May 2017

Data-Driven Safety Analysis: Adding a Local Focus in EDC-4

By Jerry Roche
      FHWA Office of Safety

By using data-driven safety analysis (DDSA), States were able to achieve great success in the third round of the Every Day Counts (EDC-3) initiative. More than 40 States applied DDSA tools on one or more projects, and the DDSA team is responding to 145 assistance requests from 44 States. FHWA has conducted 7 peer exchanges involving 35 States and has delivered 35 Highway Safety Manual-related training sessions to 26 States, with 14 more currently scheduled.

But there is still work to do. Fortunately, DDSA has been selected to continue in the fourth round of EDC (EDC-4). In EDC-4, the DDSA team will continue to assist States as they incorporate predictive and systemic analysis into their projects, policies, and procedures. Our goal is to see 47 States demonstrate DDSA by the end of round four (December 2018), and we will offer the same level of training and technical assistance that we did under EDC-3 to help them get there.

For this round, we have enhanced our approach and included an additional focus: helping local agencies.

One of our goals is to identify and increase the number of local agencies with local road safety plans. The plans incorporate DDSA approaches and help the agencies identify which sites on their systems have the most potential for improvement; they act as a road map for targeting safety investments.

One of the agencies that has worked closely with its local government partners is the Minnesota Department of Transportation, which created road safety plans for each of the State's 87 counties and even shared funding with the local agencies to help them implement low-cost countermeasures. This effort has the added benefit of allowing the DOT to expand a culture that embraces a systemic approach to safety countermeasures throughout the State's transportation community.

Watch a video about the project.

The DDSA team is also striving to increase the number of local projects incorporating DDSA and raise the percentage of Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funds that are applied to local roads. HSIP is a data-driven program, and DDSA tools can help agencies to quantify the expected safety impact of design decisions so they can generate benefit/cost ratios with confidence and better compete for funding. An example of this is a recently completed effort in Burlington County, New Jersey. County officials, with assistance from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, the New Jersey Department of Transportation, and the FHWA performed a predictive safety analysis for potential intersection improvement alternatives. This support made it possible for the county to acquire HSIP funding to construct a modern roundabout.

View a video of the story. 

Reprinted from FHWA Safety Compass Newsletter, Spring 2017 issue.


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