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192 C H A P T E R 1 0 Implementation Plan NCHRP serves as a forum for coordinated and collaborative highway research of national importance. The focus of NCHRP is applied research to provide practical, ready-to-implement solutions for state DOTs and transportation professionals at all levels of government and the private sector. While the results of NCHRP research can help to advance the state-of-the-practice and address national priorities, the benefits of NCHRP research are realized only when the results are implemented. In addition to the final NCHRP research report and presentation to the project Panel, there is a need for continued efforts to disseminate the guidance and facilitate broad implementation of the results. This chapter identifies and describes the critical steps, action items, and champions to disseminate and implement the research results in practice. The chapter is divided into three sections: dissemination, implementation, and evaluation. Dissemination The following questions will help to guide the dissemination of research results: ï· Who is the target audience? ï· What will be disseminated to the target audience? ï· Who will disseminate the guidance and other products to the target audience? ï· How will the information be disseminated to the target audience? Who is the Target Audience? The target audience includes all agencies and decision-makers responsible for access management as well as those responsible for conducting analysis in support of access management decisions. What will be Disseminated to the Target Audience? The primary product of this research is a standalone guidance document to assist highway agencies in quantifying the safety effects of access management strategies at various levels of implementation. This includes guidance that may be used to identify and apply CMFs from the Highway Safety Manual (1st Edition) and CMF Clearinghouse as well as CMFs developed as part of this research. A secondary product is a final research report for those interested in learning more about the data collection process and analysis method. Who will Disseminate the Guidance and Other Products to the Target Audience? Potential champions to help disseminate and promote the guidance include TRB, AASHTO, FHWA, State DOTs individually and through AASHTO, NCHRP Project 17-74 Panel, and private groups that promote safety (e.g., AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and ITE). The following are specific AASHTO and TRB committees that can provide leadership for the dissemination of the results: ï· AASHTO Standing Committee on Safety,
193 ï· AASHTO Standing Committee on Planning, ï· AASHTO Standing Committee on Design, ï· AASHTO Standing Committee on Traffic Engineering, ï· TRB Standing Committee on Access Management (ACP60), ï· TRB Standing Committee on Transportation Safety Management Systems (ACS10), ï· TRB Standing Committee on Safety Performance Analysis (ACS20), ï· TRB Standing Committee on Performance Effects of Geometric Design (AKD10), and ï· TRB Standing Committee on Roundabouts and other Intersection Design and Control Strategies (AKD80). How will the Information be Disseminated to the Target Audience? There are opportunities to disseminate the information through presentations, print media (e.g., flyers), and electronic media (e.g., e-newsletters). Potential venues to deliver presentations and distribute print media include the AASHTO Spring Meeting and committee and subcommittee meetings, TRB annual and midyear committee meetings, and ITE Annual Meeting or Technical Conference. Potential electronic media outlets include TRB e-newsletter, TRB webinar, AASHTO Journal, and transportation-related websites (e.g., FHWA Office of Safety). Potential print media outlets include Transportation Research Record, ITE Journal, FHWAâs Public Roads, or TR News. AASHTO and other organizations and agencies facilitate the implementation of research results through updates to their standards and manuals (e.g., the Highway Safety Manual). While the above venues and media outlets provide an opportunity to inform the target audience of the availability of the guidance and research results, updates to manuals, policies, procedures, and guidelines will help to formalize the implementation of results in practice. The research results could be integrated into future updates/editions of the AASHTO Highway Safety Manual, TRB Access Management Manual, TRB Access Management Application Guidelines, National Highway Institute Access Management Training Course, and state/local access management policies. Future editions of the AASHTO Highway Safety Manual present a key opportunity to implement the research results. While this project will not be complete in time to integrate all of the results in the Highway Safety Manual (2nd Edition), there may be opportunities to integrate some of the results in the near term. For example, the CMFs resulting from this project may be included in FHWAâs CMF Clearinghouse, which will serve as the source of all CMFs for the Highway Safety Manual (2nd Edition) (i.e., no CMFs in Part D). Future editions could incorporate the multiple variable SPFs in Chapter 16: Special Facilities and Geometric Situations, or Chapter 17: Road Networks. These models support corridor-level crash prediction applications. Implementation For successful implementation, the target audience must accept the research results and implement them in practice, including decisions related to driveway permit applications and highway improvement projects. The following are potential challenges to implementation: ï· Lack of awareness of the research products, ï· Uncertainly of the value of the research, ï· Lack of confidence in the research results, and ï· Misunderstanding of how to apply the results in practice. To facilitate implementation, we have identified the following opportunities to overcome these challenges.
