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FHWA Highway Safety Programs

8.0 Conclusion

The framework for setting statewide safety targets is relevant for urbanized and nonurbanized target setting. However, more complexity is involved when manipulating the data for analysis by the separate urbanized and nonurbanized areas. Additionally, other considerations such as safety culture and urbanization trends must be taken into account when evaluating how aggressive targets should be.

States should consider the quality of their location data before jumping into urbanized and nonurbanized target setting, particularly for serious injuries. If States have lower confidence in accuracy of crash locations, they may want to wait to set urbanized and nonurbanized targets until they have higher confidence in crash locations both on and off the State system.

Urbanized and nonurbanized target setting can help States prioritize their resources for the greatest impact. With increased attention to the locations of crashes, States may be able to tailor implementation of countermeasures better to address the areas with the higher numbers of severe crashes.

Establishment of urbanized and nonurbanized targets may help bring more stakeholders to the process if they feel more of a stake in the targets for their area. Given urbanized areas are part of MPO planning areas, States may find urbanized area target setting improves coordination with MPOs or location jurisdictions.

In terms of evaluation, if the State is monitoring progress by individual urbanized area, it may be able to more quickly recognize when innovative projects and higher level of mode shift are resulting in improved safety outcomes. This could result in improved recognition of how best practices generate results at a regional scale.