Photo courtesy of Neil Hetherington WTI-MSU.
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LRSPs are one of the 20 FHWA proven safety countermeasures.16 LRSPs have been developed throughout the country at the county, city, Tribal, or regional level (State DOT district or region, MPO). While development of LRSPs is widespread, implementation of LRSPs has been challenging for some agencies. For LRSPs to be an effective countermeasure for reducing fatalities and serious injuries on local roads, they must be implemented. Following are some steps to consider for implementation:
- Engage your 4E stakeholders: Stakeholders that were involved during the LRSP development process may have moved on once that process concluded. When starting implementation, it is a good idea to bring them back together and give them roles and responsibilities. For instance, form teams or groups to look at various aspects of implementation such as the progress getting projects implemented, assisting with communication functions, or promoting the plan to officials and the community. It may also be necessary, given staff turnover, to identify new people. Maintaining contact with stakeholders can help move the implementation process forward and provide LRSP managers with opportunities to get input on the plan and its progress. Do not forget to reach out to stakeholders who can help with behavior safety issues such as law enforcement, education, and emergency medical services.
- Find a champion: A local, regional, or statewide champion who was involved in the development of the LRSP and supports implementation of the LRSP will make it easier to transition to implementation. This individual can be a member of the jurisdiction’s board, another elected official, or the jurisdiction’s engineer.
- Identify funding mechanisms: In implementation, knowing what funding is available will help with both the project prioritization and project delivery. Funding may lend itself more to projects selected based on risk factor analysis, high crash locations, or a combination of both.
- Prioritize projects: Overall project prioritization makes implementation easier and allows localities to prepare for the next funding cycle. When prioritizing projects refer to the data to make sure the project will address the appropriate safety problems in the area.
- Allocate appropriate resources: Depending on what projects are selected for implementation, it will be necessary to determine what manpower and management are needed to take the projects through the project delivery process from design to installation as well as evaluation once the project is complete and has been installed for a period of time.
- Determine project development: When it comes to developing a project for implementation, determine if there are tools, such as a project sheet that mirrors the funding application, that would help with the process or whether a consultant or training could assist with filling out the application.
- Undertake project delivery: There are a lot of creative ways that LRSP projects can be implemented through different project delivery methods. State DOTs should consider ways to assist local agencies through design help (either in-house or from consultants) or by offering design build assistance to aid in a more streamlined way to implement projects. Project bundling is also a creative way to implement projects from the LRSPs. Some agencies bundle similar projects or projects near each other, while other agencies have bundled projects across multiple jurisdictions. On-going maintenance is another method for completing projects and recommendations that can be completed as part of routine maintenance projects. Agencies should consider some of the project delivery methods identified within this section to aid with implementation of their LRSPs.
- Conduct evaluation: Conducting an evaluation on projects after they are implemented can be valuable to educate and obtain support from the community for implementation of future projects. Additionally, the evaluation results can help agencies determine what types of projects to focus future implementation efforts.
- Continue communications and coordination: Marketing and communication on the LRSP should continue after the plan is completed. It is even more important to continually educate key elected and agency officials, colleagues, other stakeholders and the public about the value of the LRSP, the identified projects and how it is achieving positive results. A few ways to continue communication efforts including newsletters, web site postings, and presentations. Whatever vehicle is used to get the word out about LRSP implementation, it is a perfect opportunity to highlight how these plans get results.
The development of a LRSP usually generates a good deal of interest, but it can be challenging to implement the strategies and projects identified within the LRSP. It involves gaining buy-in for the LRSP, finding the funding to implement projects, prioritizing projects based on available resources, implementing the projects and determining their effectiveness, and making sure key individuals and the public remain interested and committed to the goals of the plan.
16 FHWA, Office of Safety, Proven Safety Countermeasures.