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Cover: Road Safety Audit Toolkit for Federal Land Management Agencies and Tribal Governments


Road Safety Audit Toolkit for Federal Land Management Agencies
and Tribal Governments

Resource Materials

September 2010

Resource Materials

This section includes resources that may be helpful in establishing an RSA program, conducting RSAs, and identifying potential improvements.  Sample materials that can be used to conduct and document RSAs are also provided.

Resource Materials Table of Contents

What Materials are Available for Conducting and Documenting RSAs?

Sample Request for Proposal

The following is a general outline of a Request for Proposal (RFP) for an RSA.  For each section, a brief explanation of the information to be included in the RFP is provided.  The RFP generally follows the 8-step RSA process, however, the requesting agency may wish to include additional tasks or eliminate tasks based on specific needs.  Federal Land Management Agencies and Tribes may draft and issue a request for engineering consultant services to lead one or a series of RSAs on their lands.  Typically, RFPs generate responses from several consultants and requires the issuing agency to award a contract based on the consultant’s ability to adequately perform the work and the cost at which the work can be completed.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Provide a brief overview of the Consultant’s responsibilities, a brief description of the RSA, and how the RSA will be conducted.

ANTICIPATED SERVICE START AND END DATES: Identify start and end date of services.

PREQUALIFICATION CLASSIFICATION: Identify any stipulations to establish the type(s) of work the Consultant must be qualified to perform.

DBE REQUIREMENT: Identify any Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) requirement(s) the Consultant must satisfy to be eligible for consideration for award of contract.

PROJECT MANAGER: Provide the name and contact information of the person(s) overseeing the execution of the scope of services.  This person is typically from the requesting agency.

GENERAL BACKGROUND: Provide a brief description of the purpose and objective of the services being requested.

OBJECTIVES AND TASKS OF THE PROPSED PROJECT: Provide a detailed task-by-task description of the work to be completed to meet the purpose and objective of the services being requested.

Identify Multidisciplinary RSA Team (Optional: can be completed by owning agency as described in Chapter 1).

Prepare Relevant Data and Documents

Conduct RSA Briefing Meeting

Perform Field Reviews

Conduct Debriefing Meeting

Prepare Draft RSA Findings Report

Conduct Cost Analysis

Present Draft RSA Findings Report

Submit Final RSA Findings Report

CONSULTANT RESPONSIBILITIES: Provide details of the Consultant’s contractual responsibilities to fulfill the scope of services being requested.  This may include principal contacts, materials and equipment, funding compliance, personnel, and progress reporting.

HOST AGENCY RESPONSIBILITIES: Provide details of the hosting agency’s responsibilities to the Consultant to fulfill the scope of services being requested.  This may include provision of documentation, transportation, and any relevant information needed for the RSA.

PAYMENT SCHEDULE: Provide information with regard to how the Consultant will be compensated for completing the scope of the services being requested.  Also establish a billing schedule and other terms and conditions of compensation.

Sample RSA Application

The following is an example of an application to request assistance to conduct an RSA.  This may be used when requesting an RSA on a roadway adjacent to Federal or tribal lands which is owned by a State or local DOT.  Applications such as this are used by agencies that have a formal RSA request process in place; however, the information in the application may be included in any type of correspondence to an owning agency (State or local agency) to request an RSA. 


  1. Contact Person

    Name: ________________________________________________

    Position/Title: __________________________________________

    Address: ______________________________________________

    Phone Number: _____________________________ Fax: ______________________________________

    Email: ____________________________________
  2. Type of assessment requested (planning, design, construction, existing): _________________________________
  3. Specific location of proposed RSA project (intersection, spot location,  road segment or project, or new facility):

    Route(s): ____________________________ Segment: _____________________ Project: ____________________

    From/To (if segment/project): _______________________________________ Segment Length: _______________

