U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
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1. Report No.
2. Government Accession No.
3. Recipient's Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle
Leading the Way to a Safer Transportation System
5. Report Date
6. Performing Organization Code
8. Performing Organization Report No.
9. Performing Organization Name and Address
Cambridge Systematics, Inc.
10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)
11. Contract or Grant No.
12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address
Federal Highway Administration
13. Type of Report and Period Covered
May 2014 to July 2016
14. Sponsoring Agency Code
15. Supplementary Notes
FHWA: Jennifer Warren, Office of Safety
The purpose of this packet is to provide information to brief leaders on the importance of a state's Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP), its role as part of the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), and why their involvement in this effort is crucial. Leaders to be briefed include the Secretary or Director from departments of transportation, public health, education; Superintendents or Commissioners of the State Police or Highway Patrol; heads of the Highway Safety Office, Department of Motor Vehicles, Emergency Medical Services; Executive Directors of major metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs); mayors of major cities; and key legislators. The information, which can be used by FHWA Division office personnel, SHSP coordinators, and others, can be used at any time but after passage of major transportation legislation or when there are changes in a state's administration are good opportunities to use the packet either as part of a larger briefing on safety or as a way to gain more support for the SHSP. The packet is flexible and includes opportunities for the user to adapt it to their specific needs. Each piece is designed to stand alone and can be left separately or in combination with some or all of the other pieces. Information in the packet includes a fact sheet that provides an overview of the HSIP and describes the SHSP; an SHSP Leadership Fact Sheet; an SHSP template where specifics on the state's SHSP can be included (a web link is included to make it easier to obtain this information); an HSIP template where specifics can be included on such things as how much the state receives in safety funding (this information is available in the state's annual HSIP report); and talking points for the discussion with state leaders.
17. Key Words
Strategic Highway Safety Plan, Highway Safety Improvement Program, leadership
18. Distribution Statement
No restrictions. This information is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161.
19. Security Classif. (of this report)
20. Security Classif. (of this page)
21. No. of Pages
Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72)
Reproduction of completed pages authorized
Leaders are critical to the success of any traffic safety effort, but nowhere can that leadership have such an immediate and lasting impact than through the Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP). We need your help to make sure leaders understand what a profound effect their involvement can have on the hundreds of safety stakeholders who, through the SHSP, are working hard to reduce traffic-related deaths and serious injuries.
Image courtesy of helt2/iStock/Thinkstock.
"Safety is our number one priority and is the one area where everybody can say they saved a life today. Involvement in the SHSP is the opportunity to make a difference. When a leader gets involved it lets their staff, residents, and others know it is something important and worthy of their time and attention."
Vince Mammano, Division Administrator, Federal Highway Administration, California Division
The packet is flexible and includes opportunities for the user to adapt it to their specific needs. Each piece is designed to stand alone and can be left separately or in combination with some or all of the other pieces. There are also templates to provide state-specific HSIP and SHSP information.
If you have suggestions for this packet or need more information, please contact Jennifer Warren at the Office of Safety
Few government services touch the lives of nearly every person as critically as the surface transportation system. Whether it is trips to the grocery store, a walk with the dog, the drive to work, or the move of goods and services, transportation is an integral part of daily life.
This briefing focuses on safety's place within the roadway transportation system, the critical role of the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) and Strategic Highway Safety Plans (SHSP), and what leaders can do to champion safety through the state's SHSP.
Leaders are critical to the success of any traffic safety effort, but nowhere can that leadership have such an immediate and lasting impact than through the SHSP. SHSPs have transformed how states identify roadway safety needs and make investment decisions by using a data-driven, collaborative approach to achieve safety gains.
Image courtesy of Monticello/iStock/Thinkstock.
Traffic safety also contributes to overarching state goals. In Washington State it is linked to the Governor's global goal of healthy people. "Keeping people safe on the roadways is a critical component of overall health and well-being and is centric to our work."
