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Highways for LIFE

Arrow Marketing Plan: Road Safety

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Below is a summary of challenges to RSA implementation:

  • Obtaining support from chief executives and upper management of federal, state, and local agencies and tribal governments
  • Competing demands and resources
  • Limited manpower, high turnover, staff with limited experience and no training, limited travel
  • Resistance to the word "audit" because of negative feelings associated with financial audits
  • Liability concerns

Even with these challenges, the FHWA remains hopeful that implementation will occur with the support of federal, state, local, and tribal leadership, as well as major associations and committees. With the increasing emphasis on saving lives, the FHWA believes that the RSA message will not only be heard, but will be heeded. Primary strategies to overcome these challenges include RSA training, technical assistance, and technology transfer. Specific products envisioned to accomplish these strategies are outlined in chapter 9.

Market Summary

The RSA marketing strategy is to leverage all resources that will help deliver the RSA message throughout the country. By utilizing the success of the states with active RSA programs, other states and partners will learn of the benefits that RSAs will offer their transportation programs. FHWA will seek the support of executive leadership to champion RSAs and develop and deliver materials that will help fulfill the RSA objectives. Expertise and resources from the FHWA HfL Road Safety Audit Marketing Plan 15 team also will be used. Some actions that will be taken to help execute FHWA's strategy include:

  • Developing marketing materials (talking points, presentations, articles, success stories, case studies)
  • Involving representatives from various FHWA units (RSA Implementation Team; see chapter 9)
  • Face–to–face interaction with those who are directly involved with the RSA decision–making process
  • Offering executive briefings to senior management at federal, state, and local agencies and tribal governments
  • Encouraging champions
  • Training technical staff, including FHWA Safety and Area Engineers
  • Securing participation of attorneys for RSA training courses
  • Liaising with the Transportation Research Board (TRB) committee on tort management
  • Producing documents to address liability concerns
  • Hosting training on RSAs at partner organizations' meetings and conferences
  • Offering technical assistance through the FHWA Resource Center and RSA Peer–to–Peer program
  • Hosting a peer exchange workshop for mid–level managers
  • Partnering with enforcement, behavioral experts, private companies, and academia
  • Continuing FHWA's participation in RSA–related international community meetings and activities
  • The RSA Implementation Team will deliver the RSA message through several channels of communications:
    • In–person briefings, including use of RSA video
    • Training/executive summary for FHWA Field Management (Division
    • Administrators/Engineers and the Directors of Field Services)
    • Workshops/trainings courses (NHI RSA course and "RSA for Locals" training)
    • Technical assistance with pilot RSAs (FHWA, Peer–to–Peer, consultant)
    • Technical material (RSA guidelines and prompt list, software, case studies, model RSA policy)
    • Online/Websites (FHWA Resource Center, NHI, Division Offices, LTAP Centers, and private partners)
    • Conferences/exhibits/presentations/articles
    • Promotional literature (brochures, email and direct mail, CD–ROMs)
    • Networking
    • Team meetings
  • Several key "focus agencies" have been identified within the transportation safety committee as likely partners in RSA implementation efforts. These agencies include AASHTO, as mentioned earlier, as well as the following:
    • National Association of County Engineers (NACE)
    • Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE)
    • Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) and Tribal Technical Assistance Program (TTAP) centers
    • International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
    • American Public Works Association (APWA)
  • With these agencies in mind, potential conferences to target for presentations and exhibits include those of the focus agencies, as well as:
    • National Association of Towns and Townships
    • National League of Cities
    • Regional County Engineers Association Meetings
    • National Association of Counties
    • Transportation Research Board
    • U.S. Conference of Mayors
    • Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations
    • National Association of Regional Councils
    • Lifesavers
    • Governors' Highway Safety Association
    • Federal Land Management Agencies' annual conferences/meetings
    • National Sheriffs Association
    • CARE (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) state law enforcement
    • American Traffic Safety Services Association

FHWA personnel need to be champions of RSAs. Champions should come from top management in FHWA and the FHWA Office of Safety. The RSA Implementation Team will work with the FHWA Leadership Team and Division Administrators to consult with the State DOT executives on RSAs.

