The National Academies

NCHRP 20-123(17) [Pending]

Highway Safety Manual Development and Roadmap
[ NCHRP 20-123 (Support for AASHTO Committees and Councils) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $150,000
Contract Time: 18 Months
Staff Responsibility: Richard A. Retting


The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Committee on Safety Performance Analysis developed a strategic plan for future editions (SPFE) of the AASHTO Highway Safety Manual (HSM) to document the process of identifying research needs, substantiating funding, tracking research progress, reviewing technical content, and finalizing an adoption process for a new edition of the HSM. Although the SPFE provides overall guidance for development of a new edition, numerous questions and research needs have been identified during the process of developing the second addition of the HSM.

Early plans for HSM implementation and institutionalization, along with support from numerous stakeholders, have helped develop the state of the practice of data-driven safety analysis. Based on transportation professionals’ use of the HSM and other safety analysis guides and resources, there is an immediate need to develop a roadmap for the HSM that will build on lessons learned from the evolution to date of this field (i.e., https://domesticscan.org/scans/16-01-leading-practices-in-the-use-of-the-highway-safety-manual-for-planning-design-and-operations/; https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/hsm/fhwasa16106/; https://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=2974) and will support expansion to a wider range of applications and users. Additionally, the roadmap could help identify the HSM community’s preference for tools and technical content to be included in the next edition of the HSM. 


The objective of this project is to develop an HSM roadmap that will guide content, publication, implementation, and other aspects of the HSM to expand its use throughout the transportation facility lifecycle and to include a wider range of users and facility types.


The research plan should (1) include a kick-off teleconference with the research team and NCHRP convened within 1 month of the contract’s execution; (2) address how the proposer intends to satisfy the project objective; (3) be divided logically into detailed tasks necessary to fulfill the research objective and include appropriate milestones and interim deliverables; and (4) incorporate opportunities for the project panel to review, comment on, and approve milestone deliverables. 

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


Task 1. Collect and synthesize information to inform the development of a roadmap. At a minimum, efforts should include:

  • Identify gaps in knowledge (content and awareness), methods, applications, and transportation industry usage of the HSM that will inform the framework for developing and implementing future editions of the HSM.
  • Identify transportation professionals’ preferences for a longer-term vision of the methods, content, format, supporting tools, and other materials for the HSM.
  • Coordinate with members of committees and panels involved with the development of other publications related to the design and operation of transportation facilities to align content development of future editions of the HSM with those documents.  

Task 2. Propose an annotated outline for content of the HSM roadmap.

Task 3. Prepare an Interim Report that summarizes results from Tasks 1 and 2, refines the Phase II work plan, presents key issues, and recommends priorities to address in future editions of the HSM.



Task 4. Develop a roadmap that, at a minimum, addresses the following elements:

  • Future HSM content, including:
    • Ways to help ensure future research results are compatible with the HSM (e.g., research methodology, study quality);
    • Future research needs to fill HSM gaps identified in Task 1;
    • Guidance for how to conduct future research (e.g., advances in statistical methods and safety analysis methods; ensure that research is pilot tested in other jurisdictions; test new research against work already in the HSM to ensure results are not conflicting or counterintuitive);
    • Expand HSM use throughout the transportation facility lifecycle and to include a wider range of users and facility types;
    • Incorporate the Safe System approach; and
    • Surrogate and nontraditional analyses and performance metrics.
  • Format and structure (e.g., electronic vs. hard copy; publish parts individually or together; multiple versions tailored for practitioners vs. researchers).
  • Future HSM publication considerations (e.g., frequency of updates, timeliness of incorporating new research results).
  • Opportunities for linkages with emerging safety research results.
  • Implementation program (e.g., outreach, training, tools, website content, and other implementation needs).

Task 5. Conduct a stakeholder webinar and revise the draft roadmap based on stakeholder feedback, with emphasis on producing a practical/useable document.

Task 6. Prepare a final deliverable that documents the entire research effort. Final deliverables should include (1) a final research report documenting the entire research effort and findings; (2) HSM roadmap; (3) prioritized recommendations for future research needs; (4) outreach materials, including a PowerPoint presentation, to inform HSM-related stakeholders about the roadmap; and (5) technical memorandum on implementation.


STATUS: Proposals have been received in response to the RFP.  The project panel will meet to select a contractor to perform the work.


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