Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) Interim Guidance
April 5, 2013, FHWA Office of Safety
October 1, 2012
On July 6, 2012, the President signed into law P.L. 112-141, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). MAP-21 continues the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) as a core Federal-aid program. This program is codified at 23 U.S.C. 148 with implementing regulations at 23 C.F.R. Part 924. To obligate HSIP funds, among other requirements, a State must have in effect a State highway safety improvement program under which the State develops, implements, and updates a Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) that identifies and analyzes highway safety problems and opportunities as described under the program. (23 U.S.C. 148(c)(1)(A)).
The purpose of this guidance is to clarify SHSP requirements under MAP-21. Specifically, it addresses the SHSP: 1) features; 2) update process; 3) evaluation; 4) approval; and 5) penalty for failure to have an updated, approved plan. Additional information regarding SHSP development, implementation and evaluation is referenced in Attachment A.
The SHSP is a State's comprehensive transportation safety plan, based on safety data, developed after consultation with a broad range of safety stakeholders, and approved by the Governor of the State or a responsible State agency . (23 U.S.C. 148(a)(12)). The SHSP must demonstrate the following features:
A Consultative Approach
States must develop the SHSP in consultation with the stakeholders identified in 23 U.S.C.148(a)(12)(A). While not required, States may also consult with stakeholders not explicitly identified in 23 U.S.C. 148(a)(12)(A), depending on their transportation safety needs. Consultation should include:
- Active involvement of and cooperation among multidisciplinary stakeholders; and
- Sharing of safety data and information systems.
The SHSP must also consider other State, regional, or local transportation and highway safety planning processes and outcomes. (23 U.S.C. 148(a)(12)(E)). The SHSP should also consider tribal planning processes and outcomes.
The SHSP is a State's comprehensive transportation safety plan. The SHSP must be consistent with 23 U.S.C. 135(g), which pertains to the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). (23 U.S.C. 148(a)(12)(H)). The State must coordinate its Highway Safety Plan (HSP), data collection, and information systems with the SHSP (as required under Highway Safety Programs, MAP-21 Section 31102). Other State transportation safety plans, such as the Commercial Vehicle Safety Plan (CVSP), the Statewide Transportation Plan, Metropolitan Transportation Plans, and local road and tribal safety plans, should be developed in coordination with the SHSP. This coordination should include, at a minimum, high-level goals, objectives and strategies that are consistent with those in the SHSP.
Data Driven Problem Identification
Under 23 U.S.C. 148(a)(12)(B), SHSPs must analyze and make effective use of State, regional, local, or tribal safety data. States should use the best available safety data to identify critical highway safety problems and safety improvement opportunities on all public roads, including non-State-owned public roads and roads on tribal land. (23 U.S.C. 148(a)(12)(D)). When determining State transportation safety problems and priorities, States should analyze crash (fatalities and serious injuries, at a minimum), roadway, and traffic data.
Consideration of Additional Safety Factors
States must also consider additional safety factors when identifying emphasis areas and strategies for their SHSP updates (23 U.S.C. 148 (d)(1)(B)). These factors are:
- Findings of Road Safety Audits (RSA). RSA findings can be analyzed to identify common countermeasure recommendations, which may be particularly appropriate for systemic implementation.
- Locations of fatalities and serious injuries.
- Locations that possess risk factors for potential crashes.
- Rural roads, commensurate with fatality data.
- Motor vehicle crashes that include fatalities or serious injuries to bicyclists and pedestrians.
- Cost-effectiveness of improvements.
- Improvements to rail-highway grade crossings.
- Safety on all public roads, including non-State-owned public roads and roads on tribal land.
- Older Drivers and Pedestrians Special Rule: If there has been an increase in fatalities and serious injuries to older drivers and pedestrians, States must include strategies to address those increases in the SHSP updates. (23 U.S.C. 148(g)(2)).
A Performance-Based Approach
MAP-21 establishes a performance-based Federal-aid highway program, which necessitates that States develop performance-based plans and programs. To support this approach, performance measures will be established by the U.S. Department of Transportation in accordance with 23 U.S.C. 150. For the HSIP, of which the SHSP is an integral part, these measures will be for States to assess the number and rate of serious injuries and fatalities. Under 23 U.S.C. 402, a minimum set of performance measures is also required for the Highway Safety Plan (HSP). States are required to set "targets" for these HSIP and HSP performance measures.