Chris Madill, Deputy Director
Washington State Transportation
Safety Commission (WTSC)
Safety is an integral part of everything a state department of transportation (DOT) does. However, HSIP provides an opportunity to explicitly target safety issues and achieve significant reductions in traffic fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads. Congress has designated the HSIP a core Federal-aid program, signifying its importance.
Leadership is particularly important in traffic safety because it is a complex field that requires direction and clarity, and innovations are constant which necessitates someone with vision. Leaders also create a statewide safety culture that turns roadway safety priorities and strategies into reality.
But has transportation safety improved? Fortunately, much progress has been made. Over the past 10 years, there has been a reduction of nearly 25 percent in the number of fatalities on the Nation's roadways. (NHTSA (2014). 2013 Motor Vehicle Crashes: An Overview, DOT HS 812 101, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Washington, D.C., December 2014.) Still, much needs to be done to move our nation towards zero deaths and state SHSPs are charting the course.
Through collaboration, SHSPs have transformed how states identify roadway safety needs and make investment decisions. The SHSP:
Preventing crashes and reducing fatalities and serious injuries requires the skills and knowledge of many disciplines. The success of the SHSP is about how well these groups work together to improve safety. As a leader, you can bring these various disciplines and partners together under the SHSP banner.
"The State Strategic Highway Safety Plan continues to strengthen and improve collaboration and communication with safety stakeholder agencies. Participating engineers, law enforcement officers, EMS, and prevention professionals now view each other as critical partners in keeping citizens safe. Improving traffic safety is a cooperative effort and the SHSP is a key reason why Louisiana continues to make progress on reducing traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries."
Shawn Wilson, Ph.D., Secretary,
Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development
Image courtesy of Comstock Images.
"I became involved in the SHSP because I trusted the people who asked me. The SHSP is all about building relationships so I knew it was something worthwhile."
Tom Gianni, Chief,
Maryland Highway Safety Office
The diversity of the safety field, the importance of coordination among disciplines, and the need to advance safety among a host of competing public sector priorities all contribute to the need for strong safety leadership.
Active involvement and support of your state's SHSP is a critical step towards positively impacting safety in your state. To start, you can communicate the state's SHSP vision, goals, and objectives and support a collaborative framework that enables safety stakeholders to actively participate in the development and implementation of SHSP programs and activities.
For more information on what safety leaders can do to champion the SHSP, view the Leadership That Saves Lives flyer
For more information on SHSPs, go to Strategic Highway Safety Plan Community of Practice and Strategic Highway Safety Plan
For more information on HSIP, go to Highway Safety Improvement Program
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Strategic Highway Safety Plans (SHSP) are a true success story. Since these plans were first required by legislation in 2005, traffic fatalities have dramatically declined. In fact, over the past 10 years there has been a reduction of nearly 25 percent in the number of fatalities on our nation's roadways. (NHTSA (2014). 2013 Motor Vehicle Crashes: An Overview, DOT HS 812 101, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Washington, D.C., December 2014.) One of the key reasons SHSPs succeed is effective leadership. Strong leaders have drawn attention to the complex safety problems that afflict our nation's roadways. Leaders also are instrumental in establishing a statewide safety culture and turning the priorities and strategies in SHSPs into reality.
"Maintaining a safe and efficient transportation system is the goal for every State department of transportation, but we realize we cannot effectively achieve that goal on our own. That is why involvement in the SHSP is so valuable. It gives transportation agencies an opportunity to actively work with and involve safety partners from throughout the State to achieve meaningful reductions in traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries."
Malcolm Dougherty, Director
California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)
Emphasis areas in the SHSP represent the most critical safety concerns within a state and are matched with strategies and action steps for eliminating roadway fatalities and serious injuries. This is an excellent starting point to focus leadership support. For instance, if work zone safety is an emphasis area, then a leader could champion a Work Zone Safety Week every year to bring awareness to the issue. Being visible, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic about safety issues identified in the SHSP generates and sustains continued motivation among all safety partners.
