Goals

To improve traffic safety, the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) identified three areas of emphasis in their Comprehensive Highway Safety Plan (CHSP):

1. Impaired driving crashes
2. Occupant protection
3. Roadway departure and intersection crashes

To address these areas of emphasis, MDT staff prepared the business case to procure a Safety Information Management System (SIMS). MDT understood that they needed more robust safety analysis capabilities to more efficiently and accurately identify and analyze high crash location hot spots on their road network, and to determine the most effective countermeasures to improve safety.

Challenges

Montana is the 4th largest state by area with nearly 13,000 miles of urban and rural roadways and an additional 62,000 miles of local roads and streets. In 2013 Montana also had the nation’s highest fatality rate by highway crashes per vehicle miles traveled. That year the fatality rate (per 100 million vehicles traveled) in Montana was 1.96, the highest among all states in the U.S.

MDT had previously used a number of in-house safety software solutions for network screening, project selection, etc. These solutions required time-consuming manual steps to process crash and network data to identify hot spots because data came from multiple databases. In addition to these technological limitations, there were growing stakeholder requests for implementation of a more functional, robust and user-friendly system would support the integration of additional enabling technologies. Montana of Urban and Rural Roadways 75,000 Miles Montana 1.96 Fatality Rate

* By comparison, West Virginia and North Dakota are second and third with fatality rates at 1.75 and 1.62 respectively.

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Solutions

MDT implemented AgileAssets’ Safety Analyst and Foundation modules to serve as the core components for the department’s new SIMS solution.

The SIMS solution leverages the AgileAssets platform and provides a web-based interface, network screening, a MIRE (Model Inventory Roadway Element) framework, rich reporting and the application of Safety Performance Functions (SPFs) within the software. In addition, MDT determined that AgileAssets’ technologies provided more flexibility and a better analytical framework than other commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solutions.

MDT’s SIMS solution went live August 1, 2014.

Benefits

The SIMS solution provides a framework to identify high crash locations efficiently and accurately. This AgileAssets powered solution is also timely, consistent, complete and accurate. It provides accessible data and makes it easier and more efficient to perform the needed analyses.

The SIMS solution also enhances data access for users throughout the agency and other stakeholders across the state. It provides simple and intuitive querying capabilities and stores a host of other roadway characteristics necessary to accurately analyze safety performance.

MDT is now able to complete more in-depth safety reviews of design projects–spending more time on higher value activities. The SIMS solution also increased MDT’s ability to incorporate safety into more departmental functions including planning, maintenance and operations.

MDT won a 2015 National Roadway Safety Award in the Program Planning, Development and Evaluation category from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). MDT also won a Montana Governor’s Award for the SIMS implementation within 9 months of contract execution.

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