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A Primer on Safety Performance Measures for the Transportation Planning Process

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Case Study: Asset Management Plan for Safety

Case Study Highlights

  • Establishes an objective and quantifiable methodology for allocating safety funding between various safety programs.
  • Illustrates the implications of alternative investment decisions.
  • Provides a basis for budgeting within the context of the State's overall ten year Capital Investment Strategy.

New Jersey takes an “asset management” approach to address transportation needs through its 10-year Statewide Capital Investment Strategy (SCIS), which recommends transportation programs based on goals, objectives, and performance measures. The SCIS identifies annual spending levels needed to achieve the performance objectives of the New Jersey DOT (NJDOT) and various transit agencies. The SCIS develops scenarios to estimate resulting system performance given different levels of funding, while staying within the fiscal constraints of available State transportation resources. Safety management is one of nine categories of investment within the SCIS.

A separate “Asset Management Plan for Safety” was developed to support the SCIS decision-making process to “make the right choices in investments in those safety programs that will provide for the greatest continual reduction in crashes, injuries, and deaths.” This Plan is consistent with the overall goal of the State's Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) to “continually reduce the frequency and severity of crashes statewide.” Underlying the Asset Management Plan is a Safety Management System (SMS), which is used in project selection and prioritization. The SMS provides a basis for “data-driven decision-making” that balances funding among the State's various safety programs.

Using these tools, New Jersey has established target service levels. Although a range of service levels and performance measures were established through the State's SHSP, the Long-Range Transportation Plan, and SCIS, they all have the common goal of continually reducing crashes, injuries, and deaths on the State's roadways. The Asset Management Plan presents specific service levels for the DOT's safety programs based on a number of identified locations per year along with an associated dollar value. For FY 2009, the annual targets for these programs included the following:

The Asset Management Plan defines performance scenarios for the entire Safety Investment Program based on the 10-year Statewide Capital Investment Strategy. The most recent scenarios are both funding-based and outcome-based as follows:

Based on scenario analysis, the State determined a 25 percent increase in funding would be necessary to maintain current conditions given no major unexpected safety needs. Any substantial reduction in the backlog of safety projects would require much higher investments in safety projects than currently were programmed.


New Jersey conducted a strategic resource allocation process that applies performance measures to guide the determination of program investment targets to achieve agency goals and objectives over a 10-year period. Based on alternative funding scenarios, the Asset Management Plan for Safety identifies specific funding allocations for the State's individual safety programs. The Plan defines desired investment targets along with recommended constrained investment targets based on reasonable revenue expectations incorporated into the 10-year Statewide Capital Investment Strategy (SCIS), providing a basis for long-range capital planning for safety.

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Page last modified on October 29, 2014
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