SHSPs have been at the forefront of a performance-based approach since they were first required under SAFETEA-LU. States commonly include measurable goals and objectives in their SHSPs, enabling them to track the status of SHSP implementation efforts and monitor progress. SHSPs should continue to support this performance-based approach by including measurable goals and objectives. The SHSP goals and objectives, which typically span multiple years, are not the same as the annual "targets" that States will establish and report on in the HSIP and HSP; however, they should be consistent with and advance the HSIP and HSP performance measures and their associated "targets."
Use of Effective Strategies and Countermeasures
The SHSP describes a program of strategies to reduce or eliminate safety hazards. (23 U.S.C. 148(a)(12)(F)). High priority should be given to those strategies that can significantly reduce roadway fatalities and serious injuries in the SHSP emphasis areas. States should implement the strategies and countermeasures that will most effectively address their roadway safety problems (see Attachment A for references regarding effective countermeasures). Systemic improvements and low-cost countermeasures should also be given consideration.
Addressing 4Es When Determining Highway Safety Strategies
The SHSP must address a variety of factors when determining strategies for the SHSP emphasis areas. (23 U.S.C. 148(a)(12)(C)). Key factors include the highway safety elements of engineering, education, enforcement, and emergency services (the 4 Es). This can apply to both infrastructure and non-infrastructure emphasis areas, as appropriate. For example, if speed is an emphasis area in a State SHSP, the State may consider a variety of "4 E" strategies to reduce or mitigate the impact of speeding. Strategies might include increasing law enforcement efforts to reduce speeding (enforcement), applying traffic calming measures such as speed humps and roundabouts (engineering), delivering public information campaigns that focus on the dangers of speeding (education), and utilizing Emergency Medical Services data to quantify the burden to the health care system and the cost to the community (emergency services).
Consistent with current practice, States should update their SHSPs on a regular basis and no later than five years from the date of the previous approved version. SHSP updates must meet the requirements for a State SHSP as defined in 23 U.S.C. 148(a)(12) and meet the requirements the Secretary establishes for SHSP updates and approvals as described in , 148(d), 148(g)(2), and that will be defined further in HSIP Regulations.
MAP-21 also requires States to include in their SHSP Update:
- Their definition of "High Risk Rural Road". (23 U.S.C. 148 (a)(1)).
- Strategies to address older driver and pedestrian safety, If there has been an increase fatalities and serious injuries to older drivers and pedestrians (23 U.S.C. 148 (g)(2)).
SHSP Evaluation and Update Cycle
As part of the SHSP update process, States should establish an update and evaluation cycle (or schedule) consistent with requirements that will be established in the HSIP Regulation.
To obligate funds under the HSIP, as part of their highway safety improvement programs, States must evaluate their SHSPs on a regular and recurring basis as required by the Secretary to ensure the accuracy of data and priority of proposed strategies. (23 U.S.C. 148(c)(1)(C); (d)(1)). During SHSP development, States should pay particular attention to what will be measured (i.e., performance measures) and how progress will be determined. States should have in place mechanisms for regularly tracking SHSP implementation and monitoring progress.
A comprehensive evaluation should occur, at a minimum, as part of the State's SHSP update. This should include a review of SHSP implementation, including, for example, assessing whether the strategies are being implemented as planned, and reviewing the State's progress in meeting SHSP goals and objectives, such as reductions in the number and rate of crashes, fatalities and serious injuries in the SHSP's emphasis areas.
Evaluation results should be used, at a minimum, to confirm the validity of the emphasis areas and strategies and address SHSP process and performance issues that can be improved upon or incorporated in the SHSP update. For example, if an SHSP goal or objective is not met, the results may suggest a strategy is ineffective, or in some cases, the strategy may not have been implemented as planned. See Attachment A for additional evaluation resources.
Approval of SHSP Update
A State must update its SHSP in accordance with requirements established by the Secretary and seek approval of its process for updating such plan under 23 U.S.C. 148(d)(2). To fulfill these requirements, a State should submit to the FHWA Division Administrator its updated SHSP, along with a detailed description of the process it used to update the plan. (23 U.S.C. 148 (d)(2)(A)(ii)). A State may include this description as a section, chapter, or appendix in the SHSP; in the cover or transmittal letter for the SHSP; or as a standalone document. See Attachment B for samples. The State should address, at a minimum, the elements discussed in this guidance and any other requirements included in a future rulemaking.
