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FHWA Home / Safety / Transportation Safety Planning (TSP) / Tools and Practices for System Wide Safety Improvement

Tools and Practices for System Wide Safety Improvement

Overview of Key Takeaways

Baseline of Current Safety Environment

  • While there are a variety of helpful tools available to safety planners, some are used more commonly across the states and MPOs
  • The challenges can be grouped into two categories, organizational and geographic, both with common contributing factors that can be identified as themes across the states and MPOs
  • Even those tools that are used most commonly have a diverse set of challenges associated with implementing them, often unique to a particular state or MPO
  • As funding for safety programs becomes more challenging to secure, safety planners must expand beyond the traditional sources upon which states and MPOs currently rely and reach to include new, innovative revenue streams

Safety Focused Decision Making Framework

  • FHWA envisions a safety planning process where transportation organizations are able to optimize the selection of highway safety infrastructure improvements across a roadway system and use performance management practices to track progress and promote achievement of safety performance targets
  • The Safety Focused Decision Making Framework takes a programmatic approach to safety planning, and is composed of five high- level steps with a continuous emphasis on data collection and project improvement
  • Acceptance of this new safety culture is reliant on the clear communication and collaboration between and amongst safety planning stakeholders at all levels

Identification of Gaps

  • When analyzing the current gaps, four themes became apparent – Performance Management of Safety Programs, Data, Communication and Knowledge Transfer, and Safety Planning
  • Each theme has several key capabilities that must be matured to reach the Safety Focused Decision Making Framework
  • As the transportation environment continues to change and safety planners progress down the path toward realizing FHWA's Safety Focused Decision Making Framework, indicators suggest that there will continue to be new challenges that arise in the areas of performance management, funding, and training

6. Summary and Next Steps

FHWA continues to promote a programmatic approach to performance-based management of the roadway safety community as part of their Safety Focused Decision Making Framework. This Framework relies upon consistent monitoring, reporting, evaluation, and improvement of performance goals to promote achievement of the desired safety performance across the entire roadway system – resulting in improved roadway safety nationwide.

The current environment has been baselined against the Safety Focused Decision Making Framework. Now that the major gaps within the tools, practices and training for system wide safety impact prediction have been identified, FHWA should take decisive steps toward the deployment of their Safety Focused Decision Making Framework. The activities discussed in the Suggested Bridging Options section outline some of the actions that are anticipated to yield the largest positive impact across the environment. FHWA will continue to work closely with safety planners at the state and local levels to mature and refine associated tools, guidance and training for the betterment of our national roadway system.


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Page last modified on October 29, 2014.
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