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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

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Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-13-096    Date:  October 2013
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-13-096
Date: October 2013


Assessment of The Geographic Information Systems’ (GIS) Needs and Obstacles in Traffic Safety

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The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is focused on advancing the use of evidence-based identification of safety countermeasures and increasing the use of state-of-the-practice safety analyses to support effective safety decisionmaking. Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) offer a unique opportunity to address both of these goals by leveraging various datasets, bringing together disparate information into a common location-based data system. However, GIS implementation is often technically challenging and administratively complicated.

This document summarizes an effort that identifies the level of use of GIS for safety decisionmaking at the State and local level, and uses the results to outline opportunities for FHWA to promote and bolster the use of this technology to improve highway safety. The study utilized a series of resources, including peer exchanges, a comprehensive literature review, and the input of a Technical Working Group. This led to the development of a Marketing, Communications, and Outreach Plan, which included recommend actions for FHWA to incorporate into their safety programs that will support the use of GIS for improved highway safety decisionmaking at the State and local level.

The findings and recommendations from this effort will provide insight into the FHWA’s role in advancing the use of GIS-based safety data systems. Ultimately, leveraging these advanced data systems will empower the State and local agencies with the tools needed to make informed and effective safety decisions.

Monique R. Evans
Director, Office of Safety
Research and Development



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