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Transportation Safety Planning

What is Transportation Safety Planning (TSP)?

TSP is a proactive approach to the prevention of accidents and unsafe transportation conditions by establishing inherently safe transportation networks. TSP achieves road safety improvements through small quantum changes, targeted at the whole network.

The short-term objective is to integrate safety considerations into the transportation planning process at all levels, specifically the Strategic Highway Safety Plans (SHSP), Statewide Transportation Improvement Programs (STIP) and the Transportation Improvement Programs (TIP) developed by the State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) respectively. This step should be followed by consideration of safety objectives in the longer range, 20 year plans that the state DOTs and MPOs are required to prepare and update periodically. 

Why Transportation Safety Planning?

It might be a good idea to start here with the benefits associated with TSP, i.e. saving lives, reducing injuries and crashes. In 2004, there were 42,636 transportation related fatalities, 2,788,000 injuries, 4,281,000 property damage crashes at total cost of $230 billion to the nation. European research indicates that to achieve further large reductions in crash levels, it will be necessary to change the focus from driver behavior initiatives to ones that will make it more difficult for the driver to have a crash. TSP is one way to accomplish that goal, i.e. one of the next generations of road safety strategies. SAFETEA-LU requires "Each statewide and metropolitan planning process shall provide for consideration of projects and strategies that will increase the safety of the transportation system for motorized and non-motorized users."

How do Transportation Safety Planning (TSP) and the Strategic Highway Safety Planning (SHSP) Process Work Together?

SAFETEA-LU designated the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) (23 U.S.C. 148), which introduced a mandate for Strategic Highway Safety Plans (SHSPs) that are collaborative, comprehensive and based on accurate and timely safety data. As the TSP and SHSP initiatives move forward, it is apparent that SCP helped lay a good foundation for SHSPs. Before SAFETEA-LU was enacted, Transportation Safety Planning (TSP) forums encouraged a comprehensive approach to safety and championed the mutual benefits of safety and planning professionals collaborating during the traditional transportation planning process as well as the safety planning process. The objectives of TSP are compatible with the SHSP process. They are based on bringing together all the appropriate partners to ensure a coordinated effort toward improving surface transportation safety.

SHSPs will undoubtedly lead to further collaboration among transportation planners, traffic engineers, safety stakeholders, and others. It is expected that metropolitan and statewide transportation planners will be an integral part of the SHSP process. Under SAFETEA-LU, the transportation planning process involves both safety and planning professionals. The goals objectives, and strategies of the SHSP should be integrated into statewide and metropolitan long range transportation plans as well as transportation improvement programs (TIPs) to place safety on a par with other planning factors, particularly, in choosing or evaluating new and continuing projects and initiatives. These types of best practices have the added benefit of helping to satisfy the safety-planning factor required for the transportation planning process.

Updated: 2/8/2013
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