Leaders should ensure there is an organization, agency, or individual who is responsible for implementing the strategies and actions in the SHSP. Keep in mind it is just as important to have the "right" person on-board as the right organization. Take time to explore who will truly be a champion and get the job done. Leaders also should make sure action plans include timelines, potential options for funding and resources, and any formal agreements that are necessary to reinforce safety stakeholders' commitment to saving lives. If one of the partners is reluctant to jump on-board, it may be necessary to meet one-on-one to explain the critical role each agency or organization plays in safety.
It is not always easy to get people involved, but it can be even harder to keep people involved and energized. It helps to maintain regular communication with partners through various communication channels (such as newsletters, web sites, meetings, emails, etc.). Take the opportunity to share the results of SHSP efforts and celebrate successes. Do not underestimate how a leader's position, personality, and prestige motivate others to join – and stay on – the journey.
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Leadership In Action
Become a champion for the statewide safety goal by spreading the message throughout the state. For example, at the completion of an SHSP update process, leaders can hold a press conference to announce the safety goal and continue to communicate safety issues at other speaking engagements. In addition, leaders should encourage agencies and partners to incorporate elements of the SHSP into other planning documents, which ensures funding is available for implementation. As appropriate, the emphasis areas and strategies in the state's SHSP should be incorporated in the state's Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), Highway Safety Plan (HSP), and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Plan (CVSP), as well as long-term planning documents such as the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), the Long-Range Transportation Plan.
A leader should help identify all revenue, personnel, and technical resources available for statewide safety initiatives, and influence allocation to optimize safety benefits. By working with other safety partners, a leader is able to combine resources and technical knowledge to advance safety. There are opportunities to use state, HSIP, and other safety funds, i.e., NHTSA highway safety grants, which also can serve as incentives to attract and maintain partnerships.
Leaders are in a unique position to remove barriers and overcome institutional boundaries within and between agencies and organizations. Many states have created an SHSP Executive Committee comprised of leaders from SHSP partner agencies and organizations. Arranging for these leaders to meet – usually once or twice a year – creates buy-in and support at all levels, breaks down barriers, supports SHSP implementation, and can result in new and innovative ideas and approaches.
Leading a safety effort is a difficult task, but there are resources available to help every step of the way. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is located in every state plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Please contact them to learn how they can help.
You also can visit the SHSP Community of Practice for SHSP information and resources
Following is a template for you to include summary information on your SHSP. You must fill out the document first before giving it to your State DOT or other SHSP safety stakeholders. The tip box gives you information on where to find the state's SHSP and contact person. When giving this information to your state, you may also want to include a copy of your most recent SHSP, any press releases, charters, etc. Use this information to inform DOT leadership and others on how the SHSP improves safety in your state.
TIP: Use the State Profile Map on FHWA's Communities of Practice SHSP web site to get a summary of your state's SHSP and fill in the template.
For more information visit the state at (to be filled in)
For more information about your State's SHSP, contact (to be filled in)
Following is a template for you to include summary information on your HSIP. You must fill out this page first before giving it to your State DOT or other SHSP safety stakeholders. The tip box gives you information on where to find the state's HSIP report contact person along with data and other information. When giving this information to your state, you may also want to include a copy of your most recent HSIP annual report. Use this information to inform DOT leadership and others on how the SHSP improves safety in your state.
TIP: Refer to your state's HSIP Annual Report to fill in the template. Also, use FHWA's data dashboard for additional state-specific safety data, charts, and more.
State HSIP Funds: HSIP Apportionment _____________________ State Obligation Rate _____________________
Overview of Highway Safety Trends (General highway safety trends in the state for the past five years)
For more information visit the state HSIP report (to be filled in)
For more information about your State's HSIP, contact (to be filled in)
Safety is an integral part of everything a state department of transportation (DOT) does, but the HSIP provides an opportunity to explicitly target safety issues and achieve significant reductions in traffic fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads.
Leaders can make such a positive difference for safety and the proof is evident in the states where leaders are active participants in the state's SHSP.
Active involvement in the SHSP is also beneficial because it:
SHSPs are a central requirement of HSIP and have transformed how states identify roadway safety needs and make investment decisions. These plans:
Leadership can get involved with the SHSP by: