Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas

While rural areas account for about 30% of the total miles traveled and only 19% of the population lives in rural areas, half of all traffic fatalities occur in rural areas (Traffic Safety Facts. Report No. DOT HS 812 521). Although this certainly shows a need to improve safety in rural areas, numerous constraints and resource limitations hinder current safety efforts. For example, in most states the vast majority of rural road mileage is owned and managed by local governments. The 2012 Census of Governments found a total of 3,031 counties, 19,522 municipalities, and 16,364 townships in the United States, and most are either partially or entirely rural. In addition, the Bureau of Indian Affairs recognizes 573 American Indian tribes and Alaska Native Villages in the United States. The sheer number of rural jurisdictions makes it difficult to assure that programs aimed at improving rural transportation safety are effective in reaching all areas effectively and equitably. The large number of rural local government units vary considerably in the way they are organized, their legal authority, and the available financial and human resources. The vast rural highway mileage is another challenge: rural crashes are often widely dispersed, with a considerable degree of randomness in crash locations. This makes it difficult to apply traditional crash reduction strategies that focus on hot spots. The objective of this research was to develop a behavioral traffic safety countermeasure toolkit for highway safety partners involved with rural road safety (e.g., tribal authorities, local government, law enforcement, emergency responders, engineers) to reduce the frequency and severity of motor vehicle crashes on roads in rural areas.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $300000
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Behavioral Traffic Safety Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Governors Highway Safety Association

    444 N. Capitol Street, NW, Suite 722
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, D.C.  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Retting, Richard

  • Performing Organizations:

    Western Transportation Institute

    Montana State University, Bozeman
    P.O. Box 174250
    Bozeman, MT  United States  59717-4250
  • Principal Investigators:

    Sullivan, Jaime

  • Start Date: 20200624
  • Expected Completion Date: 20230224
  • Actual Completion Date: 20230224

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01708756
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: BTS-15
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: Jun 26 2019 11:46AM