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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
FHWA Highway Safety Programs


The "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act" continues the Highway Safety Improvement Program as a core Federal-aid highway program based in strategic planning and resulting in data-driven decisions that reduce the occurrence of fatalities and serious injuries on our nation’s roadways. This act emphasizes the eligibility of systemic safety improvements and projects to reduce the potential for traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads. The Systemic Safety Project Selection Tool (Systemic Tool) provides supporting information for state transportation departments and local government agencies to incorporate a systemic planning component into their existing safety management programs.

The Systemic Tool provides an overview of the role of systemic planning in the safety management process and outlines the process to select systemic safety improvements and projects. The Systemic Tool provides a framework for determining a reasonable funding distribution between spot safety and systemic safety improvements, and discusses the evaluation of systemic safety programs. The Systemic Tool is a valuable reference for state and local transportation safety practitioners working to advance the planning and implementation of systemic safety improvements. Hyperlinks in this document connect the user to valuable resources to assist with their decision-making processes.

Based on the latest research and state and local practices pertaining to systemic safety planning efforts, the Systemic Tool was developed with input from a technical oversight working group and revised based on feedback from several volunteer pilot agencies. The primary role of the technical oversight working group was to provide initial input into the scope and direction of the project and review major deliverables. Four volunteer pilot agencies then applied the systemic process documented in the Systemic Tool to their systems. The objective of this pilot effort was to assess the flexibility of the Systemic Tool by applying it to a variety of roadway systems, jurisdictions, and geographies. The feedback from these agencies and lessons learned during the pilot were incorporated into the final version of the Systemic Tool presented here. The pilot results are also incorporated via examples that are integrated throughout the Systemic Tool to illustrate its application across multiple systems.

The agencies that participated in the pilot effort are the Thurston County, Washington, Department of Public Works; the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet; the Missouri Department of Transportation; and the New York State Department of Transportation. In addition, the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Rutgers Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation provided information on their application of the systemic approach to safety. The gracious contributions and expertise of the technical oversight working group and pilot agencies will support the advancement of systemic safety planning and reduce the occurrence of and potential for fatalities and serious injuries on our nation’s roadways.