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The National Academies

NCHRP 08-36/Task 26 [Completed]

Surface Transportation Safety and Investment
[ NCHRP 08-36 (Research for the AASHTO Standing Committee on Planning) ]

  Project Data
Funds: 25000
Research Agency: CH2M HILL
Principal Investigator: Timothy Neuman
Effective Date: 2/19/2002
Completion Date: 4/19/2002
Comments: Completed---Final report sent to AASHTO

In any national assessment of investment needs in highways and transit considerations of investment requirements to support improved safety must receive highest priority. Present capabilities are limited in the ability to determine the key linkages between investment in infrastructure, particularly highway infrastructure, and safety.

It is recognized that programs to improve highway safety must include the three key components implicated in fatalities, accidents and other safety-related events including: the driver; the vehicle; and the facility on which the trip occurred. It has been long recognized that safety programs must address all three of these areas to be effective. Moreover, highway agencies must address not only those circumstances where analysis indicates that the events may be attributable to the facility itself but also those accident events linked to the driver or the vehicle where focused road investment could be effective in assuring overall greater safety. Causation may be a guide to the solution but investment may be the effective choice for response.

National investment decisions then must be guided by the key needs in support of greater national safety on roads and transit facilities. Pedestrian and bicycling safety are also key concerns. America is moving into a unique era where its demography will have immense impact on the potential for accidents and fatalities. Substantial investment responses, embedded in an overall research and policy program of action, will need to be structured to contain the potential growth in fatalities and accidents. Any hope of reductions in fatalities or their rates must recognize this context.

A broad document is required that can synthesize much of the current work that is being done within the USDOT, AASHTO, NCHRP and in other research venues such as the recent F SHRP effort and also the Research and Technology Forum jointly developed among FHWA, TRB and AASHTO. The document must assess needs for regulation and research as well as investment programs in order to assure that the scope and scale of an investment program for the future is embedded in the appropriate context. The overall approach must be to review potential safety-related investments and the anticipated impacts of those investments on fatalities, injuries, and accidents.

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