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US Department of Transportation

Federal Highway Administration

Subject: INFORMATION: Highway Safety Programs in SAFETEA-LU

Date: August 26, 2005

From: Jeffrey A. Lindley, Associate Administrator for Safety - Washington, DC

In Reply Refer To: HSA-30

To: Division Administrators

When President Bush signed into law the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) on August 10, a new era for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) safety program began. This new law establishes extensive new resources and opportunities to advance highway safety throughout the country in a comprehensive, strategic manner. We are very encouraged by the opportunity this legislation offers for saving lives and reducing injuries on our Nation's highways. This memorandum provides an overview of the safety provisions along with attachments outlining more detailed information.

Status of FY 2005 Safety Funds: First, it is important to point out that the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) remains funded for the remainder of FY 2005 as before SAFETEA-LU. Specifically, the funds available to each State for infrastructure-related highway safety improvements will be based on the 10percent set-aside of Surface Transportation Program (STP) funds to carry out previously existing Sections 130 (Railway-Highway crossings) and 152 (Hazard elimination program) activities. The FHWA Office of Budget and Finance will provide data on remaining FY 2005 distributions soon.

Core Safety Program: Beginning with FY 2006 funds, Subtitle D, Highway Safety, of SAEFTEA-LU elevates the HSIP to a stand-alone core Federal-aid highway safety program. It creates a positive agenda with a renewed call for data-driven, strategic highway safety programs focusing on results, and provides increased flexibility in State funding for safety. It expands the types of projects that can be defined as a highway safety improvement project by including noninfrastructure related activities such as safety conscious planning and selected public awareness, education, and enforcement activities. Higher funding levels are provided, with HSIP amounts increased from approximately $650 million annually under the previous 10 percent STP set-aside program to nearly $1.3 billion in FY 2009. The HSIP is structured and funded with the objective of making significant progress in reducing highway fatalities and serious injuries, and States can obligate funds for safety infrastructure improvement projects in a more proactive manner to advance highway safety strategies.

Strategic Highway Safety Plan: As part of the HSIP, State departments of transportation are to develop Strategic Highway Safety Plans (SHSPs), in consultation with other key State and local highway safety stakeholders. Developing an SHSP calls for a comprehensive, collaborative, and data driven approach to highway safety that brings together all appropriate safety stakeholders in the State to work together towards a common highway safety goal. An SHSP is to be based on accurate and timely safety information systems, processes to analyze this information to identify highway safety problems and opportunities, and planning and implementation of a comprehensive set of countermeasures.

Flexibility: States that adopt and implement an SHSP are provided additional flexibility to use HSIP funds for public awareness, education, and enforcement activities that are consistent with the SHSP. These activities would not otherwise have been eligible for funding, and transfer of funds is subject to certain restrictions and requirements.

High Risk Rural Roads and Railway-Highway Crossings: The new HSIP also requires that States address safety issues on High Risk Rural Roads and at Railway-Highway Crossings. The set-aside provision for High Risk Rural roads amounts to $90 million per year. These funds support safety improvements on roadways functionally classified as a rural major or minor collector or a rural local road, which have fatal and serious injury crash rates higher than the statewide average for those functional classes of roads. An additional $220 million per year is set aside for safety improvements to Railway-Highway Crossings.

Safe Routes to School: This new program is designed to enable and encourage primary and secondary school children to safely walk and bicycle to school. Both infrastructure-related and behavioral projects will be geared toward providing a safe, appealing environment for walking and biking. The authorized funding levels for the safe routes to school program are initiated at $54 million for FY 2005 and increase to $183 million in FY 2009.

Additional Information: For your additional information and use, we are attaching a set of initial guidance and explanatory materials. Special thanks are extended to members of the "Safety Reauthorization Guidance Team," whose dedicated efforts over the first 3 weeks of this month produced an outstanding set of initial materials and program analysis:

  • Dee Chappell, Office of Safety
  • Mike Davies, Maine Division
  • Ken Epstein, Office of Safety
  • Erin Kenley, Office of Safety
  • Jeff Kolb, Mississippi Division
  • Kathy Krause, Office of Safety
  • Karen Yunk, New Jersey Division
  • Dave Kopacz, Minnesota Division

Attachments include:

  1. Key Provisions of the new HSIP (codified as 23 USC 148),
  2. Expanded explanation of HSIP, 23 USC 148 provisions, and
  3. A "Side-by-side" table illustrating significant new provisions in the HSIP.

Also available at this time is the initial PowerPoint file outlining FHWA safety elements of SAFETEA-LU. This is not attached due to size limitations; and we will have this available through the Safety Exchange so that safety staff and others in FHWA can obtain it for appropriate use. These materials can be shared with your safety partners, as you desire. We also are actively reviewing an extensive initial set of "Questions and Answers" regarding safety topics in SAFETEA-LU prepared by the Team; we expect to disseminate this material soon and will advise you and your safety staff when it is available.

Additional information pertaining to the new core HSIP, especially including the SHSP requirements, and other safety programs in SAFETEA-LUwill be forthcoming in the weeks ahead. We believe that it is very important that all USDOT agencies that are stakeholders in the SHSP process have the opportunity to participate in the development of SHSP guidance, that we utilize a consistent set of guidance materials and processes during implementation, and that the multiple State-level recipients of safety funds receive a consistent set of information. To this end, we have initiated discussions with appropriate staff in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration, and the Federal Transit Administration. In addition, we expect that updates and modifications to the attached documents and development of additional materials will be occurring regularly; we plan to use the Safety Exchange, StaffNet, and/or the SAFETEA-LU section of the FHWA WebSite to post the most current set of implementation materials; and will advise you as these decisions are made.

