National Academies Press: OpenBook

Roadway Safety Tools for Local Agencies (2003)

Chapter: SUMMARY

« Previous: Front Matter
Page 1
Suggested Citation:"SUMMARY." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2003. Roadway Safety Tools for Local Agencies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21959.
×
Page 1
Page 2
Suggested Citation:"SUMMARY." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2003. Roadway Safety Tools for Local Agencies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21959.
×
Page 2

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Local governments face significant challenges in implementing road and street safety improve- ments. They are responsible for local roadway networks, which can vary from a few city blocks to thousands of miles of paved, dirt, or gravel roads. Most local governments have substantial resource limitations in terms of financial support and personnel. As a result, many local agencies have not developed safety programs. This synthesis focuses on identifying safety tools that can be used by these agencies in formulating safety programs. It recognizes the wide variation in the parameters of operation and responsibilities of local agencies. Also, it acknowledges that expertise in transportation safety analysis varies widely among local agencies. This synthesis was prepared for easy use by local agencies as they select their safety tools and develop safety programs. In the broad context of the synthesis, “tools” came to be defined as any ideas, practices, procedures, software, activities, or actions beneficial in aiding local agencies to improve the safety of their roadway network. However, these tools cannot reduce crashes if they are not applied. Anything and everything that works was considered for the synthesis. Therefore, a guiding principle of this synthesis was to examine the tools and proce- dures that are practical and relatively easy to apply. The development of this synthesis was based in part on information collected in a series of surveys. State departments of transportation (DOTs), Local Technical Assistance Program centers, local agencies, and professional organizations were contacted and asked to provide information on best safety practice ideas. The safety tools were grouped into reactive and proactive safety tools, and basic and advanced analysis approaches were considered for each group. The individual tools were linked to a series of user-friendly appendixes that provide detailed information on the specific tool, its application, or references to additional documentation. The best practices of reactive crash analysis of state DOTs using Highway Safety Improve- ment Programs (the front-end-loaded identification of safety needs for a given system) are presented. The emerging proactive safety tools of the Road Safety Audit and the Road Safety Audit Review, which assess the issues of safety using an independent team approach, are dis- cussed as tools to structure many of the best practices. Most local agencies do not employ either of these proactive approaches, whereas state DOTs are just beginning to apply these concepts. The overriding message of this synthesis is that safety practices should be tailored to the problems and resources of an agency and that there is no one-size-fits-all safety solution. Emphasis is placed on the use of tools that will give local agencies a practical and affordable toolbox, with a stronger safety program as the result. Achieving buy-in and persuading local authorities to spend time and money directly on safety improvements were the objectives of this synthesis. Large financial commitments and complex analysis are not always necessary. Historically, liability issues have deterred local agencies from systematically identifying safety concerns, because they are fearful that they will be left vulnerable to tort liability simply by acknowledging that safety deficiencies exist on their local roadways. This synthesis emphasizes that the documentation of an agency’s SUMMARY ROADWAY SAFETY TOOLS FOR LOCAL AGENCIES

2safety agenda is a necessary defense against tort liability. It is important to note that many sound safety ideas are implemented at local levels without a specific acknowledgment of a safety program. It is essential to recognize that improving the local crash picture will require an increased effort by both experienced and inexperienced professionals. Providing guidance for the local agency to become a more professional safety organization by applying the best and most appropriate tools to meet its needs is the key. Helping local agencies to implement safety improvement is the goal. The conclusion of the synthesis is that a documented local roadway safety program is “the best safety tool.” Recognizing the need to implement even a rudimentary safety program is the first step. The selection of safety tools to meet the individual local agency’s needs comes next. Developing the selected tools into a continuing program and implementing safety improve- ments are identified as the keys to local roadway safety.

Next: 1 INTRODUCTION »
Roadway Safety Tools for Local Agencies Get This Book
×
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

TRB's National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Synthesis 321: Roadway Safety Tools for Local Agencies examines the safety tools and procedures that are practical and relatively easy to apply, and that can be implemented by agencies with limited financial support and personnel. Recognizing the wide variation in the operations and responsibilities of local agencies, the report acknowledges that the level of expertise in transportation safety analysis also varies greatly.

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!