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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Transportation Safety Plans

Transportation safety plans are a tool used by Tribes to identify and plan to address transportation risk factors that have a potential of leading to serious injury or death. Safety Plans also organize the efforts of a variety of entities to more effectively reduce risk. Safety plans can cover multiple transportation modes (roads, maritime, trails, air travel, and others). Safety plans may lead to implementation of a project or program, renewed efforts in an existing program, or further study of a roadway section (using an engineering study or Road Safety Audit).

A transportation safety plan should not be developed with a focus on any one funding source. Instead, a transportation safety plan should demonstrate the safety concerns in a community and the prioritized strategies that will be explored to implement the plan. To the greatest extent possible the concerns demonstrated by a safety plan should be selected based on incident history (data). Data can help funding entities understand the needs and may even compel the funding of a project or program. Safety plans can provide a forum for utilizing data sets that are not otherwise considered by funding agencies such as public testimony when formal crash data does not exist.

More information, including a toolkit to assist with developing safety plans can be found here:

National Tribal Transportation Safety Management Plans

For Native Americans and others traveling on roads and other transportation facilities crossing tribal lands, the risks associated with this routine activity are far higher than any other segment of America. Thus, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), the Indian Health Service (IHS), tribes and states have made efforts to improve transportation safety on tribal lands and in native communities and align their efforts with national safety initiatives and strategies. These key stakeholders have significant resources and expertise that can reduce crashes with lifesaving results.

FHWA's Office of Federal Lands Highway assembled a Safety Management System (SMS) Steering Committee to marshal stakeholders. A Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) was developed with an accompanying Implementation Plan. The overarching goal of the Implementation Plan is for tribal governments to develop Tribal Highway Safety Improvement Programs (HSIP). The plan includes strategies that tribes can tailor to improve safety in their communities and develop in-house, self-sustaining expertise. The strategies should be part of a comprehensive highway safety program, but can stand alone as effective safety strategies if implemented incrementally while program development occurs.

Safety Summit Reports

Tribal Safety Summits have been held in several locations across the country. In addition, two National Safety Summits have been held. These events give Tribal leaders and safety professionals an opportunity to focus on critical road safety issues.

The ultimate goal is to reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries. The Summits can be a first step in engaging federal, state, local, and Tribal safety partners in a discussion on the nature and extent of the traffic safety problems on Tribal lands and strategies to address those problems. Networking that occurs during these events enables Tribes to partner with others to address the issues.

At the Summits, participants do the following:

  • Identify safety needs, resources, and solutions
  • Get to know and build relationships with safety partners to continue to work collaboratively
  • Share best practices and lessons learned
  • Commit to action items to build on the success

National Safety Summits Reports

Regional Safety Summits Reports

Adam Larsen
Safety Engineer & Safety Program Manager
Phone: 360-619-7751