Rural Transportation Safety and the Strategic Highway Safety Plan: An Examination of Select State Programs and Practices


Alec More, Lee Munnich

February 2008

Report no. CTS 08-02

This first in a series of Center for Excellence in Rural Safety (CERS) research summaries examines the current state of safety planning through interviews and a comprehensive review of the newly mandated strategic highway safety plans (SHSPs) and supporting documents from six states representing different U.S. regions: Alabama, Idaho, Maryland, Minnesota, Vermont, and Washington. The researchers took several steps to develop a knowledge base of existing conditions pertaining to safety planning in the six states.

During the analysis, five key themes emerged: 1. A focus on changing driver behavior; 2. The importance of state-level public policy and political leadership; 3. The use of emerging technologies; 4. The importance of sustained, collaborative approaches; and 5. The use of measurement-driven approaches, which rely on enhanced data collection and new interpretive methodologies.

In addition to these findings, case studies of each state provide a synopsis of certain aspects of their SHSPs. Recommendations concerning the SHSP development process and emphasis areas include: strengthening public engagement activities and initiatives to communicate the importance of roadway safety, reviewing the development structure and safety stakeholders involved, and continuing integration across agencies contributing to safety.

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