Excellence in Highway Safety Data Awards
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is pleased to announce the Excellence in Highway Safety Data Award, part of the Highway Data Analysis Excellence Awards Program. The award is designed to encourage university students to use Highway Safety Information System (HSIS) data to investigate a topic that advances highway safety and to develop a paper to document their original research.
The Excellence in Highway Safety Data Award encourages university students and potential future highway safety professional to use HSIS data. The goal is to introduce students to using high-quality safety data and appropriate research methods to derive recommendations, and the practice of using data to make decisions.
View the award flyer
Eligibility and Guidelines
The Excellence in Highway Safety Data Award research paper competition is open to undergraduate and graduate students in degree-granting programs that support highway safety.
Current graduate and undergraduate students are encouraged to develop papers for the competition based on their use of HSIS data for class projects or for their graduate theses and dissertation projects. Individuals who have graduated from a program within 6 months prior to the submission date are also eligible, if the paper is based on work conducted as part of their program.
The following requirements must be met by all applicants and submissions for the 2024 Award:
Applicant(s) must be enrolled as a graduate or undergraduate student in the 2023– 2024 academic year or have graduated from a university located in the United States during the 2023– 2024 academic year or have recently graduated in the Spring, Summer, or Fall semester of 2023.
In their submitted papers, applicants must use HSIS data, which includes data from the States of California, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Washington, and the city of Charlotte, NC, to investigate a topic that advances highway safety. Analysis must be conducted on data requested and acquired from HSIS. https://highways.dot.gov/research/safety/hsis/data
While not mandatory, applicants are encouraged to use data from other sources in support of the primary analysis using HSIS data, such as data from the following sources: Other States or localities; Long-Term Pavement Performance program; Motorcycle Crash Causation Study database; Roadway Lighting Database; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; second Strategic Highway Research Program, such as Naturalistic Driving Study or Roadway Information Database; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; and/or U.S. Census Bureau.
For more information, please contact Carol Tan, Safety Data and Analysis Team Leader at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Word count
The length of each paper must be 2,500–5,000 words, including the abstract, text, references, and tables. Each table counts as 250 words. If 4 tables are submitted, the abstract, text, and references may total no more than 4,000 words. Papers not meeting this requirement may be rejected without review.
- Original research
For authors who have submitted papers to, and received awards for, previous competitions, HSIS expects that 2024 papers contain new, original material. All 2024 papers should contain at least 50 percent new, original content, and the remaining 50 percent should not be verbatim to previously published work and/or a manuscript previously submitted to the HSIS paper competition.
- Individual or group work
Submissions by individual students or groups of students will be considered. Teams, however, must define one lead student and contributing students for the project (prizes reflect this requirement). Faculty can participate in an advisory role but cannot be coauthors on the paper.
Papers submitted to the 2024 competition will be evaluated on the following criteria and assigned point values:
Objective of the paper and emphasis on safety (10 points)
Is the objective of the paper clearly stated and relevant to the safety community? For example, using the HSIS data to model the impacts of signal spacing on capacity does not have an emphasis on safety. However, using HSIS data to model the impact of signal spacing on crashes is a more appropriate topic.
Importance of HSIS data to paper topic (20 points)
Was the use of HSIS data critical to achieving the objective of the paper? The paper should focus on the use of the HSIS and how critical it is in completing the objective of the study. HSIS can be used in conjunction with other data sources linked together.
Soundness of methodology (20 points)
Is the approach appropriate for the data? The paper should describe and use appropriate data analysis techniques that suit the objective.
Analysis of HSIS data (40 points)
Was the analysis of the HSIS data specifically, correctly, and clearly conducted? The paper should analyze the HSIS data using the proposed statistical analysis techniques.
Discussion of results (10 points)
Were the results discussed appropriately? The specific findings of the analysis are not part of the evaluation criteria; instead, this evaluation focuses on the discussion of results. For example, if a study on signal spacing found no effect on crashes, this will not affect the evaluation of the paper. The student should discuss the implication of the results, including a critical review of methodology and potential for future research.
Submission Details and Deadline
The 2024 online submission process is open, via the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Awards website and process.
- Step 1: Develop and write paper per above requirements and guidelines.
- Step 2: Download 2024 Submission Cover Sheet.
- Step 3: Submit PDF (of all materials) via instructions/process outlined on the ITE website.
Note: Make sure to “Login with ITE” before submitting a paper.
Papers due: May 1, 2024, 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
The turnaround time for requested HSIS data is normally less than 2 weeks; however, time needed to conduct analysis of these data varies per project. Please be sure to plan accordingly and in advance of the paper submission deadline.
Download the award flyer for prize information.
Click on drop-downs below to see all Excellence in Highway Safety Data Award winners.
