The National Academies

NCHRP 17-103 [Pending]

A Guide and Toolkit for Strategic Decision-Making to Improve Traffic Safety

  Project Data
Funds: $450,000
Contract Time: 23 months
Staff Responsibility: Mike Brooks
Comments: Pending


NCHRP Research Report 928: Identification of Factors Contributing to the Decline of Traffic Fatalities in the United States from 2008 to 2012 successfully identified major contributors to the decline in fatalities during this period. The report indicated the most significant contributors to the drop in traffic fatalities were the substantial increase in teen and young adult unemployment, decreased alcohol consumption, and reductions in gross domestic product (GDP)/per capita income. Vehicle design improvements also contributed to the decline significantly, as did the decline in rural vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) and increased enforcement of driving while under the influence (DUI) laws. However, in recent years, traffic fatality rates in the United States are increasing compared to the traffic fatality rates reported between 2005 and 2011.

Achieving safety targets will require the use of multiple types of strategies that aim to reduce traffic fatalities because not a single discipline is expected to be able to produce the desired reductions in fatalities and serious injuries. While the effectiveness of many individual strategies has been studied, the effect that a combination of multiple strategies using engineering, enforcement, education, and emergency medical service approaches will have on crashes is not clear. Research is needed to assist practitioners in selecting and implementing multidisciplinary safety strategies and countermeasures to improve traffic safety.


The objective of this project is to develop a guide and toolkit for strategic decision-making to improve traffic safety. The products of this research will provide multidisciplinary strategies and countermeasures for improving serious injury and fatality trends.


The research plan suggested is a three-phased approach and accomplishment of the research objective should require at least the following major tasks.

PHASE I—Planning

  • Review existing literature, including research that has determined relationships between serious injuries and fatalities, contributing factors, and crash types. The review should include traffic laws related to licensing and enforcement practices nationally and internationally. 

  • Identify the data needed to meet project objectives, including but not limited to factors identified in NCHRP Research Report 928.

  • Assess the availability of required data from each state.

  • Evaluate the feasibility of applying previously developed models using updated data.

  • Identify points of the project development process where strategic decisions are made and the types of tools needed to support planning and programming for multidisciplinary safety programs.

  • Synthesize the results of the literature review and data assessment to identify knowledge gaps and contributing factors not considered in previous research.

  • Develop a detailed methodology for conducting the research to be executed in Phase II. The recommended approach should expand on the data analyzed and models developed in NCHRP Research Report 928 as well as in other studies.

  • Develop a preliminary outline of the proposed guide and description of the planned tools to be included in the toolkit.

At the completion of Phase I, the contractor should prepare Interim Report No. 1 that documents the results of Phase I and provides an updated work plan for the remainder of the research. The updated plan must describe the process and rationale for the work proposed for Phases II and III.

PHASE II—Research

  • Explore the relationship of infrastructure improvements, behavioral countermeasures, and safety project/program funding on serious injuries and fatalities.

  • Determine if factors that account for reduced fatality and serious injury trends in some states can be identified and whether programmatic decisions or activities could be applied in other states to help reduce fatalities and serious injuries.

  • Update previously developed models based on additional data available.

  • Develop multidisciplinary strategies to improve traffic safety throughout each phase of the decision-making process.

  • Develop an annotated outline of a guide and detailed description of the planned tools to be included in the toolkit.

At the completion of Phase II, the contractor should prepare Interim Report No. 2 that documents the results of Phase II and provides an updated work plan for the remainder of the research. The updated plan must describe the process and rationale for the work proposed for Phase III.

PHASE III—Development of Final Products

  • Develop a guide and toolkit that will assist practitioners in selecting and implementing multidisciplinary safety strategies, including:

    • A list of countermeasures that work and how they can be applied;

    • Methods for evaluating various multidisciplinary strategies with regard to data and funding available for each state; and

    • Recommended guidelines for programming with consideration of the multidisciplinary approaches that can be taken.

  • After panel approval of the draft guide and toolkit, conduct a workshop for review of the draft guide and toolkit.

  • Revise the draft guide, toolkit, and workshop materials taking into account feedback gathered during the workshop.

At the completion of Phase III, the contractor should prepare and submit final deliverables to NCHRP for review and approval. Final deliverables for this project should include:

  1. A guide and toolkit;

  2. A final report documenting the entire research effort;

  3. A PowerPoint presentation including speaker notes covering efforts conducted under this project suitable for conference presentation and posting on the project website; and

  4. A technical memorandum “Implementation of Research Findings and Products” as a standalone document.


STATUS: A response has been received for this RFP.  The project panel will meet to determine next steps. 

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