Sneak Preview: FHWA Plans To Collect Better Highway Safety Data

May 2, 2013 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

xgran_bookshot(The following was excerpted from an article in the Federal Grants Management Handbook.) The Federal Highway Administration is taking steps to ensure states provide better data on the Highway Safety Improvement Program through the agency’s online reporting tool in response to a Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General audit.

HSIP is the primary DOT program for reducing fatalities and serious injuries on roadways through infrastructure improvements. HSIP received about $8.4 billion in funding from fiscal year 2006 through FY 2011.

FHWA provides sufficient HSIP administrative guidance and technical assistance to states, OIG found, adding that 98 percent of states met program requirements, and 92 percent followed FHWA’s program guidance on reporting. To help states comply, FHWA offers technical assistance and training on program implementation through its division offices, hosts webinars and connects state transportation agencies seeking best practices with experts from other states through the Roadway Safety Peer-to-Peer Program.

“As a result, states have the guidance and assistance needed to meet basic program requirements while retaining the flexibility to implement HSIP to address state-specific highway safety needs,” OIG added.

However, while FHWA periodically evaluates program results and traffic information reported by the states, it does not have an effective way to regularly use program data to report HSIP results nationwide because states provide varying types and quantities of data, OIG said. For example, some states report crash data only for locations receiving HSIP funds, while others report crash data for all locations. In addition, it is difficult to measure the benefits stemming from specific HSIP-funded infrastructure improvements as other infrastructural or behavioral factors can contribute to a rise or fall in crashes and fatalities, OIG added.

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