U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
The scanning team gathered a significant amount of information on the management, organization, and implementation of highway safety programs. Key findings from each country and commonalties among the highway safety programs are described in this report. Examples of roadway safety programs and activities are also listed for each country. The findings of the scanning team led to four recommendations, outlined below. The findings, observations, and recommendations are those of the scanning team and not of FHWA.
Fully Integrated, Financially Supported Safety Plan
All the countries visited have a fully integrated highway safety plan that includes significant financial and administrative support. Consistent and comprehensive communication, participation, and input from all safety organizations are essential to the development and effective application of these plans. Communication links occur throughout the country, and within and between safety organizations from the federal to local levels. Full integration of all players in the highway safety arena is essential in developing nationally accepted plans and safety goals. The content of national plans forms the basis for state, local, and nongovernmental highway safety plans.
The scanning team recommends that this type of approach be used in the United States. One national safety plan with safety improvement goals is needed to serve as the focal point for guidance throughout the country. Individuals and organizations active in roadway safety at all levels should be included in the creation of this document. State and local governments could use the national safety plan to create their own strategic approaches and goals for improving roadway safety in their jurisdictions and ultimately contributing to national targets.
Achievable Safety Improvement Targets
The scanning team recommends that all highway safety plans in the United States include specific safety improvement targets or goals keyed to a national plan and agreed to by the agencies and organizations involved in the plan's creation. Safety targets included in these plans should be based on supporting roadway safety improvement research. In fact, plans should indicate how targets might be achieved by including as much supporting documentation as possible and identifying the expected contribution of particular safety measures. The sum of the expected individual contributions should be equal to or greater than the overall reduction target proposed in the plan. Specific targets and measures included in the safety plans should be tailored to the highway safety concerns, needs, and resources of individual jurisdictions.
In the United States, the ability to accomplish this recommendation would require completing additional research into the effectiveness of particular safety improvements and the safety impacts of specific roadway characteristics. It also would require monitoring the effectiveness of the safety improvement measures implemented both individually and in combination. Ability to complete these tasks should be considered when the form - such as crash frequency or rate - of safety targets is identified.
Safety Performance Incentive Program
Safety performance incentive programs encourage governments to take active steps toward improving highway safety. The scanning team recommends implementation of this type of program in the United States at the Federal and/or State levels.
It is generally recognized that the safety improvement targets proposed in any national highway safety plan can be achieved only through implementation of program measures at State and local levels of government. Implementation of these measures involves economic and staffing requirements, and providing financial incentives related to safety performance measures could be an effective tool for achieving national, State, and local safety improvement targets. Safety performance incentive funds also could be used for additional safety improvements. The effective use of safety-related financial incentives would require measuring the performance of safety improvements implemented by individual jurisdictions and comparing them to the targets documented in their plans.
Demonstration Project and Safety Program Focus
The scanning team's final recommendation relates to implementation of a demonstration project and the continued focus in the United States on three highway safety program elements common in Europe. The team recommends a demonstration project on the consideration, identification, implementation, and evaluation of corridor or area-wide safety improvements. The corridors or areas used in this demonstration project should be chosen on the basis of expected safety performance. In addition, a safety plan and targets should be developed for the locations chosen, and the results of the project monitored and compared to the targets.
The team also recommends that speed management measures, automated enforcement, and road safety audits continue to be used and promoted in the United States. All three techniques, reviewed by earlier scanning studies, are part of the safety approach in all the countries visited. The effective use of these measures is directly related to the procedures used in their implementation, such as restriction to locations with a safety concern and evidence of their positive impacts once installed. These measures have been applied, often on a corridor or area-wide basis, with great success in the countries visited.
The focus of this scanning study and its recommendations was on effective highway safety programs, policies, tools, and measures. Implementation of these types of elements is not typically short-term or physical in nature. In fact, the impact of this study may be measured by whether its recommendations and findings are incorporated into the national, State, and local highway safety plans and programs of the future. Implementation of the results from this study depends, therefore, on continuous, consistent, and comprehensive dissemination of its contents. Scanning team members will advance this objective by presenting the study results at various meetings.
The scanning team identified several efforts related to the discussion of policy guidance and comprehensive coordination in the area of highway safety programming. Given the expected resources available for implementing any suggestions and the timing of the upcoming Federal transportation funding reauthorization, however, the team recommends only one specific action now.
In April 2002, the Netherlands held a highway safety "Sunflower" Conference. The "Sun" in "Sunflower" refers to the initial letters of Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. The conference objective was to use highway safety in these three countries as examples for other European Union countries. Discussions were held to identify the highway safety programs needed to continue improving safety performance throughout Europe, and dialogue focused on safety policies and project selection. The countries sponsoring the conference are Europe's leading safety experts and are recognized for their ability to work with senior leadership.
The scanning team recommends that two or three conferences of this type be held in the United States. Each conference would include participation of European experts the scanning team met with, several team members, and leaders from the State in which the conference is held. A national-level conference of this type, with USDOT and AASHTO involvement, is also recommended. The three tasks identified to organize this type of conference are described below.
Task 1 - Form Steering Team and Select Host States
A subgroup of the scanning team, assisted by a private contractor, should identify two or three potential States where a "Sunflower" conference would be politically accepted and have a realistic chance of success. The contractor would make contacts with the selected States to test the feasibility of holding the workshop. In addition, the team would assess the possibility of a national-level "Sunflower" conference involving USDOT and AASHTO leaders.
Task 2 - Confirm Political and Senior Leadership Attendance
The States identified for a "Sunflower" conference would need to assure attendance by senior leaders, including the governor, State transportation secretary, police superintendent, and possibly legislators or judges. Host States would commit to a oneday workshop that includes a safety policy discussion among all disciplines in reaction to the European model for advancing highway safety. The pollination of these concepts with senior leaders is expected to lead to safety improvements that work toward the national safety goals. Similarly, a national-level "Sunflower" conference would focus on future approaches to involving State and local governments in national safety planning. It may be possible to organize a national conference as an extension of other regularly scheduled national highway safety meetings.
Task 3 - Host Multi-State Study by European Experts
Over a week-to-10-day period, a subgroup of the European experts visited during this scanning study would be involved in the State-level and national conferences.