Local Rural Road Safety Audit and Safety Tool Box

The purpose of this project is to improve the safety performance of local rural roads in South Dakota. This will be accomplished by aggressively promoting Road Safety Audits and providing a Tool Box of low-cost safety improvement strategies to County Highway Superintendents and other local highway agencies. Prior to the 2007 State Annual Safety Conference, a one-day FHWA training session on Road Safety Audits was conducted and was attended by 20 participants including 4 staff from SD LTAP. Over the last several years the SDLTAP staff conducted several Road Safety Audits across the state and therefore very knowledgeable on the subject. Although this project will be conducted using SDLTAP staff, a joint collaboration between SDSU and the SDSM&T will yield the final outcome of this project. Expected Outcomes, Benefits, Results: This proposal will yield two significant outcomes: (1) Conduct around 10 road safety audits (Road Safety Audit) at selected sites along county highways, city streets, and township roads, and other locations deemed appropriate for the study. Countermeasures for each site will be recommended. Once the countermeasure is implemented, improvements in terms of crash reduction will be documented as the main outcome. Obviously this step requires more time to examine the effectiveness of the countermeasures. A follow-up project can be pursued to document crash reduction and whether it is significant or not. (2) Provide a safety tools for local agencies to follow in conducting future Road Safety Audits. A marketing plan will be introduced to the local community stressing the benefits of implementing Road Safety Audit routinely on their road network. The Safety tool will include detailed outline on how to conduct safety audits and proper documentations. The SD Department of Public Safety recently developed digital maps of 3-year crash history for each county. These maps will aid county highway departments in planning sound Road Safety Audit. It is anticipated that this project will significantly reduce crash experience in the state of South Dakota which have relatively higher rates than other states. The project has the following taks: 1) Develop resource library of local road safety improvement strategies and specifically Road Safety Audit materials focused on NCHRP 321, FHWA Road Safety Audit references, low volume road design standards, and survey of other State LTAP successes in safety management and Road Safety Audits. 2) Develop marketing plan and guidelines for Road Safety Audits using LTAP newsletter, SDACHS partnership, SDDPS crash location maps, etc. This task will also define output and outcome measures such in terms of reduction estimation and effectiveness. 3) Meet with the project's technical panel to review the resource library, marketing plan, and guidelines for Road Safety Audits. 4) Pilot Road Safety Audits in a county with FHWA Resource Center technical assistance to train an expanded core team of local Road Safety Audit individuals. 5) Meet with the project's technical panel to advise them of the outcome of the pilot and to invite advice regarding possible modifications to the Road Safety Audit process. 6) Conduct Road Safety Audits in ten (10) sites. 7) Follow-up with Road Safety Audit. Document lessons learned including successes and failures. 8) Evaluate the SD local rural road crash data to better target countermeasures; Share results with all 66 counties. 9) Calculate output and outcome measures of success and prepare summary report. To accomplish the above tasks, the assistance and support of several local and state agencies like the SDDOT, FHWA, and other local highway agencies was sought. Past Road Safety Audits conducted by SDLTAP included personnel from the above agencies and was very successful. The same agencies are willing to participate again in Road Safety Audits associated with this project. The South Dakota Department of Public Safety will be willing to furnish crash data and maps.