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SECTION VI--GUIDANCE FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THE AASHTO STRATEGIC HIGHWAY SAFETY PLAN Purpose of the Model Process The process described in this section is provided as a model rather than a standard. Many users of this guide will already be working within a process established by their agency or working group. It is not suggested that their process be modified to conform to this one. However, the model process may provide a useful checklist. For those not having a standard process to follow, it is recommended that the model process be used to help establish an appropriate one for their initiative. Not all steps in the model process need to be performed at the level of detail indicated in the outlines below. The degree of detail and the amount of work required to complete some of these steps will vary widely, depending upon the situation. It is important to understand that the process being presented here is assumed to be conducted only as a part of a broader, strategic-level safety management process. The details of that process, and its relation to this one, may be found in a companion guide. (The companion guide is a work in progress at this writing. When it is available, it will be posted online at http://transportation1.org/safetyplan.) Overview of the Model Process The process (see Exhibit VI-1, above) must be started at top levels in the lead agency's organization. This would, for example, include the CEO, DOT secretary, or chief engineer, as appropriate. Here, decisions will have been made to focus the agency's attention and resources on specific safety problems based upon the particular conditions and characteristics of the organization's roadway system. This is usually, but not always, documented as a result of the strategic-level process mentioned above. It often is publicized in the form of a "highway safety plan." Examples of what states produce include Wisconsin DOT's Strategic Highway Safety Plan (see Appendix A) and Iowa's Safety Plan (available at http://www. iowasms.org/reports/toolbox.htm). Once a "high-level" decision has been made to proceed with a particular emphasis area, the first step is to describe, in as much detail as possible, the problem that has been identified in the high-level analysis. The additional detail helps confirm to management that the problem identified in the strategic-level analysis is real and significant and that it is possible to do something about it. The added detail that this step provides to the understanding of the problem will also play an important part in identifying alternative approaches for dealing with it. Step 1 should produce endorsement and commitments from management to proceed, at least through a planning process. With such an endorsement, it is then necessary to identify the stakeholders and define their role in the effort (Step 2). It is important at this step to identify a range of participants in the process who will be able to help formulate a comprehensive approach to the problem. The group will want to consider how it can draw upon potential actions directed at · Driver behavior (legislation, enforcement, education, and licensing), · Engineering, VI-2
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SECTION VI--GUIDANCE FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THE AASHTO STRATEGIC HIGHWAY SAFETY PLAN · Emergency medical systems, and · System management. With the establishment of a working group, it is then possible to finalize an understanding of the nature and limitations of what needs to be done in the form of a set of program policies, guidelines, and specifications (Steps 3 and 4). An important aspect of this is establishing targets for crash reduction in the particular emphasis area (Step 3). Identifying stakeholders, defining their roles, and forming guidelines and policies are all elements of what is often referred to as "chartering the team." In many cases, and in particular where only one or two agencies are to be involved and the issues are not complex, it may be possible to complete Steps 1 through 4 concurrently. Having received management endorsement and chartered a project team--the foundation for the work--it is now possible to proceed with project planning. The first step in this phase (Step 5 in the overall process) is to identify alternative strategies for addressing the safety problems that have been identified while remaining faithful to the conditions established in Steps 2 through 4. With the alternative strategies sufficiently defined, they must be evaluated against one another (Step 6) and as groups of compatible strategies (i.e., a total program). The results of the evaluation will form the recommended plan. The plan is normally submitted to the appropriate levels of management for review and input, resulting ultimately in a decision on whether and how to proceed (Step 7). Once the working group has been given approval to proceed, along with any further guidelines that may have come from management, the group can develop a detailed plan of action (Step 8). This is sometimes referred to as an "implementation" or "business" plan. Plan implementation is covered in Steps 9 and 10. There often are underlying activities that must take place prior to implementing the action plan to form a foundation for what needs to be done (Step 9). This usually involves creating the organizational, operational, and physical infrastructure needed to succeed. The major step (Step 10) in this process involves doing what was planned. This step will in most cases require the greatest resource commitment of the agency. An important aspect of implementation involves maintaining appropriate records of costs and effectiveness to allow the plan to be evaluated after-the-fact. Evaluating the program, after it is underway, is an important activity that is often overlooked. Management has the right to require information about costs, resources, and effectiveness. It is also likely that management will request that the development team provide recommendations about whether the program should be continued and, if so, what revisions should be made. Note that management will be deciding on the future for any single emphasis area in the context of the entire range of possible uses of the agency's resources. Step 11 involves activities that will give the desired information to management for each emphasis area. To summarize, the implementation of a program of strategies for an emphasis area can be characterized as an 11-step process. The steps in the process correspond closely to a 4-phase approach commonly followed by many transportation agencies: VI-3
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SECTION VI--GUIDANCE FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THE AASHTO STRATEGIC HIGHWAY SAFETY PLAN · Endorsement and chartering of the team and project (Steps 1 through 4), · Project planning (Steps 5 through 8), · Plan implementation (Steps 9 and 10), and · Plan evaluation (Step 11). Details about each step follow. The Web-based version of this description is accompanied by a set of supplementary material to enhance and illustrate the points. The model process is intended to provide a framework for those who need it. It is not intended to be a how-to manual. There are other documents that provide extensive detail regarding how to conduct this type of process. Some general ones are covered in Appendix B and Appendix C. Others, which relate to specific aspects of the process, are referenced within the specific sections to which they apply. VI-4