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FHWA Highway Safety Programs

SHSP Stakeholder Involvement

Legislation (23 U.S.C. 148) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) guidance is quite specific as to the recommended stakeholder representatives for developing a statewide strategic highway safety plan (SHSP). Those recommendations include the state department of transportation (DOT), the Governor’s Representative for Highway Safety, metropolitan planning organizations, regional planning organizations, representatives of the major modes of transportation, state and local traffic enforcement officials, persons responsible for administering 23 USC Section 130 (Highway Rail Grade Crossing Program), Operation Lifesaver, motor carrier safety, and other major state and local safety stakeholders.

Stakeholder involvement is necessary for an effective SHSP process because of the wide range of programs and disciplines necessary for improving transportation safety on all public roads. Establishing collaborative arrangements where partners regularly work together builds trust, understanding, and coordinated solutions. Working together to examine data and identify appropriate safety improvement strategies can help break down jurisdictional and programmatic barriers and foster widespread understanding and support for common safety priorities. Collaboration among a wide variety of stakeholders results in a wiser use of limited resources and provides opportunities to leverage resources to achieve a broader range of program objectives. Collaboration can also result in new and innovative safety strategies that may not otherwise be realized through the traditional program silos.

For many states, developing the original SHSP involved broad-based collaboration among safety agencies and organizations engaged in safety. States have established a myriad of ways to implement their SHSPs in partnership with these stakeholders, and in some cases have reached out to new participants. Some local entities have also developed and are implementing safety plans akin to statewide SHSPs. Agencies facilitate internal collaboration through policies and procedures and support external collaboration through a variety of interagency communication strategies and organizational frameworks. Combinations of various practices have proven most effective at garnering and maintaining SHSP stakeholder involvement.

However, following the heightened levels of enthusiasm during the initial SHSP development phase, some states have found it difficult to maintain or broaden stakeholder involvement on a regular basis while implementing and updating their plans.

Noteworthy Practices

The following cases demonstrate noteworthy practices several states are using in revisiting SHSP emphasis areas:

  • A key element of Missouri’s SHSP, titled Blueprint for Safer Roadways (now the Blueprint to Arrive Alive) involved organizing 10 regional safety coalitions designed to work in concert with the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety (MCRS) to deploy targeted strategies at both the state and regional level. Together, the MCRS and Regional Coalitions have embraced the elements of the Blueprint and implemented a comprehensive, coordinated, and focused effort to reduce fatalities and disabling injuries on Missouri roads. Regional Coalitions have expanded the number of partners and the regional safety plans include a wider variety of localized safety programs. (read more)
  • In April 2010, the Nevada Departments of Transportation and Public Safety conducted a series of road show meetings across the state in an effort to further engage safety stakeholders and educate them about the SHSP, provide an opportunity for input into the SHSP update, and market the October SHSP Summit. Combined, the four road show meetings engaged over 100 stakeholders representing different disciplines and levels of government. Participants learned about the SHSP process, their interest was piqued, and it created opportunities for potential synergies among the various safety groups. (read more)
  • Washington State actively engaged tribes in discussions and safety planning, which has resulted in explicit consideration of Native American traffic safety issues in the update of Washington State’s Target Zero SHSP. The State held a Tribal Traffic Safety Summit, carried summit results forward in the SHSP update process, included strategies from the national Strategic Highway Safety Plan for Indian Lands, and consulted tribes to develop and review the draft Target Zero update. (read more)
  • The Cheyenne Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) in Wyoming independently developed and is implementing a Transportation Safety Management Plan (TSMP) akin to statewide SHSPs. The MPO has built and sustained safety stakeholder engagement in the process through MPO leadership, identifying and funding safety projects, and working with partners on project implementation. Safety stakeholders have been involved in six emphasis areas, a law enforcement summit, a legislative briefing, and other projects. (read more)

To access these full case studies, click on the individual links above or visit the FHWA Office of Safety on-line at: