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safety data

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SPF-R Web Tool

The Highway Safety Manual (HSM) was first published by AASHTO in 2010 and provides guidance for safety analysis in highway transportation project planning and development. The HSM contains predictive methods for infrastructure improvement project alternative analysis and development/design including the use of national safety performance functions developed to predict crashes by severity specific facility types and base conditions; and associated crash modification factors (CMFs) to estimate the potential effects of design alternatives or changes from base conditions.

In 2017 the Kentucky Transportation Center developed a tool using the free and open-source statistical computing and graphics environment “R”. Utilizing methods outlined by the HSM, code was created in R to automate SPF development to improve regression models. The tool became known as SPF-R and allowed states that have not adopted newer methodologies due to the difficulties related to SPF development the ability to create Safety Performance Functions. SPF-R provides immediate feedback in SPF development, including goodness-of-fit measures and depictions of the model. SPF-R is now in the FHWA Safety Toolbox, but it does require someone with a working knowledge of how to run R code, as well as an application downloaded to a computer in order to run.

Recognizing that running code may be a barrier for some, this new version of the code takes the SPF-R and runs it on a server. A new web interface has been developed so SPFs may be developed through a user’s web browser simply by uploading a CSV file with certain predefined parameters. Users of this new tool will have fewer technical challenges getting SPF-R working as the mechanics are all handled online. SPF-R online is still free and open-source, but in this current form it is more accessible than ever before.

“E is for Everybody”: Using Equity to Prioritize Pedestrian Safety Projects and Make the Case for Greater State Funding


Like many States across the country, Virginia is facing a pedestrian safety crisis. On average, 70-90 pedestrians were killed per year from the early 2000s to 2016. Starting in 2016, pedestrian fatalities increased dramatically to 111 to 122 per year; this was followed by a large increase to over 170 in 2022. To address this crisis and reach their goal of zero deaths, which is set in the State’s SHSP, VDOT developed a Pedestrian Safety Action Plan (PSAP). Through collaboration with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), VDOT incorporated VDH’s Health Opportunity Index (HOI) in their PSAP update to proactively and systemically prioritizes locations for pedestrian safety improvements.

Equity Approaches for Vision Zero: San Francisco


To promote equity in the Vision Zero program, San Francisco has created a strong partnership between traditional transportation stakeholders, public health experts, and the community. The city is using public health methods to ensure accurate and transparent collection and analysis of roadway crash fatalities and injuries to create more complete data. This comprehensive, data-driven analysis allows the City to prioritize safety improvements on roadways on the High-Injury Network located in Equity Priority Neighborhoods, where these investments will make the most progress toward reaching the City’s goal of zero deaths.

MnDOT’s SPACE Tool: Using Equity Data to Inform Active Transportation Safety


Minnesota DOT (MnDOT) strives to serve all Minnesota residents by creating a multimodal transportation system that maximizes the health of people, the environment, and the economy. Between 2016 and 2020, 228 pedestrians and 42 bicyclists were killed in motor vehicle crashes in Minnesota. MnDOT partnered with the Office of Traffic Safety within the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and the Minnesota Department of Health, along with other Federal, State, and local partners, to implement the Toward Zero Deaths program. Minnesota’s Toward Zero Deaths mission is to “create a culture for which traffic fatalities and serious injuries are no longer acceptable.”

As part of the implementation of the Toward Zero Deaths program, MnDOT focuses on three strategies: improving active transportation, improving safety, and improving transportation equity across Minnesota’s transportation system. MnDOT developed the SPACE tool―Suitability for the Pedestrian and Cycling Environment―a GIS-based spatial analysis tool using publicly available data. An index of 19 social and demographic variables identifies where latent demand and crash risk exist on Minnesota’s roadways, what areas warrant additional investigation, and helps with the selection and prioritization of projects and where to direct investments.

The SPACE tool is now available for anyone to use. Visit:

Safety Data Case Studies

The Roadway Safety Data Program is working with state and local agencies to develop case studies around roadway safety data collection, management, and analysis issues. These case studies help illuminate both the challenges encountered by agencies on data issues and the solutions they are...