Iowa DOT has implemented road safety audits on proposed resurfacing projects. Previously, very few safety improvements were incorporated into our resurfacing projects. We now see that our staff consistently look for and implement numerous low–cost safety improvements on Iowa's roads.

–Thomas M. Welch, P.E. State Transportation Safety Engineer Iowa DOT

FHWA champions should endeavor to stress, especially to road designers, that RSAs make safe roads safer. RSAs are not conducted to criticize designs; they are intended to identify opportunities to improve safety. For example, newspapers put out more accurate stories when they have copy editors who check facts and make sure the grammar and spelling are correct. Automobile manufacturers build better cars when they have people who inspect the finished vehicles for anything that might have been overlooked in assembly. Just like any organization focused on putting out a high–quality product, RSAs have people review what's already been done and give some positive, creative suggestions for making what's good even better.

As the RSA program goals are currently tied to Opportunity and Focus states, those states will be approached first. Additionally, FHWA's Office of Safety established Safety Circuit Rider Programs. Training and technical assistance will be offered to these programs to advance RSAs. As resources permit, cities and counties will be approached for interest in RSAs. (At the same time, the FHWA will respond to states or localities expressing interest in RSAs).

RSA Implementation

The steps below show the process the RSA Implementation Team will follow in offering training and technical assistance to Opportunity and Focus states/cities and to other agencies/governments interested in developing an RSA program. The "RSA Program Manager" refers to the FHWA Office of Safety RSA Program Manager; the "FHWA Training Coordinator" refers to the FHWA Resource Center Lead RSA Instructor; and the "RSA Coordinator" is one of the Implementation Team members.

1. An FHWA RSA Implementation Team member is identified and approved as the RSA Coordinator for the interested state/agency.

2. The RSA Coordinator contacts the FHWA Division Safety Engineer (who coordinates with the Division Administrator) to determine who will make initial contact with the state/agency (either a Division representative or the RSA Coordinator). A meeting is scheduled to make a presentation on RSAs to the agency.

3. The RSA Coordinator and/or other Implementation Team member makes the presentation to the agency and offers additional training

4. The RSA Coordinator works through the FHWA Division Safety Engineer and/or agency to determine reactions, answer questions, or discuss barriers to RSA implementation. The RSA Coordinator then schedules training.

5. The RSA Coordinator communicates with the RSA Program Manager and FHWA Training Coordinator on the status of the RSA implementation and to get assistance answering questions or overcoming obstacles. If the state/agency requests a formal NHI course as part of their training efforts, the Agency attorney is contacted and asked to make a presentation during the training.

6. Training is conducted.

7. The RSA Coordinator contacts the FHWA Division and/or the state/agency to schedule a pilot RSAs and, if needed, schedule a Peer–to–Peer to assist with a pilot RSA or an FHWA Technical Assistance Request to help with RSA.

8. The pilot RSA is conducted.

9. The RSA Coordinator contacts the FHWA Division and/or the state/agency to find out how the pilot program went and discusses the agency's plans for conducting more RSAs. The RSA Coordinator also discusses RSA software and offers training and demonstration of software on a future RSA.

10. If desired by the state/agency, RSA software training and demonstration is scheduled. Road Safety Audit Marketing Plan 18

11. The RSA Coordinator contacts the FHWA Division and/or the state/agency to find out how the software pilot went, to discuss the potential for a formal RSA program in that agency, and to provide a sample RSA policy to show how other agencies are implementing RSAs.

12. The RSA Coordinator communicates with the RSA Program Manager and FHWA Training Coordinator on implementation status/needed assistance (this step can and should occur at any step of the process.)

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Scott Wolf
Center for Accelerating Innovation

This page last modified on 04/04/11

United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration