U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Safety is a national transportation performance goal area, but more importantly, it is the number one priority for all transportation system users. For this reason, every state Department of Transportation (DOT), metropolitan planning organization (MPO), and many local jurisdictions are investing in programs and projects to reduce fatalities and serious injuries. Alaska is addressing transportation safety through a "Toward Zero Deaths" approach, which focuses on zero fatalities and the promise to move residents and visitors to their destinations safely. Many different stakeholders play a role in achieving this commitment, with transportation planners leading the way on stakeholder coordination, crash data analysis, prioritizing and programming investments, and tracking and evaluating results.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Office of Safety and Office of Planning provide technical assistance to their partners to address transportation safety. The Transportation Safety Planning (TSP) Workshops projectis one such effort that facilitated open discussions between safety and planning practitioners to further the collaborations on saving lives and eliminating fatalities and serious injuries.
In May 2018, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) hosted a workshop in Anchorage, Alaska, with participants from the MPOs, local safety and transportation partners, and FHWA. The workshop was a part of a yearlong project that also included a pre-workshop webinar to introduce participants to the concepts of transportation safety and planning integration, and prioritize topics to emphasize during the workshop; a post-workshop technical assistance webinar to discuss opportunities and challenges identified by participants at the workshop; and a peer exchange webinar to share successful practices and broaden collaboration with other states who were participating in this yearlong project around the same time.
Crash Analysis: To enable transportation planners and engineers to easily perform crash analysis and reporting, DOT&PF a new system, CARE, with assistance from the University of Alabama. The built-in automation and features make it easier to access data and visualize analysis results.
In particular, it:
Behavioral Efforts: The Fairbanks MPO led a crash analysis, which showed that young driver crashes occur at a much higher rate than that of any other age group. In reviewing the Alaska SHSP, the MPO identified "Pursuing programs to ensure outreach and education to young drivers" as a strategy. In coordination with the local school district, the MPO will support two initiatives. The MPO will provide funding to the school district to reinstate driver's education classes and to support student scholarships for private driver education courses.
Project Prioritization: Performance-based planning requires transportation agencies to identify programs and projects that demonstrate progress toward safety goals. One way to do this is to incorporate safety considerations into the project prioritization process. The Fairbanks MPO has taken steps to expand and vet the safety scoring criteria to ensure all projects include safety to the maximum extent possible.