The National Academies

NCHRP 17-86 [Active]

Estimating Effectiveness of Safety Treatments in the Absence of Crash Data

  Project Data
Funds: $600,000
Staff Responsibility: David M. Jared
Research Agency: Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Richard Porter
Effective Date: 10/22/2018
Completion Date: 1/22/2022


Crash modification factors (CMFs) and functions are developed from historic crash data and help safety professionals estimate the expected safety impacts of specific roadway treatments. There has been a significant amount of research to develop CMFs for common safety strategies and many are included in the AASHTO Highway Safety Manual (HSM) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) CMF Clearinghouse. However, there are many instances in which developing reliable CMFs with conventional crash-based evaluations may not be practical or possible. For example, using crash data to evaluate innovative intersection designs or new traffic control strategies requires multiple years of data collection to accumulate a sufficient number of installations and crash history. Additionally, countermeasures that improve safety for crash types such as bicycle, pedestrian or other vulnerable road user crashes, are often lacking in quality CMFs because crash data is limited or not available. Research is needed to develop and apply new methods for developing CMFs or other quantifiable measures of safety for these cases, such as conflicts, speed changes, and lane deviations.


The objective of this project is to develop a procedural guide for using alternative measures of safety in the absence of crash data for developing crash modification factors and functions and other quantifiable measures in the absence of crash data.

The new measures will be evaluated against established crash-based measures. In addition, it is expected that the new measures of safety developed will span a range of site conditions, crash types and severity.

The procedural guide will support informed decision making during project planning, project development, and other road safety management activities and will also include several use case studies.


The NCHRP is seeking the insights of proposers on how best to achieve the research objective. Proposers are expected to describe research plans that can realistically be accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time. Proposals must present the proposers' current thinking in sufficient detail to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the soundness of their approach to meeting the research objective.

A kick-off web-conference call with the research team and NCHRP shall be scheduled within 1 month of the contract’s execution. The research plan proposed must be divided into tasks, with each task described in detail. The research plan must be divided into two phases. Phase 1 will consist of information gathering and planning tasks culminating in the submittal of an interim report. The interim report will describe the work completed in the Phase 1 tasks and provide an updated research plan for the Phase 2 tasks as well as an outline of the procedural guidance.

Phase 1
At a minimum, activities in Phase 1 will include the following:

  1. Conduct a comprehensive literature review on the use of alternative measures for safety assessments;
  2. Identify safety treatments that do not have a CMF or have a low rated CMF, and for each identified treatment of interest, establish a set of applicable alternative safety measuresincluding potential advantages and disadvantages of each alternative measure of safety as compared to crash frequency and severity;
  3. Prepare a detailed work plan for Phase 2 that describes research to address information or data gaps, development and evaluation of alternative measures of safety, and development of the procedural guide.
  4. Develop an outline or framework of the procedural guidance and use cases.

At the completion of Phase 1, a face-to-face meeting with NCHRP will be scheduled to discuss the interim report.

Phase 2
The updated Phase 2 research plan should address the manner in which the proposer intends to use the information obtained in Phase 1 to satisfy the project objective. Work on Phase 2 tasks will not begin until the updated research plan is approved by NCHRP. The project schedule shall include 1 month for NCHRP review and approval of the interim report.

The final deliverables will include, but not be limited to:

  1. The procedural guidance. The guidance document should include crash modification factors and functions and other quantifiable measures that can be incorporated in a future edition of the AASHTO Highway Safety Manual.
  2. A final report documenting the entire project and incorporating all other specified deliverable products of the research.
  3. An executive summary that outlines the research results.
  4. A PowerPoint presentation with speaker notes describing the project background, objective, research methods, findings, and conclusions suitable for use in a webinar.
  5. A stand-alone memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products” (see Special Note E for additional information).

Note: The research plan may include additional deliverables as well as additional panel meetings via web-conferences. All web-conference calls will be hosted by NCHRP.

Note: For the identification of the most needed CMFs, researchers should coordinate with NCHRP Project 17-72: “Update of Crash Modification Factors for the Highway Safety Manual,” results of the ongoing PRACT Project (Predicting Road Accidents – a Transferrable Methodology across Europe; www.practproject.eu), and other current and ongoing related activities to avoid duplication of effort.

Note: The research plan shall include a schedule for completion of the research that includes 1 month for NCHRP panel review of the interim report. Following receipt of the draft final deliverables, the remaining 3 months shall be for NCHRP panel review and comment and for research agency preparation of the final deliverables.


A. The Research Plan, Item 4 of the proposal, shall be limited to no more than 15 pages.

B. The research team should have experience with AASHTO design guidance development and writing. This also includes a working relationship or familiarity with the AASHTO Committee on Safety and the TRB Highway Safety Performance Committee (ANB25).

