The National Academies

NCHRP 17-36 [Completed]

Production of the First Edition of the Highway Safety Manual

  Project Data
Funds: $1,067,034
Research Agency: Kittelson & Associates
Principal Investigator: John D. Zegeer
Effective Date: 6/19/2006
Completion Date: 2/28/2010


An extensive and ground-breaking initiative is underway to develop a Highway Safety Manual (HSM). Development of the HSM was initiated by a Transportation Research Board Joint Subcommittee (now Task Force) and supported by 6 NCHRP projects totaling more than $3 million.

The HSM will focus on knowledge and tools relevant to the safety profession and will quantify the safety effects of decisions in planning, design, operations, and maintenance. It will serve a role for safety analysis similar to that which the Highway Capacity Manual (HCM) serves for traffic operational analysis.

The HSM will target practitioners on the front-line of daily decision making within state highway agencies, as well as local organizations such as municipal agencies and Metropolitan Planning Organizations.

Several steps in the development of the HSM are completed, or under way, including the following:
    • NCHRP Project 17-18(4), which developed an annotated outline, a prototype chapter on rural two-lane highways (Part III, Chapter 8), and a work plan for the first edition of the HSM.
    • NCHRP Project 17-26 (Completion Date 10/31/05), which is developing a quantitative safety prediction methodology and drafting the HSM chapter on urban and suburban arterials (Part III, Chapter 9).
    • NCHRP Project 17-27 (Completion Date 5/13/06), which is developing a first draft of HSM Part I (Introduction) and HSM Part II (Knowledge).
    • NCHRP Project 17-29 (Completion Date 6/30/06), which is developing a quantitative safety prediction methodology and drafting the HSM chapter on rural multilane highways (Part III, Chapter 10).
    • NCHRP Project 17-34 (Completion Date 9/16/06), which is developing a first draft of HSM Part IV (Safety Management of a Roadway System) and Part V (Safety Evaluation).

The projects identified above will produce drafts of most of the material needed for the first edition of the HSM, but a key effort is needed to combine all of these materials into a comprehensive and consistent document and to provide complementary materials for other media, such as CD-ROM, DVD, or another electronic format.


The objective of this project is to prepare the first edition of the HSM in a form ready for publication in both printed and electronic format.

Accomplishment of the project objective will require at least the following tasks.

TASKS (1.) Review the TRB Task Force's "Guidance for the Preparation of Chapters for the Highway Safety Manual" and other guidance that may be adopted by the Task Force . (2.) Coordinate and compile the HSM materials developed in NCHRP Projects 17-18(4), 17-26, 17-27, 17-29, and 17-34 and integrate these documents into a comprehensive preliminary draft of the first edition HSM, following the annotated outline as approved and updated by the TRB Task Force.
Format the comprehensive document according to the guidance specified by the HSM Task Force. (3.) Assess and recommend a state-of-the-art multimedia product delivery format appropriate for the HSM. (4.) Identify the following issues as they appear in various chapters of the preliminary draft HSM and provide recommendations for resolving them:
    • Content gaps (this refers not to knowledge or research gaps, but to places where the information or logical structure already included in the text of the constituent NCHRP projects seems incomplete;
    • Content redundancies (undesirable duplication of content or concepts);
    • Technical, stylistic, and formatting inconsistencies; and
    • Needs for cross-referencing among chapters.

(5.) Prepare and/or update computational examples that illustrate the intended application of each HSM methodology. Incorporate these examples in the preliminary draft HSM. (6.) Submit an interim report including the deliverables listed in the tasks above, and a sample subsection from each of the five parts that illustrates corrections, writing style, and general presentation. (7. )Meet in Washington, D.C. with the NCHRP panel to review the Task 6 interim report approximately 2 months after its submittal. Submit a detailed memorandum documenting decisions made at the interim report meeting. (8.) Based on the guidance provided by the NCHRP panel, prepare and submit a comprehensive second draft of the HSM. Propose specific "marketing" activities to be carried out during this project, based on the marketing plan developed by the HSM Task Force to make potential users aware of the plans for the first edition HSM. (9.) Conduct the marketing activities approved by the NCHRP. Use these marketing activities to create a two-way communication process to obtain guidance from potential HSM users on how the HSM can best meet their needs. Make revisions to the second draft HSM, as appropriate, to best serve the needs of potential users. (10.) Submit a comprehensive third draft HSM after consideration of the comments from the NCHRP panel, the HSM Task Force, and potential users (Task 9). (11.) Meet in Washington, D.C. with the NCHRP panel to review the third draft of the HSM approximately 1 month after submittal. (12.) Complete and submit the draft final report, including the fourth draft of the HSM in a format suitable for publication and in the electronic media approved in Task 7.

Status: The project is completed and the HSM has been published by AASHTO. 

Product Availability: Research Results Digest 329, "Highway Safety Manual Data Needs Guide."  AASHTO Publication: "Highway Safety Manual"

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