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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

Executive Summary

The Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) is a core Federal-aid highway program with the purpose to achieve a significant reduction in fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads. Under the Fixing America's Transportation System (FAST) Act, Congress authorized up to $2.4 billion per year for States to achieve this goal through the implementation of highway safety improvement projects. The States not only met this challenge, but far exceeded it obligating over $4 billion for over 4,600 highway safety improvement projects in 2017.

These highway safety improvement projects come in all shapes and sizes. Some HSIP projects are much bigger in scope than others, while other projects include countermeasure installations across multiple sites. The 2017 HSIP National Summary Report provides an aggregate summary of the type and cost of projects across all States. Provided below are highlights of the States' 2017 HSIP implementation efforts.

  • Many States have intersection (24 States) and roadway departure (27 States) programs.
  • States continue to use crash frequency and crash rate to identify projects in a majority of their safety programs.
  • A majority (roughly 64 percent) of HSIP projects cost less than $500,000 each, with 33 percent of all projects costing less than $100,000.
  • About 18 percent of HSIP projects would be considered high cost, coming in at over $1 million each. These projects often include widening shoulders, installing cable barrier, adding auxiliary lanes, or other miscellaneous intersection geometry and roadway projects.
  • Projects associated with a functional class were most often categorized as rural major collector or rural minor arterial.
  • Projects on rural principal arterial freeways and expressways had the highest average total cost per project of $3.6 million, whereas projects on rural local roads or streets had the lowest average total cost per project of $194,500.
  • There are fewer urban projects than rural projects and the average total cost per project of the urban projects is greater than the average total cost per project of the rural projects.
  • About 75 percent of highway safety improvement projects occur on roads owned by the State Highway Agency.
  • Projects on roads owned by Town or Township Highway Agencies had the second highest average total cost per project of $1.7 million, while City or Municipal Highway Agencies had the third highest average total cost per project of approximately $1.1 million.
  • A majority (73%) of highway safety improvement projects falls into the following categories: roadway, intersection traffic control, intersection geometry, roadside, and roadway signs and traffic control.
  • On average, States obligated 40% percent of HSIP funds to address systemic safety improvements.
  • Interchange design, alignment, and shoulder treatments have the highest average cost per project; whereas parking, speed management, and railroad grade crossing projects have the lowest average cost per project.
  • States use HSIP funds to address the predominant infrastructure-related crash types – roadway departure, intersection, and pedestrian crashes.

While the spending patterns don't change much from year to year, the number and cost of HSIP projects has continued to increase. There were 1,684 projects with a total cost of $1.61 billion in 2009, which rose to 4,616 projects with a total cost of $4.3 billion in 2017. Over the past eight years, States obligated $24.9 billion for more than 29,000 highway safety improvement projects. Based on a sample of 2017 HSIP projects, FHWA estimates that the benefits of the HSIP outweigh the costs on a scale ranging from 6.09 to 11.24.