In August 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported for 2015, 35,092 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes, about a 7.2 percent increase compared to the 32,744 fatalities in 2014. The fatality rate for 2015 also increased from 1.08 to 1.12 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT). The increases are particularly significant among motorcyclists, pedestrians, and pedal cyclists. (NHTSA, Traffic Safety Facts: 2015 Motor Vehicle Crashes: Overview, August 2016, DOT HS 812 318.)
These alarming statistics call for a renewed emphasis on safety in policy and practice. An explicit consideration of safety issues can be part of every phase of the transportation process from planning through design, construction, and operations. The purpose of this Resource Guide is to provide State Departments of Transportation (DOT), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Division offices, Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO), and local and Tribal agencies a toolkit of strategies to integrate the safety and transportation planning processes. Also, State Highway Safety Offices (SHSO) may benefit from the information presented on the planning processes.
In the 1998 Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), Congress included safety as a priority planning factor in the transportation planning process. The requirement has been enhanced and renewed in all transportation reauthorization legislation since. The legislation provides an opportunity to identify effective safety strategies and processes and integrate the findings into all phases of the performance-based transportation planning processes. The ultimate goal is to identify, early in the transportation planning process, methods for addressing safety issues and reducing the human, economic, and environmental consequences of fatal and serious injury crashes.
The Guide is presented in three modules.
- Module One—Introduction to safety and the safety planning process for transportation planners.
- Module Two—Introduction to the transportation planning process for safety specialists.
- Module Three—Strategies and practices to integrate the safety and transportation planning processes.
The strategies and practices represent a collection of information gathered from a literature review, a questionnaire completed by FHWA Divisions, interviews conducted with transportation planners and safety specialists in five States with a successful track record of linking the transportation and safety planning efforts (Arizona, California, Iowa, Oregon, and Virginia), and experiences and observations of the consultant team and FHWA personnel on the project management team.