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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation
FHWA Highway Safety Programs



Rural roadway safety is an important issue for communities throughout the country and presents a challenge for local and Tribal agencies. Rural agencies are keenly aware of the need to improve roadway safety; however, because the same few staff members have wide ranging responsibilities that often include planning, engineering, design, landscaping, construction and construction oversight, and maintenance – it can be challenging for them to also address roadway safety. To help rural agency practitioners effectively integrate road safety into their existing responsibilities, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Office of Safety created this Toolkit for improving safety on rural local and Tribal roads (referred to hereafter as the Toolkit) as well as two associated User Guides.

The Toolkit provides practitioners with an easy to use safety analysis process, a set of tools, examples, and links to resources appropriate to their needs. The Toolkit is a step-by-step guide for conducting roadway safety analysis while the User Guides provide hypothetical yet typical scenarios to demonstrate how the Toolkit can be applied.

Who Should Use The Toolkit?

This Toolkit is designed for local and Tribal agency staff responsible for roadway safety. These staff typically have a wide range of expertise and experience, but little formal background in traffic safety. The Toolkit provides plain language guidance to help improve roadway safety on rural and Tribal roads. Throughout the Toolkit local and Tribal agency staff are referred to collectively 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 road agency.

What Is In The Toolkit?

The Toolkit walks practitioners step by step through the process of analyzing roadway and crash data, identifying safety issues and needs, and selecting and implementing countermeasures to address them. For each step in the process, the Toolkit provides an overview of the step, an example application of the step, guidance related to applying the step, and a summary of state and national resources that provide more information about the step. The next section explains the purpose of each step and the circumstance for when it should be used. Each step then presents detailed information about the step and tools, examples, guidance, and resources associated with each step in the process.

Why Use The Toolkit?

The Toolkit helps practitioners save lives and reduce serious injuries and fatalities on their roadways through the application of the latest highway safety techniques and proven strategies.

What Are The User Guides?

Two User Guides are associated with this Toolkit. Each demonstrates the Toolkit in practice by walking through a typical road safety analysis scenario.

  • User Guide #1 – Improving Safety on Rural Local and Tribal Roads – Site Safety Analysis describes how to conduct a site-specific safety analysis.
  • 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.