A State's SHSP update process will be approved if: (1) the SHSP is consistent with the requirements for updates and approval under section 148(d) and the requirements for an SHSP defined in section 148(a)(12); and (2) the process the State used to update the SHSP is consistent with the requirements of section 148. (23 U.S.C. 148 (d)(2)(B)). The FHWA Division Administrator will notify the State when its updated SHSP process has been reviewed and approved. The FHWA Division Administrator may seek input from the appropriate NHTSA Regional Administrator and FMCSA Division Administrator during the approval process. The SHSP will be posted on the USDOT website. (23 U.S.C. 148(h)(3)). See Attachment C.
Penalty for Failure to Have an Approved Updated SHSP
If a State fails to have an updated SHSP with a process approved by the FHWA Division Administrator, the State will not be eligible to receive additional formula obligation limitation during the annual redistribution of one-year obligation limitation, which is referred to as "August Redistribution." See Attachment D for more information on August Redistribution. (23 U.S.C. 148(d)(3)).
To avoid the penalty, States must have an updated SHSP with an approved process by August 1 of the fiscal year beginning after the date of the establishment of the requirements under 23 U.S.C. 148 (d)(1). The penalty will remain in effect for each succeeding fiscal year until the fiscal year during which the plan has an approved process, which must be by August 1 to avoid the penalty that year.
SHSP References and Resources
- Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) MAP-21 Interim Guidance
- High Risk Rural Roads Guidance
- Guidance on State Safety Data Systems
- Section 142: Older Drivers and Pedestrians Special Rule Interim Guidance
- Transportation Performance Management (National Goals, Performance Requirements Summary, etc.)
SHSP Development, Implementation and Evaluation
- Strategic Highway Safety Plans: A Champion's Guidebook to Saving Lives, Second Edition, FHWA, Office of Safety
- Strategic Highway Safety Plan Implementation Process Model, FHWA, Office of Safety
- Traffic Safety Performance Measures for States and Federal Agencies
- A Primer on Safety Performance Measures for the Transportation Planning Process
- Strategic Highway Safety Plan, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
- Guidance for the Implementation of the AASHTO Strategic Highway Safety Plans – 23 Topic Area Volumes, Transportation Research Board, NCHRP Report 500, Volume 1 through 23
- Integrated Safety Management Process, Transportation Research Board, NCHRP Report 501
- Crash Modification Factors (CMF) Clearinghouse, FHWA
- Countermeasures that Work: A Highway Safety Countermeasure Guide for State Highway Safety Offices, Sixth Edition, NHTSA
- Proven Safety Countermeasures, FHWA, Office of Safety
- Strategic Highway Safety Plan Evaluation Process Model (EPM), FHWA, Office of Safety
- The Art of Appropriate Evaluation-A Guide for Highway Safety Program Managers, NHTSA
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP)
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration 2012-2016 Strategic Plan, FMCSA, Division of Strategic Planning and Evaluation
- Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) Forms
- Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety (DDATCS)
- Model Performance Measures for State Traffic Records Systems
- HSIP Noteworthy Practice Series, FHWA, Office of Safety
- SHSP Stakeholder Involvement
- Revisiting SHSP Emphasis Areas
- Leadership that Saves Lives
- Get Involved!
- Updating a Strategic Highway Safety Plan: Learning from the Idaho Transportation Department, FHWA, Office of Safety
- Roadway Safety Noteworthy Practices Database, FHWA, Office of Safety
- Web-based Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) Courses, National Highway Institute (NHI)
- Strategic Highway Safety Plan Development, National Highway Institute (NHI)
- Strategic Highway Safety Plan Implementation, National Highway Institute (NHI)
- Financing Federal-Aid Highways, FHWA
Sample Format/Content for SHSP Update Description
Each State must provide a detailed description of the SHSP update process. (23 U.S.C. 148(d)(2)(A)(ii)). This description can be included as a section, chapter or appendix in the SHSP, in the cover or transmittal letter for the SHSP, or as a standalone document, and should include a description of the:
- Consultative Process: Describe a process that demonstrates States have consulted with stakeholders, as identified in 148(a)(12)(A), early in the SHSP development process, considered their input prior to decision making, and routinely involved them with actions taken regarding SHSP development.
