Identification of Liability-Related Impediments to Sharing 409 Safety Data Among Transportation Agencies, and Synthesis of Best Practices

Safety is a major issue for state departments of transportation, metropolitan planning organizations, cities and counties, and others engaged in improving transportation systems. There is increasing expectation that safety will comprise a major element of transportation plans. Under the 1998 Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), State departments of transportation and metropolitan planning organizations are required to incorporate safety as a priority factor in the transportation planning process. A robust safety management process is dependent on complete, accurate, and timely data to identify and predict safety problems and to measure the effects of safety countermeasures. However, state departments of transportation are sometimes reluctant to share data with other agencies and local government units due to concerns of liability consequences. Furthermore, research is currently being conducted that seeks methods and tools for predicting future accident problems and the safety consequences of alternative roadway facilities and designs. The data required for these tools may be subject to the same liability concerns. Despite a federal law, 23 U.S.C. § 409, which prohibits the discovery or admission into evidence in tort liability cases of covered data compiled or collected about accident locations, and a landmark Supreme Court Case (The Guillen Decision) which upheld that statute, many transportation agencies remain concerned about the liability of sharing transportation safety data. This concern often translates into a reluctance to even develop the information needed to adequately address safety concerns in state or regional transportation plans. The objective of this study is to provide a synthesis of best practices for States, MPOs and transportation planning organizations, featuring approaches and techniques for managing the risk in the sharing of 23 U.S.C. § 409-protected safety data.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $50000.00
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 8-54

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

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

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Chisholm-Smith, Gwen

  • Performing Organizations:

    Cambridge Systematics, Incorporated

    150 Cambridge Park Drive, Suite 4000
    Cambridge, MA  United States  02140-2369
  • Principal Investigators:

    Suhrbier, John

  • Start Date: 20041228
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20060630
  • Source Data: RiP Project 12208

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01462874
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Cooperative Highway Research Program
  • Contract Numbers: Project 8-54
  • Files: RiP, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 2:12PM