    City/County/Tribe: ______________________________________________________________________________
  4. Describe any improvement plans, including stage (scoping, design, construction, etc.), for this location:
  5. Reasons for requesting RSA:
  6. What is the crash experience for the most recent 3-year period (total crashes, fatal crashes, injury crashes, crash rate, etc.)?
    (not applicable for new facility) _____________________________________________________________________
  7. Does your agency have a method to identify and prioritize road safety issues? _______
    If yes, where does this location rank within your agency’s problem locations? ______________________________
  8. Average Daily Traffic (ADT) volume for road(s): ________________________________________________________
  9. Please list month and/or days of week when safety issues are most prevalent, if applicable: ___________________
  10. Describe any future development planned for this area:
  11. Please include any additional road owners, photos and/or other information that highlight the location:
  12. Signature (and printed name) of Person with Authority to Respond To/Implement the RSA Findings:

    _______________________________________________________ Date: ________________________________

    Submit Application to:                          

    NAME:                                                                                    PHONE:
    ADDRESS:                                                                              FAX:

Sample RSA Agenda

The agenda helps set the course of events for the RSA process.  In addition to setting a time schedule, it also provides direction to all parties involved as to who should partake in the various activities.  The agenda is created by the RSA team and provided to all participating parties prior to the RSA.

Page 38 image. This image shows a sample agenda for an RSA. The agenda is two days, with the first being a full twelve-hour day to ensure nighttime site review time.

Typical Data for Conducting RSAs

The following data elements are typically requested for conducting RSAs.  Those data elements that are most important are notated with an asterisk (*).  The data is requested prior to conducting the RSA so that the team has an opportunity to review and become familiar with the characteristics of the study area.  Depending on the extent of the data provided, summary tables and graphics may be created to make the information more manageable for field review activities and presentation purposes.  It is recognized that this data may not be available, but lack of data does not prevent an RSA from being conducted.

Page 39 image. This image shows the requested information for an RSA. The three main headings are Traffic Volume Date (one year period), Crash Data (preceding three years pedestrian crashes (minimum)), and Other Pertinent Information.

Sample Collision Diagram Worksheet

Collision diagrams use symbols to illustrate the location of crashes by crash type.  The diagrams help the RSA team to identify patterns in crashes.  Information provided on the collision diagram may include time of day, day of the week, light conditions, weather conditions, surface conditions, and severity level.  Corresponding document numbers may also be included as a reference to a detailed crash report.  Collision diagrams may be obtained from the owning agency (if available) or may be produced by the RSA team if crash reports are provided.  Ideally, the diagrams should be obtained or produced prior to the start-up meeting (Step 3 of the RSA process).

The example collision diagram demonstrates how crashes can be illustrated:

Page 40 image. This image is of a sample crash diagram. It shows diagrams for a run-off-road crash, an angle crash, and a read-end crash.

Page 41 image. This image is a scanned collision diagram form. The form has a key, areas to identify the intersection, the diagramer, the date, and the time period and a large area for drawing the diagrams.

Sample Field Notes Worksheet

Documenting potential safety issues is an important part of the RSA field review process.  The notes taken by the RSA team in the field are used to conduct the RSA analysis and prepare the findings report.  In addition to field notes, an aerial photo can be useful to annotate issues and comments, rather than sketching the location by hand.  Photographs (and video recordings, if desired) of identified safety issues should also be taken as a further means of documentation.  This worksheet is intended to be used during Step 4 of the RSA process.

Page 43 image. This image is a scanned copy of a sample field notes document. It has fields for intersection/segment, RSA team members, date, time of day, roadway conditions, roadside conditions, signing & pavement marking conditions, and road user conditions.

What Materials Do I Need for the Field Review?

The following list provides a number of possible materials that could be taken by an RSA team member into the field when conducting reviews.  Not all of the materials on this list are absolutely necessary, but should be strongly considered.  Any other materials that do not appear on this list but are thought to be essential to the field review should be included.


Sample RSA Report Outline

The following provides a general framework of the components and structure of a RSA report.

  1. Cover – include project name, location, and date.
  2. Introduction – include objectives, background, and study team.
    • Objectives of Study
    • Background
    • Study Team
  3. Existing Conditions – identify existing geometric conditions, discuss traffic conditions, and present crash history.
    • Geometric Conditions
    • Traffic Data
    • Crash Analysis
  4. Assessment Findings – describe the safety benefits of existing features, present the RSA framework, and summarize the identified issues and suggestions for improvement.
    • Safety Benefits of Existing Roadway Features
    • RSA Framework
    • Summary of Identified Safety Issues and Suggestions for Improvement
  5. Conclusions – provide a brief summary of the major safety issues and discuss any potential to incorporate multidisciplinary improvements, including enforcement and education.
  6. References – provide a list of references used to complete the RSA or identify potential countermeasures.
  7. Appendix: Detailed Discussion of Issues and Suggestions – provide a more detailed discussion of each issue identified and summarized in Section 4 “Assessment Findings.”

