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Note: This document was superseded on 2/2/2022 by HSIP Eligibility Guidance

Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) Eligibility Guidance

Date Issued

February 26, 2016, FHWA Office of Safety

Effective date

October 1, 2015


On December 4, 2015, the President signed into law Public Law 114-94, the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (or the FAST Act). The FAST Act continues the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) with minor revisions.

The HSIP is a core Federal-aid program with the purpose of achieving a significant reduction in fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads, including non-State-owned public roads and roads on tribal land. (23 U.S.C. 148(b)).

As described in 23 U.S.C. 148(c)(1), to obligate HSIP funds, a State must have in effect a State HSIP under which the State:


This guidance clarifies HSIP eligibility requirements under the FAST Act for highway safety improvement projects. The term "highway safety improvement project," as defined in 23 U.S.C. 148(a)(4), means strategies, activities, and projects on a public road that are consistent with a SHSP and:

The HSIP requirements in effect on October 1, 2015 under the FAST Act apply to all related funding obligated on or after that date, whether carryover or new. This guidance supersedes the September 24, 2012 HSIP MAP-21 Interim Eligibility Guidance.

Summary of Guidance

Except as described later in this guidance, highway safety improvement projects must be consistent with the State's SHSP (23 U.S.C. 148(a)(4)(A)), and must be identified on the basis of crash experience, crash potential, crash rate, or other data-supported means (23 USC 148(c)(2)(B)). HSIP funds should be used to maximize opportunities to advance highway safety improvement projects that have the greatest potential to reduce the State’s roadway fatalities and serious injuries and support the safety performance targets the State establishes in accordance with 23 U.S.C. 150(d). HSIP funding should support implementation of proven, effective activities. In addition, the cost effectiveness of highway safety improvement projects should be considered during the project selection and prioritization process.

Each step of the eligibility decision-making framework is described in more detail below. General HSIP eligibility considerations, including special circumstances that may require additional consideration and general Federal-aid requirements, are also explained

Consistency with SHSP

Highway safety improvement projects are defined as being consistent with a State's SHSP. (23 USC 148(a)(4)(A)). The projects should logically flow from identified SHSP emphasis areas and strategies. The SHSP emphasis areas should guide HSIP problem identification, and SHSP strategies should influence countermeasure identification and HSIP project selection.

Data-driven process

Highway safety improvement projects must be identified on the basis of crash experience, crash potential, crash rate, or other data-supported means. (23 USC 148(c)(2)(B)). The general framework for the identification and analysis of highway safety problems and countermeasure opportunities is defined in 23 U.S.C. 148(c)(2). This framework is consistent with general roadway safety management practices in that States should:

Figure 1 below illustrates the data-driven process that is the foundation of the HSIP, as well as the relationship between the SHSP and the HSIP.

Figure 1 Relationship between SHSP and HSIP

Figure 1 Relationship between SHSP and HSIP

The data-driven framework allows States to administer the HSIP to address their specific safety needs. Each State is responsible for developing procedures to administer the HSIP in accordance with the requirements of 23 U.S.C. 148 and 23 CFR Part 924. These procedures shall be developed in cooperation with the FHWA Division Offices (23 CFR Part 924.5(b)).

Performance Focus

Funds apportioned to a State to carry out the HSIP should be obligated for highway safety improvement projects that support progress toward the achievement of the national safety performance goal to achieve a significant reduction in traffic fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads (23 U.S.C. 150(b)(1)) and State safety performance targets for the measures described in 23 U.S.C. 150(d).

General HSIP Eligibility

To be eligible under HSIP, a project generally must:

However, there are several types of highway safety improvement projects that may warrant additional consideration, such as:

Automated Enforcement:

As specified in section 1401 of the FAST Act, HSIP funds may not be used for any program to purchase, operate, or maintain an automated traffic enforcement system in fiscal years 2016 through 2020, unless such systems are used to improve safety in school zones. Automated traffic enforcement systems may be eligible for other Federal-aid funding.

Non-infrastructure projects:

While the HSIP is targeted primarily toward infrastructure solutions, the FAST Act amended the list of HSIP activities (23 U.S.C. 148(a)(4)(B)) to limit non-infrastructure activities to only those listed below:

In general, a project that promotes the awareness of the public and creates public awareness of highway safety matters or enforces highway safety laws is no longer eligible under HSIP unless noted above. In addition, research and development activities are generally not eligible under HSIP.

Non-infrastructure projects that remain eligible under HSIP must meet all Title 23 requirements. This includes the requirement that the projects be identified in the Statewide and Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Program (STIP/TIP) and be consistent with the Statewide Long Range Transportation Plan and the Metropolitan Transportation Plan(s).

Projects to maintain minimum levels of retroreflectivity:

Highway safety improvement projects should correct or improve a hazardous road location or feature, or should address a highway safety problem. Under 23 U.S.C. 148(e)(1)(C), HSIP funds may be obligated for any project to maintain minimum levels of retroreflectivity of traffic signs and pavement markings, without regard to whether that project is included in an applicable SHSP. Under 23 U.S.C.148(a)(6), the term "project to maintain minimum levels of retroreflectivity" means a project designed to maintain a highway sign or pavement marking at or above the minimum levels prescribed in Federal regulation (i.e. Section 2.A.08 of the 2009 edition of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), pursuant to 23 CFR Part 655).

Use of other funding for safety:

As noted in 23 U.S.C. 148(e)(2)(A), other Federal-aid funds are eligible under title 23 for highway safety improvement projects. The statute encourages States to address the full scope of their safety needs with funds made available under other provisions of title 23. (23 U.S.C. 148(e)(2)(B)). Improvements to safety features, including traffic signs and pavement markings, that are routinely provided as part of a broader Federal-aid project should be funded from the same source as the broader project as long as the use is eligible under that funding source. FHWA encourages the use of other Federal-aid funds for system-wide replacement projects, where eligible.

General Federal-aid Requirements

The Federal share for highway safety improvement projects is 90 percent, except as provided in 23 U.S.C. 120 and 130. (23 U.S.C. 148(j)). Highway safety improvement projects are subject to the same general Federal-aid eligibility provisions contained in title 23 and other applicable laws, similar to the projects funded under other Federal-aid programs. Divisions and States should review these provisions to ensure their proper application to highway safety improvement projects. Additional information on general Federal-aid eligibility provisions is available in the Federal-aid Highway Program Policy Guidance Center at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/pgc/.

Page last modified on February 9, 2022
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