C. During the development of the first edition of the HSM, and continuing since its publication, the AASHTO Committee on Safety and the ANB25 Standing Committee on Highway Safety Performance have had a unique relationship that results in significant collaboration and communication on materials related to the HSM, including development of materials intended for inclusion in future editions of the HSM. When a new chapter or other material is complete or nearly complete, the TRB committee reviews materials and provides a recommendation to the AASHTO Committee on Safety’s Task Group on Technical Publications Oversight and Outreach; this is a key factor in the Task Group's recommendation to the Committee on Safety regarding readiness for balloting and therefore publication by AASHTO. The research team should anticipate making a total of at least two presentations, one during the Annual Meeting of Committee on Safety and one during the mid-year meeting of ANB25. While the NCHRP panel is overseeing the project, it is recognized that these two groups can provide valuable input where appropriate and are important stakeholders in the effort. This should be accounted for in the budget.

D. Proposals should include a task-by-task breakdown of labor hours for each staff member as shown in Figure 4 in the brochure, "Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals" (http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/crp/docs/ProposalPrep.pdf). Proposals also should include a breakdown of all costs (e.g., wages, indirect costs, travel, materials, and total) for each task using Figures 5 and 6 in the brochure. Please note that TRB Cooperative Research Program subawards (selected proposers are considered subawards to the National Academy of Sciences, the parent organization of TRB) must comply with 2 CFR 200 – Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. These requirements include a provision that proposers without a "federally" Negotiated Indirect Costs Rate Agreement (NICRA) shall be subject to a maximum allowable indirect rate of 10% of Modified Total Direct Costs. Modified Total Direct Costs include all salaries and wages, applicable fringe benefits, materials and supplies, services, travel, and up to the first $25,000 of each lower-tier subaward and subcontract. Modified Total Direct Costs exclude equipment, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, rental costs, tuition remission, scholarships and fellowships, participant support costs and the portion of each lower-tier subaward and subcontract in excess of $25,000.

E. The NCHRP is a practical, applied research program that produces implementable products addressing problems faced by transportation practitioners and managers. The benefits of NCHRP research are realized only when the results are implemented in state DOTs and other agencies. Implementation of the research product must be considered throughout the process, from problem statement development to research contract and beyond completion of the research. Item 4(c), "Anticipated Research Results," must include the following: (a) the "product" expected from the research, (b) the audience or "market" for this product, (c) a realistic assessment of impediments to successful implementation, and (d) the institutions and individuals who might take leadership in deploying the research product. The project panel will develop and maintain an implementation plan throughout the life of the project. The research team will be expected to provide input to an implementation team consisting of panel members, AASHTO committee members, the NCHRP Implementation Coordinator, and others in order to meet the goals of NCHRP Active Implementation: Moving Research into Practice, available at http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/docs/NCHRP_ActiveImplementation.pdf.

F. Item 5 in the proposal, "Qualifications of the Research Team," must include a section labeled "Disclosure." Information relevant to the NCHRP's need to ensure objectivity and to be aware of possible sources of significant financial or organizational conflict of interest in conducting the research must be presented in this section of the proposal. For example, under certain conditions, ownership of the proposing agency, other organizational relationships, or proprietary rights and interests could be perceived as jeopardizing an objective approach to the research effort, and proposers are asked to disclose any such circumstances and to explain how they will be accounted for in this study. If there are no issues related to objectivity, this should be stated.

G. Proposals are evaluated by the NCHRP staff and project panels consisting of individuals collectively very knowledgeable in the problem area. Selection of an agency is made by the project panel considering the following factors: (1) the proposer's demonstrated understanding of the problem; (2) the merit of the proposed research approach and experiment design; (3) the experience, qualifications, and objectivity of the research team in the same or closely related problem area; (4) the plan for ensuring application of results; (5) the proposer's plan for participation by Disadvantaged Business Enterprises--small firms owned and controlled by minorities or women; and (6) the adequacy of the facilities.

Note: The proposer's plan for participation by Disadvantaged Business Enterprises should be incorporated in Item 12 of the proposal.

H. Copyrights - All data, written materials, computer software, graphic and photographic images, and other information prepared under the contract and the copyrights therein shall be owned by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The contractor and subcontractors will be able to publish this material for non-commercial purposes, for internal use, or to further academic research or studies with permission from TRB Cooperative Research Programs. The contractor and subcontractors will not be allowed to sell the project material without prior approval by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. By signing a contract with the National Academy of Sciences, contractors accept legal responsibility for any copyright infringement that may exist in work done for TRB. Contractors are therefore responsible for obtaining all necessary permissions for use of copyrighted material in TRB's Cooperative Research Programs publications. For guidance on TRB's policies on using copyrighted material please consult Section 5.4, "Use of Copyrighted Material," in the Procedural Manual for Contractors.

Research in progress.


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