Awards program recognized students who prioritized safety in research.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is pleased to announce the Excellence in Highway Safety Data Award winners:
Zihang Wei - Texas A&M University
Equitable Traffic Crash Prediction Framework to Support Improvement Grants Allocation
Abimbola Ogungbire - The University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Panick Kalambay - The University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Vehicle Crashes on Highway Segments with a Rail Grade Crossing: Insights into the Key Risk Factors in North Carolina
Hamza Bani Khalaf - Cleveland State University
Using Probabilistic Reasoning Approach on Road Familiarity, Distracted Driving, At-fault, and Crash Injury Severity in Work Zone Crashes
View 2023 Winning Paper
Cleveland State University Student Receives 2022 HSIS Excellence in Highway Safety Data Award
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA (August 30, 2022) – Cleveland State University graduate student Norris Novat received first place in the 2022 Highway Safety Information System's (HSIS's) Excellence in Highway Safety Data Award competition for a paper titled, "Predicting Drivers' Injury Occurrence in Vehicle Crashes Occurring at Horizontal Curve and Grade Combination Segments." Novat, the paper's lead author, co-authored the work with graduate student colleagues Sia Mwende, Hellen Shita, and Grace Mbiaji. Dr. Carol Tan, Safety Data & Analysis Team Leader at the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Office of Safety & Operations R&D, presented the award during the 2022 ITE (Institute of Transportation Engineers) Annual Meeting and Exhibition's Awards Lunch on August 2, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Download complete announcement (PDF)
View 2022 winning paper (PDF)
Florida International University Student Receives 2021 HSIS Excellence in Highway Safety Data Award
WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 9, 2021) – Florida International University graduate student Henrick Haule received first place in the 2021 Highway Safety Information System's (HSIS's) Excellence in Highway Safety Data Award competition. Haule won the top 2021 award for a paper that he, as a lead author, co-authored with MD Sultan Ali and Angela E. Kitali, Ph.D., titled, "Factors Influencing the Severity of Crashes Near Exit Ramps in North Carolina." The award was presented during the virtually hosted 2021 ITE (Institute of Transportation Engineers) Annual Meeting and Exhibition's Power Plenary Session on July 22.
Download complete announcement (PDF)
View 2021 winning paper (PDF)
Texas A&M University Student Receives 2020 HSIS Excellence in Highway Safety Data Award
WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 6, 2020) – Texas A&M University Ph.D. candidate Xiaoyu "Sky" Guo received first place for the 2020 HSIS Excellence in Highway Safety Data Award competition. The winning paper, "Safety Criteria for Selecting a Smart Corridor: Random Forest Approach using HSIS Data from Washington State," demonstrates how the Washington State HSIS data set was used to identify 13 key safety criteria to select a smart corridor using a Random Forest (RF) machine learning algorithm. Guo and coauthors, Yongxin Peng and Chaolun Ma, were presented with the top 2020 HSIS Award during the 2020 ITE Virtual Annual Meeting and Exhibition's Power Plenary session on Thursday, August 6.
Download complete announcement (PDF)
View 2020 winning paper (PDF)
Florida International University Student Receives 2019 HSIS Excellence in Highway Safety Data Award
AUSTIN (July 22, 2019)—Florida International University Ph.D. candidate Seyedmirsajad Mokhtarimousavi received first place for the 2019 HSIS Excellence in Highway Safety Data Award competition. The winning paper, "A Time of Day Analysis of Pedestrian-Involved Crashes in California: Investigation of Injury Severity, a Logistic Regression and Machine Learning Approach Using HSIS Data," explores the contributing factors for pedestrian-involved crashes in California. Mokhtarimousavi was recognized during the Award Luncheon at the 2019 Joint ITE International and Texas District Annual Meeting and Exhibit in Austin, Texas.
The HSIS Excellence in Highway Safety Data Award is part of the Highway Data Analysis Excellence Awards Program. It was created to introduce future highway safety professionals to HSIS safety data, the process of applying the appropriate research methods to derive recommendations, and the practice of using that data to make decisions. The competition is jointly administered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE).
"This year's winning paper is a great illustration of how the HSIS database allows young researchers to gain insights into and explore transportation safety topics of interest to them," said Brian Cronin, FHWA's Acting Associate Administrator for Research, Development, and Technology. "The goal of the awards program is to inspire university students to use HSIS data to investigate a topic that advances highway safety, and we hope these young researchers will continue exploring important transportation safety challenges in the future."
"This prestigious award gives me recognition and exposure, which enables me to inspire other students as I, myself, was inspired by previous winners," said Mokhtarimousavi. "I used the HSIS database to investigate pedestrian-involved crashes in California by time-of-day, which was interesting and important to me because, in recent years, California has ranked among the States with the highest pedestrian fatalities in traffic crashes across the country."
