The Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Office of Safety publishes a newsletter three times a year called, the Safety Compass Newsletter. The recent spring issue, 2016, describes a number of important traffic safety management plan issues. Good data is the most critical element needed to understand and improve traffic safety management.
For many years, safety data has been difficult or impossible to track because it comes from so many sources, for example, police on the scene of an accident, EMS units, hospitals related to injured drivers and passengers, local highway agencies, and various city and county versions of law enforcement and road personnel from the location involved.
One of the major problems of such data is the lack of coordinated location/identification information. Separate agencies often use different methods to record location and many agencies use multiple methods within their own agency including, for example, mile point, mile marker, GPS, and local reference points such as “200 yards north of the bridge over Waller Creek on State Highway 23.”
To enable Safety and Traffic Managers to effectively manage the volume of disparate safety data and conduct proper analysis and planning, AgileAssets offers a robust safety management system – AgileAssets® Safety Analyst™ – that helps safety and traffic managers solve many of the issues identified in the Safety Compass Newsletter. AgileAssets Safety Analyst supports data collection, screening, validation, storage, and analysis methods that allow the diverse data sources to be matched into a coherent database as the first step in good safety management.
The Safety Compass Newsletter Spring 2016 issue announced a number of safety initiatives that are of interest:
FHWA’s new Safety Performance Measure Regulations Are Now in Effect
Motor vehicle-related fatalities are on the rise for the first time in several years. Therefore, the new FHWA safety Performance Measure (PM) final rule comes at an important time. These performance measures provide states and municipalities with a better framework for more effective safety management and will impact how FHWA’s $2.3 billion Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) is managed. These new regulations can be effectively implemented within AgileAssets Safety Analyst.
Involving Native American Tribes in Strategic Highway Safety Planning
In case you didn’t know it, American Indians and Alaskan natives experience higher rates of highway-related fatalities than the general U.S. population, and motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury for American Indians and Alaskan natives ages 1 through 44. This trend exists even though the overall national trend for vehicle fatalities is historically decreasing. Recent initiatives are bringing these native peoples into interaction on state strategic highway safety planning and new safety provisions in the FAST (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation) Act can be used to implement transportation safety programs including better crash reporting and strategies proven to reduce motor vehicle crashes, save lives and reduce injuries. AgileAssets Safety Analyst provides a good framework for applying these new technologies.
FHWA recently conducted State of the Practice Reviews for 50 State DOTs and the District of Columbia
These reviews form a baseline assessment of statewide long-range transportation plans with emphasis on how safety-related performance-based planning is being implemented in long-range plans. While the Newsletter states that the baseline will be “available” to benchmark future progress, it is likely that FHWA will definitely use it or even make it mandatory in considering safety within Performance-Based Planning. AgileAssets Safety Analyst can help any agency implement better safety methods and help to transfer improved practice updates.
Integrating Speed Management within the Three Safety Focus Areas Report
The FHWA Office of Safety has recently produced a report that describes safety management strategies for three safety focused programs to 1) reduce speed-related crashes, 2) overall roadway departure crashes, and 3) intersection, pedestrian and bicycle crashes. These strategies can be used within the framework of the AgileAssets Safety Analyst to provide better ways to make improvements once the necessary data is gathered and processed within the safety program. AgileAssets will be looking at this report for any potential updates in our existing technology.
Written by: Dr. Ronald Hudson on June 24, 2016