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FHWA Highway Safety Programs

1.0 Introduction

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Office of Safety created a Safety Toolkit for Improving Rural Tribal and Local Roads (referred to hereafter as the Toolkit) to provide a step-by-step process to assist local agency and Tribal practitioners in completing traffic safety processes. Figure 1 shows the safety process outlined in the Toolkit. For each step in the process, the Toolkit includes an explanation of the step and tools, examples, guidance, and resources for learning more about each step. The process and tools presented in the Toolkit are flexible and can be applied to assist in solving any number of safety situations.

The Toolkit has been developed to provide information about how to study road safety on rural roads under the jurisdiction of local or Tribal agencies. There are many different types of staff that could be responsible for safety on local and Tribal roads, including maintenance staff, landscapers, planners, engineers, and politicians. Throughout the Toolkit and User Guides, these people are referred to as “practitioners” or “staff,” independent of whether they work for a local or Tribal road agency. Similarly, the road agency is referred to as the “agency” or “jurisdiction,” whether it is a Tribal or local agency.

Figure 1. Toolkit Safety Analysis Process

"Figure 1 is a circular diagram showing three phases of the safety process presented in this toolkit. Each phase has a number of steps. Phase 1 is Evaluate Network. There are three steps in this phase: Compile Data, Conduct Network Screening, and Select Sites for Investigation. Phase 2 is Select Improvements. There are two steps in this phase: Diagnose Site Conditions and Identify Countermeasures and Prioritize Countermeasures for Implementation. Phase 3 is Implement and Monitor. There are two steps in this task: Implement Countermeasures and Evaluate Effectiveness. After the third phase, the practitioner should start Phase 1: Evaluate Network again."

What are the User Guides?

The FHWA has developed two User Guides (this document and its counterpart) to provide practitioners with examples applying the tools presented in the Toolkit. Each User Guide presents an example scenario that is typical on rural roads and example solutions to the scenario using methods presented in the Toolkit.

The User Guides’ example scenarios show intended use and application of the tools for each toolkit process step. The User Guides” example solutions presented provide step-by-step procedures for practitioners to apply the methods to comparable situations in any community.

There are two User Guides:

  1. User Guide #1 – Improving Safety on Rural Local and Tribal Roads – Site Safety Analysis describes a step-by-step analysis for conducting a site-specific safety analysis. This scenario is typical of a situation where a site of concern is identified by staff at the agency, an elected official or someone outside the agency based on crash history. User Guide #1 demonstrates Step 1 and Steps 4 through 7 in Figure 1.
  2. User Guide #2 – Improving Safety on Rural Local and Tribal Roads – Network Safety Analysis describes how to conduct a proactive analysis of a component of the transportation network such as all two-lane road segments, or all stop-controlled intersections. User Guide #2 demonstrates how to identify sites for safety improvement, diagnose conditions, implement selected countermeasures, and evaluate countermeasure effectiveness. User Guide #2 demonstrates all of the steps in Figure 1.

This is User Guide #2 – Network Safety Analysis. The hypothetical scenario that follows presents a situation where the agency has decided to study safety at many locations.

User Guide #2 demonstrates how to screen and select sites for safety investigation given a large pool of sites, identify specific sites for investigation, diagnose site conditions, implement selected countermeasures, and evaluate countermeasure effectiveness. User Guide #2 demonstrates all steps in the Toolkit process shown in Figure 1.

  • Step 1 – Compile Data;
  • Step 2 – Conduct Network Screening;
  • Step 3 – Select Sites for Investigation;
  • Step 4 – Diagnose Site Conditions and Identify Countermeasures;
  • Step 5 – Prioritize Countermeasures for Implementation;
  • Step 6 – Implement Countermeasures; and
  • Step 7 – Evaluate Effectiveness of Implemented Countermeasures.

See User Guide #1 to review an example application of tools to study safety at a preselected location.