FLH strives to be proactive about improving highway and roadway safety by incorporating proven safety countermeasures on FLH projects. Existing and projected traffic data, existing roadway geometry and the location of existing safety features are commonly collected data for use in the development of roadway or multimodal planning assessments. Often in federal lands, in rural areas, or in jurisdictions managed by small local agencies, this data is either limited or nonexistent or it is spread across various platforms. The latest safety analysis methodology makes use of a variety of input to inform decisions of where to place these proven safety countermeasures, often low-cost, throughout an agency’s transportation network. This research and GIS application project seeks to efficiently collect and use this input to improve safety throughout the transportation networks of FLH partners.
The use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to assist with the development of planning documents is well known and practiced. This research will examine the use of GIS for safety and traffic assessments, identify the best current practices and develop a safety analysis framework for use in federal lands and rural areas. The GIS map framework will be customized, with menus and markup options, to help assess specific risk factors and collect both quantitative and anecdotal information from local agency staff, depending on the need. The risk factors can include horizontal curves, vertical grades, roadside hazards, congested areas, high-use turnouts/scenic areas, wildlife data, pedestrian and bicycle concerns, other known safety concerns, and more. This research will investigate how the collected risk factor information will be fed directly into safety analysis, such as Safety Action Plans (SAP) and Road Safety Audits (RSA) to help supplement a lack of existing safety data, including crash data. In addition, existing efforts, such as wildlife data collection applications, may be integrated into a holistic system for agency users to better understand the needs on their system.
In summary, the primary goals of this research project are as follows:
- Determine highway safety risk factors of highest need in “data-poor” environments in order to support a systemic safety analysis for Federal Lands Highway partners. Determine the preferred format and structure of raw data to support quantitative and qualitative safety analysis methodology.
- Build a GIS-based data collection framework to efficiently collect data of highest need. Investigate potential for improving data interoperability among data sources and incorporate the latest GIS best practices and technology.
- Demonstrate the data collection GIS framework and systemic safety analysis for representative case studies and promote Safety Action Plans as a mean to secure funding and implement identified improvements.
FLH is exploring how custom GIS applications can help bridge the gap between a lack of available data and actionable plans to improve safety on road networks within federal lands and local governments. The data and analysis framework can assist FLH partners, especially Federal Land Management Agencies and local government partners, with providing a means to identify which roads would best benefit from safety improvements. The framework can directly inform Safety Action Plans which can assist with acquiring funding to implement identified improvements. The key tasks are:
- Literature Review and Work Plan Development
- Develop Repository to Store and Exchange Spatial Data
- Develop Data Collection Framework and GIS Analysis Methodology to Support Safety and Traffic Analysis
- Conduct Case Studies
- Final Report
- Develop and Deploy Implementation Plan
How to Engage
FLMA and local government partners are crucial to the success of this research and future steps. A technical advisory committee, made up of FLMA and local government partners, as well as GIS and safety data analysis experts, will help guide the research and associated data and analysis frameworks. For more information, contact the project manager to learn how your agency can get involved.
Additionally, FLH seeks interested agencies to participate in case studies in conjunction with this research.