The National Academies

NCHRP 17-60 [Active]

Benefit-Cost Methodology for Behavioral Highway Safety Countermeasures

  Project Data
Funds: $499,841
Staff Responsibility: Mark S. Bush
Research Agency: HDR Engineering, Inc.
Principal Investigator: David Lewis
Effective Date: 4/16/2012
Completion Date: 11/30/2017

States are facing increasingly difficult decisions on budget expenditures and programs. Currently there is no nationally recognized methodology to assist the states in allocating safety resources among behavioral safety countermeasures. NCHRP Report 622:  Effectiveness of Behavioral Highway Safety Countermeasures created a classification scheme to estimate the effectiveness of countermeasures. A benefit-cost methodology would assist states in making investment decisions concerning behavioral safety countermeasures and provide opportunities to compare the value of behavioral and engineering countermeasures side-by-side. NCHRP Report 622 identified 34 countermeasures that have been “proven” effective, 54 countermeasures whose effectiveness is rated as “unlikely/uncertain or unknown,” and 13 countermeasures believed “likely” to work but for which evidence of effectiveness is not conclusive. Research is needed to develop a widely usable methodology to determine benefit and cost for behavioral countermeasures. Additional research is also needed to advance the state of knowledge on the effectiveness of behavioral countermeasures that are “likely” to work.
The objectives of this research are to:
(a) Develop a benefit-cost methodology for behavioral highway safety countermeasures that can be used by state and local entities. The methodology should provide a quantitative analytical approach that uses clearly defined criteria to determine the value of the countermeasure. It should also include an approach for isolating the effects of individual countermeasures. Costs should include specific state and local program implementation costs, other costs borne by government, and societal costs (e.g., private medical costs, lost wages, reduced productivity).
(b) Apply the methodology to at least three proven (known effectiveness) countermeasures to demonstrate that the methodology is effective and widely usable.  The proven countermeasures should come from the areas of occupant protection, alcohol/drug impairment, and speed. Revise the methodology as needed.
(c) Once the benefit-cost methodology is successfully used (objective “b”), apply it to three to five of the countermeasures rated as “likely” to be effective (see NCHRP Report 622).  This is a two-part process: (1) quantify the effectiveness and ( 2) apply the methodology to determine the benefit-cost of the countermeasure.
STATUS: Research completed; see NCHRP 17-71 for follow-up on activity.  Final report can be downloaded here. 

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