The National Academies

NCHRP 17-113 [Pending]

Incorporating Safe System Approach into the NCHRP Report 500 Series

  Project Data
Funds: $700,000
Contract Time: 24 months
Staff Responsibility: Richard A. Retting


NCHRP Report 500: Guidance for Implementation of the AASHTO Strategic Highway Safety Plan identifies proven, tried, and experimental safety strategies for each of the emphasis areas in the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ (AASHTO’s) original 1998 Strategic Highway Safety Plan. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and state departments of transportation (DOTs) partnered through a pooled fund study to develop reliable estimates of the effectiveness of the safety improvements identified as strategies in the NCHRP Report 500 series.

Information presented in the NCHRP Report 500 series predates the Safe System approach, which is an internationally adopted framework for road safety management that works by building and reinforcing multiple layers of protection to prevent crashes from happening in the first place and minimize the harm caused to those involved when crashes do occur (UN Resolution). An increasing number of localities and states are moving toward a Safe System approach in road planning, design, and operation. To assist transportation owners and operators, FHWA developed a series of guidance documents and associated tools outlining application to the Safe System in the U.S. context (FHWA Brochure). To further support this process, there is an immediate need to provide updated, evidence-based countermeasure information for priority crash types addressed in the NCHRP Report 500 series to reflect the current knowledge base.


The objective of this project is to develop a searchable electronic toolkit that builds on the NCHRP Report 500 series to align with Safe System principles and AASHTO’s current priorities, as well as reflect the most recent research and identify new innovations to help achieve the goal of zero deaths on the nation’s roads. Successful completion of this project will (1) help transportation officials consider a broader list of countermeasures applicable to the majority of crash types; (2) improve the efficiency of countermeasure selection, link to state analysis tools, and enhance usability of the NCHRP Report 500 series; (3) provide access to the most current information; (4) advance implementation of the Safe System approach; and (5) increase practitioner awareness of the NCHRP Report 500 series. 


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. 

Phase I

Task 1. Gather input from stakeholders and review available data on priority crash types for different road contexts (e.g., urban, suburban, rural, high-speed, low-speed) and all categories of road users, as well as stakeholder-desired content and functionality for the toolkit.

Task 2. Propose priorities for developing a toolkit that updates information in the NCHRP Report 500 series to incorporate the Safe System approach and AASHTO’s current priorities for different road contexts and all road users.

Task 3. Propose methods and plans for robust delivery of stakeholder marketing/outreach materials such as webinars and workshops.

Task 4. Propose a framework for the toolkit structure and content; how the toolkit will coordinate and align with other tools (e.g., Crash Modification Factor Clearinghouse) and identify options for web-hosting and long-term maintenance of the toolkit. If a long-term solution for hosting and maintenance cannot be found, the final product will be static, hosted by TRB, and should conform to the same criteria as ACRP Web Resources; see https://www.dropbox.com/s/l4yuuhfj3oqsb5l/WebResource%20Contractors%20Overview%2007-05-2022.pdf?dl=0. 

Task 5. Prepare an Interim Report that summarizes results from Task 1 through 4 and proposes a plan for conducting a Phase II workshop to demonstrate the draft toolkit and collect stakeholder feedback.


Phase II

Task 6. Collect and synthesize information regarding new and innovative countermeasures, current research on safety effectiveness, and other relevant information for priority crash types approved by the panel.

Task 7. Develop draft toolkit by providing information for priority crash types and countermeasures, including considerations for countermeasure selection and implementation, in alignment with the Safe System approach (e.g., human factors, engineering, behavioral, trade-offs between different road users).

Task 8. Conduct a workshop with at least 15 representatives of state DOTs and other stakeholders to demonstrate and collect feedback on the draft toolkit. Revise the draft toolkit and workshop materials taking into account feedback gathered during the workshop.

Task 9. Prepare a final deliverable that documents the entire research effort. Final deliverables should include, at a minimum (1) a final research report documenting the entire research effort and findings; (2) a searchable electronic toolkit; (3) stakeholder marketing/outreach materials; (4) prioritized recommendations for future research; (5) presentation material; and (6) 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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