively, until a steady reduction began in 2004.

Exhibit I shows that in 2007, approximately 2.4 million intersection-related crashes occurred, representing approximately 40 percent of total reported crashes.  This caused an annual cost to society for intersection crashes of approximately $83 billion.

Exhibit I – 2007 Intersection Crashes as Related to Societal Cost
  Number Percentage Societal Cost
(Dollars in Billions)
Total Fatal Crashes 37,248 not applicable $126.3
Total Intersection-Related Fatal Crashes 8,202 22.0% $27.8
Total Injury Crashes 1,711,000 not applicable $68.7
Total Intersection-Related Injury Crashes 767,000 44.8% $51.3
Total Property Damage Only (PDO) Crashes 4,275,000 not applicable $11.2
Total Intersection-Related PDO Crashes 1,617,000 37.8% $4.2
All Crashes 6,024,000 not applicable $206.2
Total Intersection-Related Crashes 2,393,000 39.7% $83.3

There was a 6.3 percent reduction in intersection fatalities between 1998 and 2007 (9,240 to 8,657). In 2007, 8,657 fatalities (21 percent of the traffic fatalities) occurred at or within the influence areas of intersections. As shown in Exhibit II, between 1998 and 2007, the minimum and maximum number of intersection fatalities was 8,657 and 9,362, respectively.  The average number of intersection fatalities for this  10-year period was 9,033.

Exhibit II – Intersection Fatalities - 1998-2007

Exhibit 2 - graph - The “x” axis is marked in increments of 2,000, beginning with 8,200 at the bottom and ending with 9,600 at the top.   On the bottom “y” axis, the years 1998 through 2007 are arrayed from left to right.  Above each year, a vertical bar represents the number of fatalities for that year, as follows: 1998-9,240, 1999-8,924, 2000-8,589, 2001-8,922, 2002-9,273, 2003-9,362, 2004-9,176, 2005-9,238, 2006-8,850, 2007-8,657

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Page last modified on September 4, 2014.
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