Coordinating Road Safety Reviews with Bicycle and Pedestrian Project Prioritization

The State’s draft Strategic Highway Safety Plan (NC-SHSP) includes goals to reduce pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities and serious injuries by more than half by 2030 (2014, draft plan). In response to these goals and pedestrian and bicycle safety concerns across North Carolina, there is a significant need to take steps to improve prioritization of projects to realize the greatest safety benefits. Local and regional agencies play a significant role in identifying needed improvements. However, local transportation plans, including county-level Comprehensive Transportation Plans, and pedestrian and bicycle plans, when these are available, often lack detail about what streets should be priorities for treatment, and details about which designs and other improvements are most effective and appropriate to address safety issues for the road context. As a result, project ideas often lack sufficient detail for good decision-making and efficient implementation. It is important that the safety performance metrics that will be used to ultimately judge project ideas are also used to develop those ideas in the first place. This research project will help to improve current processes in developing pedestrian and bicycle safety-focused projects. The UNC Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC) proposes to develop a two-step problem screening and prioritization process: 1) Develop and test safety performance-based, pedestrian and bicycle problem screening methods that local agencies may use as a first step (if needed) to develop an initial list of locations that warrant further attention; and 2) Develop NCDOT-sanctioned guidance on how to conduct the follow-up diagnosis through road safety assessments (RSAs) to identify and document the most appropriate improvements and prioritize projects according to expected benefits. We will outline how these steps can be used to enhance overall project development. The prioritization steps developed in this project will be pilot-tested in both urban and more rural jurisdictions. Subsequent to the pilot tests, the HSRC team will provide further outreach, and training on these procedures to stakeholders throughout the State. In particular, we will provide up to six additional training demonstrations of the RSA and documentation process throughout the State. The result of the project should be better projects that will maximize return on transportation investment, consistent with the State’s strategic prioritization processes. The project team is uniquely qualified to perform this project. Team members were involved in developing national pedestrian and bicycle road safety audit guides. We will supplement these existing resources with NC-specific guidance in this project. In North Carolina, HSRC has also led the way in related projects, including development of relevant data resources, and demonstrations of problem identification and prioritization processes in other projects.


    • Status: Active
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      North Carolina Department of Transportation

      104 Fayetteville St
      Raleigh, NC  United States  27609
    • Project Managers:

      Kirby, John

    • Performing Organizations:

      University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - HSRC

      730 Martin Luther King Blvd
      Chapel Hill, NC  United States  27599
    • Principal Investigators:

      Thomas, Libby

    • Start Date: 20150801
    • Expected Completion Date: 20170731
    • Actual Completion Date: 0

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01573236
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: North Carolina Department of Transportation
    • Contract Numbers: FHWA/NC/2016-14
    • Files: RiP, STATEDOT
    • Created Date: Aug 17 2015 3:06PM