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FHWA Home / Safety / Road Safety Audits (RSA) / Newsletter / RSA Newsletter: Autumn 2008

Road Safety Audits (RSA)


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Newsletter: Autumn 2008 - Volume 1, Number 2

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In This Issue

Greetings from the FHWA RSA Program!

By Becky Crowe, RSA Program Manager
FHWA Office of Safety

We are eager to share the winter edition of the RSA Newsletter! The RSA process continues to spread across the nation. To date, thirty state DOTs have conducted RSAs and thirty-eight states have received training on the process. Four states have full-time RSA coordinators, sixteen briefings have been given and one hundred and sixty RSA workshops have been delivered.

We have a flurry of RSA activities planned in the next few months to continue the momentum. We are in the process of rolling out the new Road Safety Audit NHI course and we are providing a FREE Road Safety Audits Webinar: Making YOUR Roads Safer! on November 12, 2008.

As always, if you would like to submit information on your RSA program or if you have questions about initiating RSAs in your jurisdiction, please contact me. Also, please feel free to forward this newsletter to other interested parties in your state or provide the names and e-mail addresses of any persons whom you feel should regularly receive the Newsletter for addition to our distribution list.

Happy Holidays!

Signature of Becky Crowe

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RSA Snapshots

RSA Snapshots highlight various RSA programs across the US. Note the linkage between FHWA RSA Training and the progress on RSAs in the States.

Image of the state of Iowa

Since receiving the FHWA RSA Training in 2008, Iowa has completed multidisciplinary RSAs on corridors or spot locations that are on Iowa’s “Five Percent Reports”. To date, Iowa has conducted three RSAs, and the State is currently performing one on an intersection. There are two more RSAs scheduled in the next two months. The teams have been very effective in suggesting a multitude of lowcost engineering improvements.

If you would like additional information on Iowa’s work on RSAs, please contact Jerry Roche, PE, Safety & Mobility Engineer at FHWA’s Iowa Division, at (515) 2337323 or Jerry.Roche@dot.gov.

Image of the state of Missouri

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) has conducted two RSAs. The first RSA was conducted as part of the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety's (MCRS) subcommittee for Infrastructure, which is a subcommittee to their State Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) committee. The subcommittee recruited a local county to allow MoDOT to select a team and review two adjoining routes under the county's jurisdiction. By selecting a local county, the location will be used as a potential before and after location for a brochure that the LTAP will produce. As part of the project, the MCRS Infrastructure committee plans to partially fund improvements as a pilot project to illustrate the benefits of implementing low cost countermeasures.

The second RSA was initiated by a Missouri district staff member after completing the FHWA RSA training. The individual brought back the concept of RSAs to her district; she received approval to build a team and select locations. Some suggestions from the RSA included low cost treatments learned during the RSA training. The RSA report written by the district included a factual synopsis of the route's statistics, a quick hit list of 'observations', and a list of potential solutions that are inexpensive to implement.

MoDOT also has developed a Traffic Safety Quality Circle, where a team of Traffic Safety Engineers meets monthly to discuss issues and concerns involving Traffic Safety in MoDOT. The team has tasked itself to develop a list of potential RSA locations. The team is represented by six out of ten districts; this means that the majority of the state could perform an RSA within the next year.

If you would like additional information on the MoDOT RSA program please contact John Schaefer, PE, MoDOT Sr. Traffic Studies Specialist, at (573) 7512845 (phone) or John.SchaeferJr@modot.mo.gov.

Image of the state of Ohio

RSAs have been well received in Ohio. The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) conducted a pilot during FY 2008, which included performing one RSA per ODOT District (12 total). The locations selected were high–crash locations from either ODOT’s Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) or an MPO’s list of candidates. The RSAs were conducted using representatives from FHWA, ODOT and either an MPO, local agency, or county engineers’ office (as appropriate for the location). For the pilot, ODOT agreed to fund recommended improvements using HSIP funds, following the general guidance from their policy. Two MPOs have indicated their desire to conduct additional RSAs.

The RSAs were generally conducted over 1.5 days, with specific reviews for the AM Peak, midday, PM Peak and after dark hours. The reports were drafted and distributed to the team members typically within two weeks.

Each sponsoring agency was reminded about the need to review the RSA recommendations, to reply to the team about each recommendation, and to note the agency’s ability to implement the improvements. When a recommendation had an associated “crash reduction factor”, that information was included in the report to show how each strategy could reduce the number and/or severity of roadway crashes.

