July 2017

Local Road Safety Plans – A Proven Safety Countermeasure

FHWA is developing LRSPs for 7 counties.


Federal Highway Administration Initiatives

The Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Office of Safety has been encouraging State Departments of Transportation (DOT), local and tribal agencies to develop safety plans for local and tribal roadways. The State’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) can assist local practitioners in addressing safety on local roads but a locally-focused plan is often needed to address the unique conditions in each community.

Local road practitioners across the country play a critical role in addressing crash risks at the local level. They may be able to identify the specific or unique conditions that contribute to crashes in their jurisdictions which result in people losing their lives and sustaining serious injuries.

FHWA is currently pursuing several LRSP initiatives to assist local agencies:

Development of LRSPs for seven counties in seven different states through technical assistance. The first two – Barron County, Wisconsin, and Palm Beach County, Forida – are in their final stages of development. These plans are being developed based on a systemic safety approach, which focuses on high-risk roadway features correlated with specific severe crash types. However, parallel to this project, a United States Road Assessment Program (usRAP) analysis, which based on star ratings for roadway segments, is being conducted. When completed, lessons learned from each process can be used as a guide for others embarking on developing their own safety plans. The next three plans are poised to begin before the end of the summer and the last two will begin soon thereafter.

The FHWA Everyday Counts (EDC 4) Data Driven Safety Analysis Initiative, which aims to help agencies use tools to target investments with more confidence and reduce severe crashes on the roadways, has a local road focus. Several LRSP efforts are poised for implementation. These include in-state LRSP peer exchanges to assist local agencies in the implementation of the safety plans and streamlined processes for LRSP development highlighting plan development models that have proven successful and can be adopted by interested agencies.

Many states (DOT) have embarked on a comprehensive approach to support the development of LRSPs whereas in other states the local agencies are taking the initiative to develop their own plans and have experienced positive changes in their road safety programs resulting in improvement in safety on the roadways.

According to Mark Servi, County Highway Commissioner, Barron County, Wisconsin, – “We were fortunate to partner with FHWA on the analysis of our system in developing a Local Road Safety Plan. Our system has limited accident hot spots, but many locations that share similar concerns. We anticipate that the recommended countermeasures will provide improved safety on our system by targeting similar conditions at multiple locations. We hope to use the plan as both a road map to improved safety and as a means to access funding for the needed improvements.”


With the passage of the transportation legislation in 2005, Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), Safety was established as a new core funding program through the new Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP). Subsequent transportation legislation since SAFETEA-LU has built upon this provision. The HSIP is structured and funded to make significant progress in reducing highway fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads and requires states to develop a Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP), focusing on results.

The SHSPs are statewide-coordinated safety plans that provide a comprehensive data-driven framework for reducing highway fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads. Local Road Safety Plans (LRSP) are based on the same concept as the state SHSPs but focus on locally-owned roads. A Local Road Safety Plan (LRSP) offers a foundation for consensus and focus. It defines key emphasis areas and strategies that impact local roads and provides a way forward to save lives in local communities.


Various organizations and agencies may be able to assist in the creation of an LRSP – Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) Center; Regional Planning Organization; State DOT. Additionally, FHWA Office of Safety developed Developing Safety Plans: A Manual for Local Road Owners, an easy to read step by step guide to developing LRSPs with templates, tables and additional resources.

Download the manual.

Hard copies are also available.

For additional information on FHWA initiatives contact:

Rosemarie Anderson at [email protected]
Local & Rural Roads Program Manager
FHWA Office of Safety


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