Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices. Topic 54-03. DOT Practices on Road Safety Audits

A Road Safety Audit (RSA) is a proactive and formal safety performance examination of an existing or future road or intersection by an independent, multidisciplinary team. Some state departments of transportation (DOTs) refer to these as road safety assessments. It qualitatively estimates and reports on potential road safety issues and identifies opportunities for improvements in safety for all road users. RSAs were introduced in the United States in 1997 following a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)-sponsored scanning tour of Australia and New Zealand investigating safety management systems in 1996. NCHRP completed Report 336 Road Safety Audits in 2004. The report found that seven DOTs were using RSAs in their safety programs. Since then, DOTs have been developing their resources, procedures, and practices for RSAs, and information is scattered; new considerations have emerged for conducting RSAs. They may include but are not limited to equity considerations, and active transportation and micro-mobility growth. The objective of this synthesis is to document state DOT current practices related to RSAs. Information to be gathered includes (but is not limited to): (1) Frequency and quantity of DOT RSAs; (2) Contexts for RSAs locations (rural, urban, corridors, intersections, interchanges, or state-owned vs. non-state-owned roadways); (3) DOT decision-making factors and prioritization methods in selecting RSA locations (equity considerations, high rate of active transportation users, crash frequency, cost threshold, or projects considered for federal funding); (4) Data used in identifying and conducting RSAs and any linkages or alignment with crash modification factors or safety performance functions; (5) When DOTs conduct RSAs (stage/phase during the project development process such as planning or preliminary design); (6) RSA types and methods completed (virtual, day/night, use of FHWA eight-step procedure see:; (7) Characteristics of the team conducting the RSA, including (a) Members being representative of the community, the inclusion of all modal users, or transit agency staff, (b) Roles and responsibilities of RSA team members, (c) RSA team leader identification and what qualifications are required, and (d) DOT staff and partner training; (8) How are RSAs funded; (9) How DOTs implement RSA results, including (a) If the roadway owner is different than who is offering/conducting RSA, (b) Funding methods for improvements (Highway Safety Improvement Program, discretionary grants, or state funds); (10) How DOTs measure RSA outcomes, including the use of after-action reviews or longitudinal analysis of crash frequency; (11) Supporting materials developed by DOTs such as manuals, checklists, or procedures; (12) DOT considerations of active transportation, micro-mobility, transit users, equity (environmental justice analysis or Justice 40), Safe System Approach, human factors, performance-based planning and programming, and new technologies (for example, LED lighting's widespread adoption since 2003); (13) Coordination practices with MPOs, tribal governments, and local organizations; (14) Why state DOTs are not conducting RSAs and if there are barriers to utilizing RSAs, such as liability; and (15) Research gaps related to RSAs.


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  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $55000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-05, Topic 54-03

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

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

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Wadsworth, Trey

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Missouri, Kansas City

    Department of Civil Engineering
    5100 Rockhill Road, Flarsheim Hall
    Kansas City, MO  United States  64110
  • Principal Investigators:

    Brown, Henry

  • Start Date: 20221010
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01845334
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-05, Topic 54-03
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: May 16 2022 7:48PM