- Coordination: Describe coordination of the SHSP with other transportation plans, and how the State aligns the high-level goals, objectives, and strategies of other (relevant) plans with the SHSP.
- Data-Driven Process: Describe how priority or emphasis areas were selected. Demonstrate that the selection was data-driven and considered additional safety factors. Summarize the data and methods used for analysis.
- Performance- Based Approach: Describe how goals and objectives will be used to track and monitor the status of SHSP implementation efforts and progress. Discuss how the performance measures are directly tied to the goals and objectives established in the SHSP and how they are consistent with performance measures established by U.S. Department of Transportation in accordance with 23 U.S.C. 150, and coordinated with other State highway safety programs.
- Strategy Selection: Describe the process used to select effective emphasis area strategies and how the 4Es of safety were addressed as key factors in strategy selection.
- Evaluation and Update Schedule: Document the State's plans or schedule to evaluate and update the SHSP.
Sample Transmittal or Cover Letter for SHSP
Dear [FHWA Division Administrator]:
The [State or Commonwealth] of [State's or Commonwealth's Name] is submitting this Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP), [Title of Plan] in accordance with the requirements of 23 USC § 148(d), Highway Safety Improvement Program, Updates to Strategic Highway Safety Plans. The [Plan Name] update was accomplished through consultation with our Governor's Highway Safety Representative, regional and metropolitan planning organizations [specify], representatives of major modes of transportation [specify], state and local law enforcement [specify], the Governor's highway-rail grade crossing safety representative [specify], representatives conducting motor carrier safety programs under Section 31102, 31106, or 31309 of Title 49 [specify], motor vehicle administration agencies [specify], State representatives of non-motorized users [specify] county transportation officials [specify], and other Federal, State, tribal, and local safety stakeholders [specify]. The following describes the process that was used to update the Plan.
[This paragraph should provide a detailed description of the update process as required under §148 (d)(2)(B) and in implementing regulations. The description should demonstrate a coordinated, data driven, performance-based plan with a program of effective strategies developed with a multidisciplinary and "4E" approach. The update should reference the years covered by the plan as well as the update and evaluation schedule.]
Signature of State Official
USDOT Website Requirements
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One of the requirements of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act is that the information on Federal Government Web sites be accessible to persons with disabilities. The technical standards for Web sites can be found in § 1194.22 "Web-based intranet and internet information and applications." A guide to the standards is available on the U.S. Access Board's Web site at http://www.access-board.gov/sec508/guide/1194.22.htm. Again, it is important that the requirements for data tables be followed. Such requirements are contained in 1194.22(g) and 1194.22(h). These sections require that row and column headers of data tables are identified and that through markup, the data cells are associated with the corrected headers. There are techniques in HTML 4.01 and XHTML 1.0 to meet these requirements.
Legislation provides for the redistribution, after August 1 of every fiscal year, of States' one-year obligation limitation that will not be used before the end of the fiscal year, and would otherwise expire at the end of the fiscal year (section 1102(d) of Public Law 112-141). Typically, obligation limitation associated with allocated contract authority is returned for redistribution. Formula obligation limitation can also be returned for redistribution, but this is uncommon. Only the obligation limitation is redistributed, not any of the contract authority that is associated with it.
The returned obligation limitation is redistributed as formula obligation limitation to States that can use it prior to the end of the fiscal year. The returned obligation limitation is redistributed proportional to the States' relative shares of unobligated balances of funds apportioned under sections 144 ( 104 of title 23, United States Code. No State, however, will be redistributed more formula obligation than it has indicated it can use prior to the end of the fiscal year.
Many States use all of their formula obligation limitation in a given fiscal year, therefore they can greatly benefit from the annual redistribution process. This is particularly true for States that have projects ready to go and can quickly obligate them using the additional formula obligation limitation. In recent fiscal years, the total obligation limitation redistributed to the States as formula obligation limitation has been in the area of $1 billion, although the amounts vary from fiscal year-to-fiscal year. The redistributed formula obligation limitation may be utilized to obligate projects under any program for which the State has unobligated balances of funding (e.g., STP, HSIP, CMAQ, etc.).