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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

Implementation of Systemwide Improvements – Missouri

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) has been successfully shifting the focus of its Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) towards a more proactive approach through the implementation of systemwide improvements. Many of these efforts began through the implementation of the Smooth Roads Initiative in 2004. The original initiative included 2,200 miles of resurfacing, installation of reflective pavement markings and signage, improved shoulders with rumble strips/stripes, and safer guardrails. Given the safety benefits realized through these improvements, the state incorporated many of them into Missouri’s Blueprint to Arrive Alive (the state’s strategic highway safety plan).

Missouri’s Blueprint is used to guide HSIP investments. The Blueprint identifies the state’s “Targeted 10” strategies in education, enforcement, engineering, and public policy areas. These strategies were selected based on documented evidence supporting their life-saving and injury reduction potential. Six of the strategies are engineering countermeasures being implemented on a systemwide basis, including:

  • Expand the installation of shoulder and centerline rumble strips/stripes;
  • Expand, improve, and maintain roadway visibility features (pavement markings, signs, lighting, etc);
  • Expand installation and maintenance of roadway shoulders;
  • Remove and/or shield fixed objects along roadside right of way;
  • Improve and expand intersection safety with the use of innovative engineering designs (e.g., J-turns, roundabouts); and
  • Improve curve recognition through the use of signs, markings, and pavement treatments.

The state uses HSIP funding for many of these strategies proactively incorporating the installation of rumble strips/stripes, improved signing and delineation, wider pavement markings, and improved shoulders into pavement resurfacing projects.

Currently the state focuses its funding on the state roadway system since, historically, 77 percent of the fatalities in Missouri occur on state roads. In order to achieve the greatest benefit for the funds invested, Missouri originally focused on incorporating the safety enhancements into resurfacing projects on major roadways (about 5,600 centerline miles) experiencing a disproportionate 45 percent of all fatal crashes. Following positive results from those original efforts, MoDOT is currently considering incorporating two-foot shoulders into future resurfacing projects on less traveled roadways (e.g., minor arterials, major collectors). Missouri also has become a national leader in the installation of cable median barrier to reduce cross-median fatalities on the majority of the interstate system throughout the state.

Photo Collage - Cover of Missouri's Blueprint to Arrive Alive document.

Key Accomplishments

  • Allocated almost two-thirds of HSIP funds to systemwide improvements.
  • Created a safer roadway system overall.


Since 2007, almost two-thirds of Missouri’s HSIP funds have been allocated to systemwide improvements. By focusing more on systemwide improvements, the state has been able to create a safer system overall. Between 2005 and 2010, Missouri has seen a 30 percent drop in overall fatalities and a 41 percent reduction in lane departure fatalities. In addition, the installation of cable median barriers on the interstate system throughout the state resulted in an 80 percent reduction in cross median crash fatalities on Missouri freeways.


John Miller
Traffic Safety Engineer
Missouri Department of Transportation