The National Academies

NCHRP 17-18(15) [Completed]

Local Highway Agency Safety Guides

  Project Data
Funds: $365,057
Research Agency: CH2M Hill
Principal Investigator: John Nitzel
Effective Date: 6/2/2006
Completion Date: 6/30/2012


NCHRP Project 17-18(3) is developing a series of guides to assist state highway agencies with reducing fatalities in targeted emphasis areas. However, almost 40 percent of the over 42,000 fatalities occur on local roads that are not part of the state highway system. Many local highway agencies do not have access to professional engineering staff on a full-time basis and rely on the LTAP centers, APWA, NACE, and other associations for technical assistance.

A FARS analysis of 2003 local road fatalities reveals the following fatality concerns:
• On rural local roads, curves and non-signalized intersections; head-on fatalities on higher class local roads; crashes with trees, primarily in the south and east; and proportionately higher alcohol, safety belts, and speeding driver issues .
• On urban local roads, curves are a concern but not as significant as that found in rural areas; intersections, both signalized and non-signalized are concerns; tree crashes again not as significant as rural areas; pedestrians; and alcohol, safety belts, and speeding but not as significant as rural areas.

In addition, the density of fatalities per 100 miles of local roads is significantly lower than that occurring on state highways, primarily because the traffic volumes are lower. Thus, the emphasis must be placed on low cost, cost effective countermeasures to impact these concerns on a wide scale basis.

The guides being developed under Project 17-18(3) are primarily designed for use by state highway agencies and local highway agencies that have in-house engineering staffs. Several of the guides include a large number of countermeasures, some of which are beyond the scope of activities that easily undertaken by local agencies. There is a need to develop guides in a format, with a limited number of cost effective, low cost strategies, that can readily be used by local highway agencies.


The objective of this project is to develop guidance documents and a plan to assist local highway agencies in reducing injury and fatal crashes on local roads.

STATUS: The project has been completed and the reports can be viewed below:

Volume 1: Guidance for Safety Improvements on Local Roads

Volume 2: Guidance for Safety Management at the Local Level

Attachment Strategy Table Summaries

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