Sample Presentation of Issues and Suggestions

The following examples illustrate different methods of presenting the safety issues and proposed suggestions discovered and developed during the RSA.  This information would appear in Section 4 “Assessment Findings” of the sample report outline.

Example 1: Portrait Layout (Two-Column Format)

Issue 2: Roadside Hazards

2.1 Fixed objects near roadway: There are several fixed objects along the corridor in close proximity to the roadway, particularly within curves.  Fixed objects along the corridor include trees, utility poles, embankments, and culverts. 

Based on crash data from 2006 to 2008, 30 of the 47 crashes along the corridor were run-off-road, 18 of which involved a fixed object. Of the 18 fixed object crashes, seven involved a tree, six involved a utility pole, and five involved an embankment.

Short-term - Delineate fixed objects that are close to the roadway using post-mounted delineators or retro-reflective tape as appropriate.

Intermediate – Consider removing trees and other fixed objects that are within the clear zone, particularly along the outside of curves.

Long-term – Consider relocating utility poles to the inside of horizontal curves, where they are less likely to be struck. Consider increasing the pavement width to create a consistent cross-section and provide more room for recovery.


Page 46 photo. This photo shows a shoulder which is not paved and has a ditch and fixed objects immediately adjacent to the roadway.
Photo shows the lack of a paved shoulder and close proximity of fixed objects to the roadway.

Example 2: Landscape Layout (Three-Column Format)

Primary Issue: Animals on the Roadway

Specific Safety Concern

Suggested Improvements

Example of Issue

Animals—the roadside throughout the study area is open range.

Horses, cows, and sheep were observed crossing and grazing along the roadway during daytime and nighttime conditions. Animal-related crashes represented approximately 25% of all crashes along the corridor.

Short-Term – Utilize reflective ear tags, branding, or other strategies to increase the conspicuity of animals at night.

Intermediate – Consider installing an animal fence along the corridor. This may be a challenge as the County does not provide any right of way fencing on county roads. This may require coordinating with the grazing official to support the effort.


  • Engage animal owners regarding economic loss and better control of animals.
  • Consider working with elected officials toward efforts to prohibit open range grazing and couple this with local enforcement. The enforcement component is critical because legislation alone will have limited effectiveness without actual consequences.

Page 47 photo. This photo shows a horse crossing a road in a desert setting.
View of the corridor within the study area. Photo shows a horse crossing the road, which was a common observation during the RSA.

RSA Software

The Road Safety Audit (RSA) software is a tool for assisting with the completion of RSAs.  The software facilitates team members in the collection of information as they proceed through the RSA process.  It gives users access to comprehensive prompt lists and reduces the potential for users to simply “check” issues off a list.  The prompt lists are presented at different levels of detail, helping users to identify issues that may be overlooked in the RSA process.  With the software, users can link identified issues to user-defined locations in the study area and provide accompanying comments with each issue.  It also allows users to record suggestions for improvements that may be identified.  Finally, output from the RSA software groups findings by issue and exports the results to a Word-compatible file that allows for quick completion of a formal RSA report.  The software is available for download on FHWA’s Office of Safety website.

Page 48 image. This image is a screen capture of a RSA software program. The screen image shows several fields under the categories of Project Details and Project Characteristics as well as an area to enter the RSA team members.

What Resources are Available for Demonstrating the Usefulness and Effectiveness of RSAs?

Road Safety Audits: Case Studies (FHWA-SA-06-17), March 2007

Tribal Road Safety Audits: Case Studies (FHWA-SA-08-005), September 2008

Federal and Tribal Lands Road Safety Audits: Case Studies (FHWA-FLH-10-05), December 2009

Recent Uses of Road Safety Audits (RSAs) in Highway Safety Improvement Programs and Strategic Highway Safety Plans (TRB Paper 09-2492)
TRB 88th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers DVD

Selected Examples of Tribal Road Safety Audits (RSAs) in the United States (TRB Paper 10-1284)
TRB 89th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers DVD

What Resources are Available for Assessing Safety on Our Roadways?

