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FHWA Highway Safety Programs

Transportation Safety Planning Fact Sheet

What is Transportation Safety Planning?

Transportation Safety Planning (TSP) is a comprehensive, system-wide, multimodal, proactive process that better integrates safety into surface transportation decision-making.

It is comprehensive because it considers all aspects of transportation safety—engineering, education, enforcement, and emergency medical response.

It is system-wide because it encompasses corridors and entire transportation networks at the local, regional, and State levels, as well as specific sites.

It is multimodal because it includes surface transportation, transit, bicycle, and pedestrian safety improvements.

It is proactive because it addresses current and future transportation safety issues. TSP focuses on how to assist the transportation community to prevent crashes related to transportation infrastructure as well as behavior issues.


Why is it needed?

Federal law requires that the State and Metropolitan transportation planning process be consistent with Strategic Highway Safety Plans. It is important for the process to consider projects and strategies to increase the safety of the transportation system for motorized and nonmotorized users.

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 41,059 people who died in traffic-related crashes in 2007. This is a decrease from 2006, when 42,642 died on our Nation’s roads.

The estimated societal costs are $230.6 billion per year or $829 per person. This is about 80% of the total 2004 to 2009, 6-year transportation budget.

To continue to reverse the trend, we need more resources to implement high pay-off safety strategies that will save the most lives. The planning process can play a key role in providing resources to address State and community highway safety needs.


Who Are the Key Players in TSP?

State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) play the leading roles in transportation safety planning. However, to make the greatest impact, it is importation to look beyond the traditional stakeholders. Other stakeholders who should be at the table should include:

  • Transit Agencies
  • Highway Safety Community—Governors' Highway Safety Representatives, Operation Lifesaver, AAA, etc.
  • State Agencies responsible for:
    • safety data collection & management
    • law enforcement
    • motor vehicle departments
  • Federal Agencies—FHWA, NHTSA, Federal Transit Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
  • Local Transportation Agencies
  • Emergency Medical Responders
  • Local Law Enforcement
  • Trade Associations—Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations, National Association of Regional Councils, AASHTO, American Public Transit Association, Institute of Transportation Engineers

Visit the Office of Environment and Planning TSP Website, for more detailed information about ongoing activities, the new TSP training course, forums, good practices, peer contacts, and tools to assist in safety conscious planning.