The National Academies

NCHRP Synthesis 20-05/Topic 52-08 [Final (Synthesis)]

Practices for Balancing Safety Investments in a Comprehensive Safety Program
[ NCHRP 20-05 (Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $45,000
Authorization to Begin Work: 5/1/2020 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Leslie C. Harwood
Research Agency: VHB
Principal Investigator: Frank Gross
Completion Date: 9/23/2021
Comments: Published as NCHRP Synthesis Report 592.
Fiscal Year: 2021

Final Scope
Most state departments of transportation (DOTs) use at least a portion of their Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funds on systemic safety improvement projects. However, DOTs continue to be challenged in determining how to prioritize projects and allocate funding across the various improvement types (i.e., spot, systemic, and systematic) to maximize safety benefits within their limited safety budgets. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides guidance to help DOTs determine the appropriate balance of investments between the different project types. Some DOTs choose investments based on a benefit-cost analysis (e.g. benefit-cost ratio), while others have challenges applying benefit-cost analysis procedures for systemic safety improvement projects. In these cases, DOTs may set aside a portion of their safety funds for systemic or systematic projects.
The objective of this synthesis is to document current DOT practices of identifying, prioritizing, and evaluating HSIP projects.
Information gathered should include (but is not limited to):
·         How states distinguish systemic vs. spot vs. systematic safety improvements
·         Current state of the practice of identifying, prioritizing, and evaluating projects (e.g. use of benefit-cost analysis for systemic projects, HSM tools)
·         How HSIP funding is allocated across the various improvement types (i.e. spot, systemic, systematic)
·         Any agency documentation for HSIP guidance
Information will be collected through literature review, a survey of DOTs, and follow-up interviews with selected agencies for the development of case examples. Information gaps and suggestions for research to address those gaps will be identified.
Information Sources (Partial):
·         National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2010). Alternate Strategies for Safety Improvement Investments. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press. https://nap.edu/14373.
·         State Highway Safety Improvement Program Reports. https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/hsip/reports/.
·         FHWA. (2013). Systemic Safety Project Selection Tool. https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/systemic/fhwasa13019/sspst.pdf.
·         FHWA. (2016). Reliability of Safety Management Methods: Systemic Safety Programs. https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/rsdp/downloads/fhwasa16041.pdf.


Topic Panel
Dennis Emidy, Maine Department of Transportation
Matthew Enders, Washington State Department of Transportation
Michelle Howes, North Carolina Department of Transportation
Kohinoor Kar, Arizona Department of Transportation
Heidi Spangler, Michigan Department of Transportation
Karen Scurry, Federal Highway Administration

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