This guidebook provides State departments of transportation (DOT) and metropolitan planning organization (MPO) planners with a framework for navigating the fundamentals and advanced methods of safety data collection and analysis. It also demonstrates how the results of that analysis can be applied to the performance-based transportation planning process to develop safety goals, objectives, performance measures, and targets; identify and prioritize projects; and evaluate progress towards safety priorities.
Performance-based planning is not a new concept—for years transportation agencies have been tracking performance metrics, using the results to identify program and project investments to positively impact the system. Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), continues the focus on performance measurement, requiring State DOTs and MPOs to demonstrate progress in meeting seven national goals. One of the national goal areas is safety. Planners will track annual performance for number of fatalities and serious injuries and fatality and serious injury rate. The process for setting and tracking safety performance measures includes the following:
- Reviewing past, current, and future (if possible) safety trends—where are we now?
- Developing safety goals, objectives, measures, and targets—where do we want to go?
- Identifying transportation safety programs and projects to achieve results—how do we get there?
- Monitoring and evaluation—how are we doing?
This approach to safety fits within the context of the traditional transportation planning process, which agencies already use to set goals and objectives, complete data analyses, identify programs and projects, and evaluate progress towards safety priorities. Incorporating safety performance into the existing transportation planning process does not need to be complicated, but will require planners to understand and have access to safety data and analysis tools.