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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Public Roads > Vol. 74 · No. 2 > National Highway Institute(NHI)

September/October 2010
Vol. 74 · No. 2

Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-10-006

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The National Highway Institute (NHI)

901 N. Stuart Street, Suite 300

Arlington, VA 22203

Training Update

by Lilly Pinto

Increased Safety Awareness And Training Saves Lives

In early 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released its preliminary estimates for highway-related fatalities in 2009, which showed the lowest overall number of deaths since 1954. Though the announcement warranted some celebration within the transportation community, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) quickly noted that there is still much work to do to address the more than 33,000 trafficfatalities still occurring each year on the Nation's roadways.

A major component of USDOT's ongoing fight to decrease highway-related deaths is the continued education of the transportation community at the Federal, State, and local levels. Toward this end, the National Highway Institute (NHI) recently developed new courses that provide training on highway safety measures. The course Highway Safety Improvement Program Manual (FHWA-NHI-380103), in particular, is geared toward educating Federal, State, and local transportation professionals on the process of managing roadway safety. In addition, the courses Alternative Intersections and Interchanges (FHWA-NHI-380109) and Geometric Design: Applying Flexibility and Risk Management (FHWA-NHI-380095) provide transportation professionals with the skills they need to design highways that are safer and more efficient.

Improving Highway Safety

The Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), a core Federal-aid highway program, aims to reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads through implementation of infrastructure-related highway safety improvements. The HSIP roadway safety management process consists of three main components: planning, implementation, and evaluation. Although the HSIP is a Federal program, its components are applicable and adaptable to road safety management processes at all levels of government.

TheHSIP course provides information on topics ranging from core safety concepts to detailed discussions of technical methods for data-driven safety planning. For example, the HSIP course introduces participants to new procedures and technologies such as safety performance functions and the empirical Bayes method, which can be used to calculate the expected crash frequency of a particular site.The course is geared toward State and local transportation professionals who work in data collection and analysis, safety management processes, and planning and project management.

"We hope participants will walk away with a thorough understanding of the HSIP purpose and structure, as well as a general understanding of the approaches to HSIP planning, implementation, and evaluation," says Karen Yunk, a traffic operations and safety engineer in FHWA's Office of Safety Programs. "The course will not only educate State, regional, and local safety partners about the HSIP process but also help participants identify opportunities to enhance their current HSIP efforts."

The HSIP course’s three-part roadway safety management process is designed to help improve safety and mobility on highways such as this one.
The HSIP course's three-part roadway safety management process is designed to help improve safety and mobility on highways such as this one.

Safer Roads by Design

In addition to the HSIP course, NHI recently launched two other highway safety-related courses: Alternative Intersections and Interchanges and Geometric Design: Applying Flexibility and Risk Management. Both courses provide participants with information, tools, and resources that will help to improve the safety performance of roadways through highway design.

The Alternative Intersections and Interchanges course provides participants with an overview of various nontraditional intersection concepts that may offer advantages compared to conventional at-grade intersections and grade-separated interchanges. Topics include innovative treatments that engineers currently are investigating and implementing in the field. The target audience includes Federal, State, and local transportation traffic and safety engineers and planners involved in improving the performance of intersections.

The course Geometric Design: Applying Flexibility and Risk Management covers the functional basis of critical design criteria to enable informed decisions when applying engineering judgment and flexibility. Exercises and case studies demonstrate how highway designers can use current research and operational experience to balance the often-competing interests of cost, safety, mobility, social, and environmental impacts for various design elements. This course is appropriate for practicing engineers and highway decisionmakers from FHWA field offices, State and local highway agencies, and design consultancies.

For full course descriptions, please visit NHI's Web site at

Lilly Pinto is a contractor for NHI.

United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration