The National Academies

BTSCRP BTS-06 [Active]

MPO and SHSO Coordination on Behavioral Traffic Safety

  Project Data
Funds: $350,000
Staff Responsibility: William C. Rogers
Research Agency: Cambridge Systematics
Principal Investigator: Nicole Waldheim
Effective Date: 6/17/2019
Completion Date: 2/17/2021
Comments: Research underway.

State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) administer grant funding provided by NHTSA to fund effective behavioral safety countermeasures to reduce collisions. With the introduction of federal requirements for Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to develop safety performance measures and targets, these organizations are increasingly committed to identifying programs, policies, and projects to help meet regional, and ultimately, statewide safety goals. All states have one or more MPOs that are responsible for planning and programming funds in urbanized areas with at least 50,000 people. 
Behavioral traffic safety could be greatly enhanced by increased engagement between SHSOs and MPOs. The latter have a strong understanding of the regional transportation network, the capability to obtain and analyze local crash data, potentially the means and skills to develop transportation safety plans, and connections to local decision makers who can fund and implement investments. Since a large proportion of traffic crashes are caused by human error, progress toward reducing the frequency and severity of traffic crashes can be better accomplished if SHSOs and MPOs initiate steps to work together on regional and local safety needs. Such collaboration could result in better use of local and regional resources and more effectively address behavioral traffic safety issues.
Note: For the purposes of this research, behavioral traffic safety is defined as the study of actions and attitudes of all road users.
The objective of this research is to develop guidance for MPOs and SHSOs to improve coordination on local and regional behavioral safety efforts to reduce the frequency and severity of traffic crashes. The guidance should describe the mutual benefits of enhanced coordination on local and regional traffic safety behavioral issues, introduce best practices, and develop scalable processes and tools to develop a framework for engaging MPOs to work in collaboration with SHSOs.
The guidance should address a broad range of topics related to the objective, such as, but not limited to, the following:

• Describing current SHSO and MPO practices for implementing behavioral traffic safety approaches;
• Identifying challenges for collaboration to meet the project objective;
• Developing case studies that include examples of collaboration and innovation, both national and international;
• Identifying and developing strategies for effective collaboration;
• Identifying and describing the benefits of collaboration between MPOs and SHSOs;
• Developing effectiveness methods and metrics; and
• Developing a toolkit of innovative strategies to facilitate communication between MPOs of various sizes and SHSOs.
Note: Proposers are encouraged to become familiar with the following research: A Guide for Effectively Partnering with State Highway Safety Offices, GHSA, April 2018; NHTSA DOT HS 812 478, Countermeasures That Work: A Highway Safety Countermeasure Guide for State Highway Safety Offices, Ninth Edition, 2017; and NCHRP 08-122, Metropolitan Planning Organizations: Transportation Partnerships for the 21st Century.
The BTSCRP 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 conference call with the research team and BTSCRP shall be scheduled within 1 month of the contract’s execution. The work plan must be divided into two phases as determined by the proposer. Each phase must be organized by task, with each task described in detail. Phase 1 will culminate with the submission of an interim report describing the work completed in the Phase 1 tasks and provide an updated work plan for the Phase 2 tasks, and an outline of the guidance and accompanying toolkit. Work on Phase 2 tasks will not begin until the updated work plan is approved by BTSCRP.
Phase 2 shall consist of the development and submission of the draft final guidance and accompanying toolkit.
The final deliverables, at a minimum, will include: (1) draft guidance for MPOs and SHSOs to improve coordination on local and regional behavioral traffic safety efforts to reduce the frequency and severity of crashes and a toolkit of innovative strategies to facilitate communication between MPOs of various sizes and SHSOs; (2) a final report documenting the entire project and incorporating all other specified deliverable products of the research; (3) an electronic presentation of the guidance that can be tailored for specific audiences and is suitable for training; (4) a short video product to inform practitioners about the guidance and toolkit; (5) recommendations for additional research; and (6) a stand-alone technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products” (see Special Note B for additional information).
STATUS: Research underway.

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