The primary purpose of the Comprehensive Approach to Safety (CAtS) research focus area, and the program of the same name at the Office of Safety, is to maximize the benefits realized by safety initiatives at all levels of government. CAtS research is directed at defining data needs, identifying or developing effective data collection methods and technologies, and developing analytical tools and processes to convert data into good decisions about how best to allocate safety resources. Inherent to the Comprehensive Approach to Safety is the need for rigorous evaluation of safety treatments, which in itself can only be accomplished with the appropriate data.
The vision behind the CAtS is to equip local, State, and Federal safety programs to systematically combine and analyze crash data and roadway characteristics to uncover trends and identify high–priority safety needs. Only with good data, and the tools to use it, can agencies build, implement, and objectively evaluate performance–based safety plans.
Key CAtS research projects
MIRE (Model Inventory of Roadway Elements) – – The Model Inventory of Roadway Elements includes a listing of roadway and traffic elements critical to highway safety management and proposes standardized coding for each.
HSIS (Highway Safety Information System) – This multistate database contains crash, roadway inventory, and traffic volume data for a select group of states that is used for the study of highway safety.
IHSDM (Interactive Highway Safety Design Model) – Make safety a priority in roadway design with this suite of software analysis tools for evaluating safety and operational effects of geometric design decisions on highways.
Local and Rural Roads: Evaluation of Low–Cost Safety Improvements Pooled Fund Study – This Transportation Pooled Fund research effort supported by 27 states focuses on developing reliable estimates of the effectiveness of safety improvements identified as strategies in the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 500 Guides.