FHWA Road Safety Audit Guidelines (FHWA-SA-06-06), 2006

Pedestrian Road Safety Audit Guidelines and Prompt Lists (FHWA-SA-07-007), July 2007

Road Safety Audits/Assessments Training Course (FHWA-NHI-380069)


Roadway Safety Tools for Local Agencies (NCHRP Synthesis 321)

SAFER Manual, Transportation Information Center, University of Madison-Wisconsin, 1996

What Resources are Available for Identifying Potential Improvements and Evaluating Their Effectiveness?

NCHRP Report 500: Guidance for Implementation of the AASHTO Strategic Highway Safety Plan Transportation Research

NCHRP Report 622: Effectiveness of Behavioral Highway Safety Countermeasures

Sign Retroreflectivity Manual: How to Meet the New National Standard for Small Agencies, Federal Land Management Agencies, and Tribal Governments (FHWA-CFL/TD-09-005), July 2009

Roadway Safety Guide, Roadway Safety Foundation

Vegetation Control for Safety (FHWA-SA-07-018), May 2007 [Revised August 2008]

Maintenance of Signs and Sign Supports (FHWA-SA-09-025), January 2010

W-Beam Guardrail Repair (FHWA-SA-08-002), November 2008

Maintenance of Drainage Features for Safety (FHWA-SA-09-024), July 2009

Roadway Delineation Practices Handbook (FHWA-SA-93-001), August 1994

Good Practices: Incorporating Safety into Resurfacing and Restoration Projects (FHWA-SA-07-001), December 2006

Mitigation Strategies for Design Exceptions (FHWA-SA-07-011), July 2007

Low-Cost Treatments for Horizontal Curve Safety (FHWA-SA-07-002), December 2006

National Scan of Best Practices for Chemical Treatments on Unpaved Roads

FHWA CMF Clearinghouse

Crash Cost Estimates by Maximum Police-Reported Injury Severity Within Selected Crash Geometries

What Resources are Available for Incorporating Safety into the Transportation Planning Process?

A Primer on Safety Performance Measures for the Transportation Planning Process (FHWA-HEP-09-043), September 2009

Tribal Highway Safety Plans

Tribal Transportation Programs (NCHRP Synthesis 366)

Considering Safety in the Transportation Planning Process

Incorporating Safety into Long-Range Transportation Planning (NCHRP Report 546), 2006

Transit Planning Guidebook for FLMAs

Tribal Transportation Planning Guide for Washington State

Wildlife Safety Measures

Page, M. A.  “A Toolkit for Reducing Wildlife & Domestic Animal-Vehicle Collisions in Utah”.  TRB 2006 Annual Meeting CD-ROM.

West, P. W.  “UDOT Wildlife and Domestic Animal Accident Toolkit”.  Report UT-08.07.  Prepared for the Utah Department of Transportation Environmental Services & Wildlife & Domestic Animal Accident Quality Improvement Team.  April 2008.

Deer Vehicle Crash Information Clearinghouse

Knapp, K. K., et al.  “Deer-Vehicle Crash Countermeasure Toolkit: A Decision and Choice Resource”.  Report Number DVCIC-02.  Submitted to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation as part of the Deer-Vehicle Crash Information Clearinghouse initiation.  June 2004.

U.S. Department of Transportation.  Federal Highway Administration.  Critter Crossings: Linking Habitats and Reducing Roadkill.

U.S. Department of Transportation. Federal Highway Administration.  Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads.

“Best Practices Manual: Wildlife Vehicle Collision Reduction Study”

Ontario Ministry of Transportation - “Watch for Wildlife”

“Wildlife-Vehicle Collision and Crossing Mitigation Measures: A Toolbox for the Montana Department of Transportation”

SGI Road Safety Driving Tips – Wildlife

“Highway 82 safety measures for wildlife nearing completion between Carbondale and Glenwood Springs”

“Evaluation of Measures to Minimize Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions and Maintain Wildlife Permeability Across Highways”

Page last modified on January 12, 2022
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