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Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) Enhanced Eligibility Questions & Answers

Posted 11/13/2012, Updated 9/30/2013

Question 1: MAP-21 includes a list of highway safety improvement projects in 23 U.S.C. 148(a)(4)(B). Are these the only projects eligible for HSIP funds?

Answer 1: No. Highway safety improvement projects include, but are not limited to, the list of example eligible activities under 148(a)(4)(B). In addition, the statute specifies that a highway safety improvement project must be a strategy, activity or project on a public road that is consistent with a State Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP), and corrects or improves a hazardous road location or feature, or addresses a highway safety problem.

Question 2: Can HSIP funds be used to support non-infrastructure safety activities?

Answer 2: Yes. Highway safety improvement projects include any strategy, activity or project on a public road that is consistent with a State SHSP, and corrects or improves a hazardous road location or feature, or addresses a highway safety problem. As such, traditional safety infrastructure-related improvements, as well as non-infrastructure safety projects, are eligible for HSIP funds if identified through a data-driven process (i.e., on the basis of crash experience, crash potential, crash rate, or other data-supported means).

Question 3: What happened to the 10 percent cap on flexible funding?

Answer 3: MAP-21 did not include the 10 percent cap on flexible funding under HSIP established in SAFETEA-LU. MAP-21 expanded the HSIP eligibility such that HSIP funds can be used for both infrastructure and non-infrastructure highway safety improvement projects that are consistent with the State's SHSP, address a data-driven need and reduce fatalities and serious injuries. There is no longer a limit to how much a State can spend on these types of projects. Highway safety improvement projects include any strategy, activity or project on a public road that is consistent with a State SHSP, and corrects or improves a hazardous road location or feature, or addresses a highway safety problem.

Question 4: Do I have to certify that my infrastructure needs are met before I spend HSIP funds on non-infrastructure projects?

Answer 4: No. States are no longer required to certify they have met safety infrastructure needs in order to fund non-infrastructure projects.

Question 5: Can HSIP funds be used for Safe Routes To School (SRTS) activities?

Answer 5: Yes. If SRTS activities otherwise meet the requirements for a highway safety improvement project, they would be eligible for HSIP funds.

Question 6: Can HSIP funds be used for workforce development, training and education activities under 23 U.S.C. 504(e)?

Answer 6: Yes. Subject to approval by the Secretary, HSIP funds may be used for workforce development, training and education activities that are directly related to and support HSIP implementation efforts.

Question 7: Is automated enforcement an eligible activity under HSIP?

Answer 7: Generally no. As specified in section 1533 of MAP-21, HSIP funds may not be used for any program to purchase, operate, or maintain an automated traffic enforcement system (i.e., any camera that captures an image of a vehicle for the purposes of traffic law enforcement). However, HSIP funds may be used for automated traffic enforcement systems used to improve safety in school zones. Section 31102 of MAP-21 also places a similar prohibition for automated traffic enforcement in 23 U.S.C. 402(c)(4). However, automated traffic enforcement systems may be eligible for other Federal-aid funding.

Question 8: Can HSIP funds be used for projects to maintain minimum levels of retroreflectivity?

Answer 8: Yes. Projects to maintain minimum levels of retroreflectivity for traffic signs and pavement markings generally are eligible under HSIP. In addition, under 23 U.S.C. 148(e)(1)(c), HSIP funds may be obligated for a project to maintain minimum levels of retroreflectivity on a public road, without regard to whether that project is included in an applicable State SHSP. However, in keeping with HSIP requirements, highway safety improvement projects, including the maintenance of minimum levels of retroreflectivity, should correct or improve a hazardous road location or feature or address a highway safety problem.

Question 9: What are the requirements for maintaining minimum levels of retroreflectivity?

Answer 9: Under 23 U.S.C.148(a)(6), the term "project to maintain minimum levels of retroreflectivity" means a project designed to maintain a highway sign or pavement marking retroreflectivity at or above the minimum levels prescribed in Federal regulation (i.e., Section 2.A.08 of the 2009 edition of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) pursuant to 23 CFR Part 655).

Question 10: What is the Federal share for HSIP funds?

Answer 10: The Federal share for highway safety improvement projects is 90 percent, except as provided in 23 U.S.C. 120(c) and 130. Section 120(c) allows certain types of highway safety improvement projects to be funded at 100 percent (i.e., traffic control signalization, traffic circles, safety rest areas, pavement marking, commuter carpooling and vanpooling, rail-highway crossing closure, or installation of traffic signs, traffic lights, guardrails, impact attenuators, concrete barrier end treatments, breakaway utility poles, or priority control systems for emergency vehicles or transit vehicles at signalized intersections). Section 1508 of MAP-21 added two project types to this list that are eligible for 100 percent Federal share: (1) maintaining minimum levels of retroreflectivity of highway signs or pavement markings, and (2) shoulder and centerline rumble strips and stripes.

Question 11: Who can I contact with specific questions related to HSIP eligibility?

Answer 11: Specific HSIP eligibility questions should be directed to the FHWA Division office in your State. A list of FHWA Division offices is available at www.fhwa.dot.gov/field.html.

Question 12: Are bridge and tunnel inspections eligible for HSIP funds? (added 9/30/2013)

Answer 11: Yes, bridge and tunnel inspections are eligible for HSIP funds, subject to the HSIP eligibility criteria. HSIP funds apportioned under 23 U.S.C. 104(b)(3) may be used to carry out the requirements of 23 U.S.C. 144 (See 23 U.S.C. 144(j)(2)). However, to be eligible for HSIP funds, such projects must meet the requirements of HSIP (See 23 U.S.C. 148). Specifically, all HSIP projects must address a priority in the State's Strategic Highway Safety Plan, be identified through a data-driven process, and contribute to a reduction of fatalities and serious injuries resulting from motor vehicle crashes. Additional information related to HSIP eligibility requirements is available in the HSIP MAP-21 Interim Eligibility Guidance available at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/map21/guidance/guidehsip.cfm.

HSIP Special Rules*

Question 13: When will the high risk rural road (HRRR) Special Rule first apply?

Answer 13: The first year the HRRR Special Rule would apply is Fiscal Year 2014. States will be notified by the end of calendar year 2012 if the HRRR Special Rule applies to them.

*Additional Q&As regarding the special rules under HSIP will follow.

Page last modified on September 12, 2013.
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