Regional Planning Organizations are poised to play an active role in transportation safety. There current activities including facilitating input from a variety of stakeholders, identifying regional priorities, and encouraging investments provides the tools and resources to integrate and implement transportation safety planning activities. By working with both the state and local safety stakeholders and serving as conveners of various interests, RPOs are strategically positioned to integrate safety into planning and programming and improve safety analysis and outcomes in their regions.
In transportation safety planning, safety data is important to effectively determine and address the safety issues, and evaluate applied strategies. As a result, the availability and access to efficient safety data is essential. There are several sources of safety data planners can use including national resources, such as FARS; state databases or generated reports; localized data from law enforcement agencies; other planning documents, such as the SHSP and HSP; and public and stakeholder input.
Although integrating safety in the existing transportation planning processes and plans can be effective in reducing fatalities and serious injuries on the regional roadway network, oftentimes a standalone safety plan can produce added incites to regional safety issues. Engaging non-traditional planning partners and safety stakeholders in the safety planning process can provide a more comprehensive identification of issues and strategies to address them.
In nonmetropolitan areas, where crashes are occurring at higher rates, RPOs are in place in about 30 states to assist state DOTs and work with the public and local officials to understand the transportation needs for the region. Several states have recognized the benefits of engaging RPOs in achieving safety goals and objectives. With the methods and case studies outlined in this technical report, RPOs have a starting point for increasing their consideration of safety and helping to decrease traffic fatalities and serious injuries within their regions.