Overall, SAFETEA-LU represents a significant step forward for the safety of our Nation's transportation network. We look forward to working with you and FHWA's partners to implement these important elements of this new legislation.

3 Attachments

Key Provisions of the Highway Safety Improvement Program in SAFETEA-LU

Section 1401 of SAFETEA-LU includes the program and policy language for implementing the new “core” Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), which is codified as the new Section 148 of Title 23 of the United States Code (23USC148). Brief descriptions of the new program’s major features are included below.

  1. Funding
    SAFETEA-LU provides over $5.06 billion for HSIP over four years – FY’06 through FY’09. Funds for FY’05 are provided through the current STP Safety Set-Aside. This is a significant increase over TEA-21 funding that totaled $3.97 billion over 6 years. New HSIP apportionment formula includes a factor on the ratio of the number of fatalities on each State’s Federal-aid system to total fatalities and the ratios of lane miles and vehicle miles traveled to national totals on each State’s Federal-aid highways. All three factors are equally weighted.

  2. Eligibility
    In addition to the activities currently eligible under secs. 152 and 130, SAFETEA-LU provides eligibility for:

    1. Construction and operational improvements on high-risk rural roads
    2. Improvements for safety of the disabled
    3. Improvement in the collection and analysis of crash data
    4. Conduct of a model traffic enforcement activity at a rail crossing
    5. Safety conscious planning
    6. Integrated interoperable emergency communications equipment, traffic enforcement or operational activities related to work zones.
    7. Measures to eliminate or reduce vehicle and wildlife accidents
    8. Installation and maintenance of signs at ped/bike crossings and school zones
    9. Roundabouts/Traffic Circles (now eligible at 100%)
    10. Public awareness and education activities related to highway safety and projects to enforce highway safety laws (potentially allows up to 10% of HSIP funds for these activities)
  3. HSIP Requirements
    To obligate “core” safety funds a State must have in effect an HSIP under which the State:

    1. develops and implements a Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) that identifies and analyzes highway safety problems and opportunities
    2. produces a program of projects or strategies to reduce identified safety problems
    3. evaluates the plan regularly
    4. submits an annual report to the Secretary
  4. SHSP

    1. The SHSP is developed by the State DOT after consultation with:
      1. a highway safety representative of the Governor of the State
      2. Regional transportation planning organizations, MPOs
      3. Major transportation mode representative
      4. State and local traffic enforcement
      5. Persons responsible for administering section 130 at the State level
      6. Operation Lifesaver
      7. Motor vehicle administrators
      8. Other major state and local safety stakeholders
    2. The SHSP:
      1. analyzes and makes effective use of state, regional or local crash data
      2. addresses engineering, management, operation, education, enforcement, EMS in evaluating highway projects
      3. considers safety needs, and high fatality segments of, public roads in the State
      4. considers results of State, regional or local transportation and highway safety planning processes
      5. describes a program of projects or strategies to reduce or eliminate hazards
      6. is approved by the Governor or responsible State agency
      7. is consistent with the requirements of the Statewide planning process, sec. 135(g)
    3. As part of the SHSP, a State shall:
      1. have in place a crash data system with the ability to perform safety problem identification and countermeasure analysis
      2. identify hazardous locations sections or elements that constitute a danger to motorists bicyclists, and pedestrians
      3. establish the relative severity of these locations
      4. adopt strategic and performance-based goals
      5. advance the capabilities of the State for traffic records data collection, analysis, and integration
      6. determine priorities for the correction of hazardous road locations, sections, and elements as identified through crash data analysis
      7. establish an evaluation process to assess results achieved by improvement projects
  5. Set Asides
    Two major set-asides included in HSIP. They are:

    1. $90 million per year for high-risk rural roads. There is a waiver for States who certify to the Secretary that they have met all of the State needs for construction and operational improvements on these roads.

    2. $220 million per year for rail grade crossing safety (elimination of hazards and the installation of protective devices at railway-highway crossings). If a State has met all of its needs for protective devices at crossings, the Secretary may permit the State to use the set-aside funds for other Section 130 needs.

  6. Railway-highway crossing formula
    SAFETEA-LU includes a new formula to apportion rail safety funds – 50% based on STP formula and 50% on ratio of total public crossings in each state to total public crossings in all States.

  7. Reporting requirements

    1. SAFETEA-LU requires annual State reports that:
      1. describe progress in implementing safety projects
      2. assess effectiveness
      3. assess reductions in fatalities and injuries
      4. describe at least 5% of most hazardous locations & assessment of potential remedies, costs and impediments to correcting hazards
      5. assess the Highway-Rail Grade Crossing program
    2. SAFETEA-LU also requires the Secretary to publish information on 5% of the most hazardous locations in each state, including remedies, costs, and impediments to implementation of remedies, on the Department’s website

    3. SAFETEA-LU requires biennial reports from Secretary to Congress on railway-highway crossing safety

  8. Transition

    1. States are required to have developed and implemented a SHSP by 10/1/06 to obligate funds under Section 148. Prior to developing a SHSP, a State may only obligate HSIP funds for projects that were previously eligible under Sections 130 and 152.
    2. States that have not developed a SHSP by 10/1/07 will have their HSIP apportionments “Capped” at the FY 2007 level for each subsequent fiscal year until a SHSP is developed.

(23 USC 148 Requirements)


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