Based on a recent meeting of the bicycle safety subcommittee for Ohio’s SHSP, Ohio committed to conduct RSAs at selected hazardous bicycle safety locations. The State will work with the appropriate agencies and the bicycle community on recommended improvements.

If you would like additional information on the RSAs in Ohio, please contact Michelle May at michelle.may@dot.state.oh.us.

To submit your program for RSA Snapshots, please email heather.rigdon.ctr@dot.gov.

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Quarterly Highlights


FHWA Safety Memorandum Contains Provisions for RSAs

The Former FHWA Associate Administrator for Safety, Jeff Lindley, signed a memorandum on July 10, 2008 that strongly encourages the States to adopt nine countermeasures that are proven to increase safety and implement them wherever it makes sense. RSAs are one of the countermeasures. FHWA will be collecting any comments received on the policy guidance and issuing a Q&A at some point in the near future. The guidance statement on RSAs is as follows:

Each State Department of Transportation (DOT) should develop an RSA policy which will establish criteria for conducting RSAs on highway projects. The policy should cover Federal–aid highway projects, as a minimum, and preferably all highway projects under jurisdiction of the State DOT. The policy should identify which projects will have RSAs conducted and when (at what project stage). Consideration for types of projects, project cost thresholds and the likelihood of producing significant, beneficial safety recommendations for implementation should be included. The policy should cover who will conduct the RSA and how it will be funded. The policy may list the project types or categories considered to have the highest potential benefit from application of an RSA. The policy may contain a list of project types or categories which may be exempt from the RSA process.

The State's RSA policy should contain procedures for prompt reviews of RSA recommendations, and procedures for implementing accepted RSA recommendations. The State's RSA policy should be coordinated with the FHWA Division Office and may be incorporated or referenced in the Stewardship and Oversight agreement.

Federal and local agencies and tribal governments administering highway projects using Federal funds should also be encouraged to adopt a RSA policy for these projects.

To view the full memorandum, click on this link: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/policy/memo071008/.

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TRB 2009 – Poster Presentation on RSAs

A paper titled "Recent Uses of Road Safety Audits (RSAs) in Highway Safety Improvement Programs (HSIP) and Strategic Highway Safety Plans (SHSP) written by FHWA and SAIC will be presented during a poster session at TRB's Annual Conference in January 2009. The poster session will be held on Monday, January 12, 2009 from 7:30pm to 9:30pm at the Marriott in Salon 2. The paper demonstrates how an RSA is a useful tool for developing HSIP projects and/or used as a strategy in SHSP; the paper also highlights those States already using RSAs for these purposes. Please be sure to stop by!

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Utah LTAP Focuses on RSAs

The Utah LTAP Center recently released its RSA quarterly report for July through September 2008, which focused on 18 RSA field reviews. According to the Center, Salt Lake City has responded very proactively in acquiring funds to implement a number of the RSA safety recommendations.

Hard copies or CDs of each RSA report can be provided as needed. Doyt Bolling, Director of the Utah LTAP states, “the effort has been well received and should be very beneficial with respect to making Utah’s local roads and streets safer.” For more information about the Utah LTAP Center’s work with RSAs please contact Doyt Bolling by phone at (435) 7701143 or by email to doyt.bolling@usu.edu.

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New RSA NHI Course

The new RSA NHI course will be available soon. If you are interested in training, please visit http://www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov. Once there, select “Enroll in a Session” and enter 380069 as the course number.

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Upcoming Events: NHI RSA Web Conference

Register now for the Road Safety Audits: Making YOUR Roads Safer! Web Conference through the National Highway Institute (NHI). The Web Conference will be held on November 12, 2008 from 2:30 – 4:00 pm EST.

This session is a chance for you to:

  1. Learn the facts and benefits of RSAs,

  2. Hear from state and local agencies that have established RSA Programs, and

  3. Get an overview of how to develop an RSA in your agency.

The first 20–minutes of the web conference will feature an overview of the RSA process.

To register as a Conference guest, click this link.

Want an entire group at your location to attend? Simply register for a single spot and have the group gather together in a conference room to participate.


Contact Us: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/rsa; Rebecca.Crowe@dot.gov

Page last modified on October 15, 2014.
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