194 Lack of Awareness of the Research Products The project team developed and delivered presentations during the project as the first step to raising awareness of the research results and products. Current venues included TRB annual and midyear committee meetings (both access management and highway safety performance committees). Potential future venues to deliver presentations and distribute print media include AASHTO committee and subcommittee meetings, TRB annual and midyear committee meetings, and ITE Annual Meeting or Technical Conference. The activities described in the previous section of this implementation plan will be a critical component of raising awareness. To support implementation and guide the dissemination of results, the project team developed a PowerPoint presentation. As there may be multiple champions promoting the guidance, the speaker notes include key messages and talking points to ensure a consistent voice. To further market the guide and related research, it would be useful to develop a one-page infographic that explains what the guide is and how it can be used for safety and access management analysis/decision making. Uncertainly of the Value of the Research Demonstrating the value of research can be difficult. The primary benefit of the guidance will be a means to quantify the safety impacts of access management decisions. While the guidance will include examples to demonstrate the application of the method, there will likely be skeptics. To appease the skeptics, and further demonstrate the value of the research, it may be useful to develop case studies based on early adopters. The case studies could describe an agencyâs traditional approach to making access management decisions and then demonstrate how the agency employed the results of this research to enhance its traditional approach. It may be appropriate to utilize NCHRP Implementation Funding Assistance to provide technical assistance to an early adopter and then develop a case study report. FHWA has also developed a technical summary of the safety benefits of corridor access management that will help to promote this type of analysis. Lack of Confidence in the Research Results The project team collaborated with the Panel to employ reliable, state-of-the-art methods in developing the crash prediction models and crash modification factors. This helps to ensure the results will be acceptable, defensible, and useful to practitioners. We have presented the goodness-of-fit measures and other indicators of the reliability of the results to help readers judge the quality of the research. Beyond the soundness of the methods and the indication of objective measures of quality, it may be useful to develop case studies based on early adopters as described in the previous challenge. Further, we will document potential limitations of the research and additional research needs. Misunderstanding of How to Apply the Results in Practice To overcome potential usability issues, the project team engaged a focus group comprised of the target audience, including both access management and highway safety professionals. This helped to ensure the guidance is practical and user-friendly. We also developed several examples to demonstrate the application of the methods. As a follow-on effort to NCHRP Project 17-74, there is an opportunity to develop a companion tool (e.g., spreadsheet-based tool or simple web-based application) to implement the methods. The tool would help users select and apply an appropriate equation(s) based on the strategy(ies) of interest. The tool could be similar to the simple spreadsheet tools that support implementation of the Highway Safety Manual (1st
195 Edition) or could be web-based and more interactive such as the access management Corridor Visualization Tool. Evaluation The primary criterion for judging progress in implementation of the results will be the extent to which agencies are using the guidance to understand the safety impacts of access management strategies, and then using this information to make decisions or inform decision-makers. This criterion may be difficult to measure, but interviews or surveys could be conducted to determine awareness and application of the guidance document. Other measures related to dissemination can serve as a surrogate, including the number of related outreach activities (e.g., number of presentations delivered, number of articles published), and the number of guidance documents and NCHRP reports distributed or downloaded.