The competition's second-place recipient is Alyssa Ryan, University of Massachusetts Amherst, for the paper "Evaluating Crash Type Likelihood at Various Control Devices: A Multinomial Logistic Regression Using HSIS Data." The third-place recipient is Jianqing Wu, University of Nevada, Reno, for the paper "Analysis of Crash Severity for Hazard Material Transportation Using Highway Safety Information System Data."
This year's HSIS Excellence in Highway Safety Data winning paper will be published in the October 2019 issue of ITE Journal.
As lead author, Mokhtarimousavi received a commemorative plaque, as well as travel and registration for the 2019 ITE Annual Meeting and Exhibit.
Download complete announcement (PDF)
View 2019 winning paper (PDF)
2018 HSIS Excellence in Highway Safety Data Competition Awarded to Two Iowa State University Students
Awards program encourages students to prepare for a career in highway safety by using high quality data and prioritizing safety in research
MINNEAPOLIS — Two Iowa State University students take the top prize for the 2018 HSIS Excellence in Highway Safety Data Award competition. Megat-Usamah Megat-Johari and co-author Justin Cyr creatively used Highway Safety Information System (HSIS) data to develop the winning paper, "Transferability of Safety Performance Functions (SPFs) Across Jurisdictions: A Comparison of Interstate SPFs between Minnesota, Ohio, and Washington Using HSIS Data," and will be recognized at the Joint ITE International and Midwestern/Great Lakes Districts (MWITE/GLITE) Annual Meeting and Exhibit in Minneapolis, Minn., on August 21.
The competition's second-place recipients are Snehanshu Banerjee and Nashid K. Khadem, both from Morgan State University, for the paper "Factors Influencing Injury Severity in Alcohol-Related Crashes: A Neural Network Approach Using HSIS Crash Data." The third-place recipients are Chennan Xue and Dan Xu, Auburn University, for the paper "Factors Influencing Crash Severity at Rural Horizontal Curves in Maine."
View full 2018 announcement (PDF)
View 2018 winning paper
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Jason Anderson and Shangjia Dong
Two Oregon State University Students Receive 2017 HSIS Excellence in Highway Safety Data Award
WASHINGTON, D.C. Two Oregon State University students innovatively used Highway Safety Information System (HSIS) data to develop the paper that took the top prize in the 2017 HSIS Excellence in Highway Safety Data Award paper competition. Jason Anderson and co-author Shangjia Dong submitted the winning paper, "Heavy Vehicle Driver Injury Severity Analysis by Time of Week: A Mixed Logit Approach Using HSIS Crash Data," and were recognized at the Joint Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE)/Canadian ITE 2017 Annual Meeting and Exhibit in Toronto, Canada, on July 31.
The competition's second-place recipients are Majbah Uddin and Fahim Ahmed, both from the University of South Carolina, for the paper "Analysis of Pedestrian Injury Severity in Motor Vehicle Crashes in Ohio." The third-place recipient is Jin Wang, Auburn University, for the paper "Evaluating the Effects of Intersection Balance on Wrong-way Movements at Partial Cloverleaf Interchanges Terminals to Improve Highway Safety."
View full 2017 announcement (PDF)
View 2017 winning paper (PDF)
Mahdi Pour-Rouholamin, Ph.D
Auburn University Ph.D. Student Wins First Highway Safety Data Research Paper Competition
(August 15, 2016) ANAHEIM, Calif. – Mahdi Pour-Rouholamin, Ph.D., is the first place winner of the inaugural Highway Safety Information System (HSIS) Research Paper Competition for his paper "Analyzing the Severity of Motorcycle Crashes in North Carolina using HSIS Data." He accepted his award today at the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) 2016 Annual Meeting and Exhibit in Anaheim, Calif.
The HSIS Research Paper Competition encourages university students to use HSIS data with the intent of introducing potential future highway safety professionals to quality safety data, the application of appropriate research methods to derive recommendations and the practice of using data to make decisions. The competition is jointly administered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and ITE.
View full 2016 announcement (PDF)
View 2016 winning paper (PDF)
HSIS is a safety database that contains crash, roadway inventory, and traffic volume data for a select group of States and cities. The participating agencies were selected based on the quality and quantity of data available, and their ability to merge data from various files. FHWA uses the HSIS to support the FHWA safety research program and provides input for program policy decisions.
The FHWA has used HSIS data to analyze a large number of safety problems. These safety problems can range from the more basic "problem identification" issues to identifying the size and extent of a safety problem to modeling efforts that attempt to predict future crashes from roadway characteristics and traffic factors.
The FHWA also provides HSIS data to professionals conducting research under the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, universities, and others studying highway safety. Results from many of the studies have been used to develop new safety policies and establish improved safety practices.
The HSIS Research Paper Competition is jointly administered by FHWA and the Institute of Transportation Engineers.