The National Academies

NCHRP Synthesis 20-05/Topic 54-03 [New]

DOT Practices on Road Safety Audits
[ NCHRP 20-05 (Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $55,000
Authorization to Begin Work: 4/29/2022 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Trey Joseph Wadsworth
Fiscal Year: 2023

Preliminary Scope

A Road Safety Audit (RSA) is a proactive and formal safety performance examination of an existing or future road or intersection by an independent, multidisciplinary team. It qualitatively estimates and reports on potential road safety issues and identifies opportunities for improvements in safety for all road users. RSAs were introduced in the United States in 1997 following a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)-sponsored scanning tour of Australia and New Zealand investigating safety management systems in 1996. NCHRP completed Report 336: Road Safety Audits in 2004. The report found that seven state departments of transportation (DOTs) were using RSAs in their safety programs. Since then, DOTs have been developing their resources, procedures, and practices for RSAs; information is scattered, and new considerations have emerged for conducting RSAs. They may include but are not limited to active transportation and micro-mobility growth.

The objective of this synthesis is to document state DOT current practices related to RSAs.


Information to be gathered includes (but is not limited to):  

·       Frequency, quantity, and the purpose of DOT RSAs;

·       Contexts for where RSAs are conducted (rural, urban, corridors, intersections, and interchanges);
·       Growth, decline, or non-use of RSAs;
·       Changes in RSA processes, reporting, or focus (e.g., speed management/target speed and vulnerable road users);
·       Role of RSAs in DOT highway safety programs or other implementation mechanisms;
·       Supporting materials developed by DOTs such as manuals, checklists, or procedures;
·       Consideration of active transportation, micro-mobility, equity, and new technologies (e.g., LED lighting’s widespread adoption since 2003); and
·       Research gaps related to RSAs.
Information will be gathered through a literature review, a survey of state 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):
·       Federal Highway Administration Office of Safety Programs. Road Safety Audits. https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/rsa/.
·       National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2004. Road Safety Audits. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/23343.

TRB Staff
Trey Joseph Wadsworth
Phone: 202-334-2307
Email: twadsworth@nas.edu  
Meeting Dates
First Panel: September 14, 2022
Teleconference with Consultant: TBD
Second Panel: June 7, 2023

Topic Panel
Md Atiquzzaman, Virginia Department of Transportation
Dr. Joseph D. Crabtree, Kentucky Transportation Center
Michelle Deng, Massachusetts Department of Transportation
Margaret Gibbs, Insurance Corporation of British Columbia
Khalid Jamil, Texas Department of Transportation
Kevin Murphy, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission
Dr. Ida van Schalkwyk, Washington State Department of Transportation
Rebecca Crowe, Federal Highway Administration Liaison
Bernardo Kleiner, Transportation Research Board Liaison

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